August 8, 2016

Animal Flash Cards Jump to Life with ‘4D’ Technology

By Rob Klindt, Contributing Writer | Literacy Resources

From raccoons and squirrels to lions, tigers, bears and even whales, most kids seem to love seeing and learning about animals. Elementary school teachers who add animals into their study mix can often boost fun and creativity in the classroom.

For tablet-enabled classrooms, a good tool is an educational app like “Animal 4D+” from Octagon Studio. At the heart of the app is a collection of 26 animal flash cards that profile animals from A to Z. The cards offer a self-paced way for students to learn about animals, their environments, where they live and the foods they eat.

An elephant is featured in one of the flash cards in the Animal 4D+ app for mobile devices.The app includes dynamic features to keep students engaged while they learn. Among the most helpful are:

  • Animated and “3D” card views
  • Holographic “4D” card views
  • Interactive spelling quiz
  • Voice prompts
  • Wikipedia links

Users can read the app in English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish and Turkish.

How it works

The app launches with a simple interface and two navigation buttons that students tap to select the tools and features they want to use.

It’s best to start by tapping the “Features” button, then dragging the ribbon down on the right side of the screen to reveal thumbnail images of the 26 animal flash cards. Tap any card to open a portrait drawing of an animal with introductory text about it on the right.

After reading the text, tapping a “Wiki” button at the bottom provides a link to more detailed Wikipedia entries on the internet. Tapping the “Share” button lets students save a copy of the card and text to their device, where it can be shared with others via email or through links to various social media apps including Facebook and Instagram.

To examine the image in detail, students drag the button in the upper right corner of the card from the 2D position to the 3D position. The image will jump to life with colorful animation, impressive animal sounds and a voice prompt identifying the animal by its proper name. Thumbnail images of the remaining cards appear in a ribbon at the bottom of the screen. Students can drag through them and tap any card they want to read details.

‘4D’ technology

The app’s “4D” animal card viewer is the feature most likely to excite and engage students. By aiming the camera from a tablet or smartphone at a printed animal card, students will see an impressive moving image pop up on their screen and hear the animal’s roar, growl, chirp or tweet. Moving their device around lets students see the animal from any angle including close up. Aiming the camera at several cards at once creates a pop-up zoo with lifelike sounds and movements all around.

A sample selection of nine downloadable cards for printing are available free from the Octagon Studio website. A complete collection of all 26 animal cards with extra details can be downloaded for a fee. The cards can be downloaded using any desktop computer with an internet connection and connected to a printer.

Download sample cards from the Octagon Studio website.

What’s included

Content in the “Animal 4D+” app is all-inclusive. Once it’s been downloaded into a device, all content, including animal cards, introductory text, animations, sounds and the spelling quiz, will work without an internet connection.

However, an internet connection is needed to follow links to Wikipedia articles and to share images using email or social media programs. There are no advertisements.

Download details

The “Animal 4D+” app by Octagon Studio is free. It can be downloaded through Google Play and iTunes. The app is compatible with smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system 4.0.3 or later. Apple users can play the app on iPhones and iPad tablets running iOS version 6.1 or later.

Rob Klindt’s “App Reviews” combine his passion for writing with an ever-growing interest in educational technology. His simple, straightforward approach to reviewing educational apps help educators and parents leverage new tools for students in and out of the classroom.

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