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CleverWitz Mobile App (Google Play or Apple) Review by Laura DelgadoChuck and Joyce Clifton
Maple Canyon Co.
P.O. Box 565
Mapleton, Utah 84663
Like it or not, apps and games are part of most of our lives in some form or fashion, so when an app comes out that can support a homeschool lesson while entertaining the whole family, I find that something to really get excited about!
CleverWitz is an app that is available from both the Google Play and the Apple App stores. The free app comes with in-app purchases of credits (e.g., 5 credits for $0.99, 25 credits for $3.99, 50 credits for $6.99) which can be redeemed for puzzles (each credit is redeemable for one puzzle). The puzzles themselves are grouped into 20 different categories: Art and Music, Brain Teasers, Business, Celebrities, ESL, Fundamentals of Freedom, Geography, Government, History, Home, Humor and Recreation, Language, Math (Easy and Hard), Nature, Religion, School (sub-divided into Pre-3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-College), Science, Sports, WitzSaw Puzzles, Word Choice (Easy and Hard), and Workforce. Within each category there are numerous different puzzles. In fact, there are well over 400 puzzles currently available, with more coming all the time. Depending on how many credits one purchases, the puzzles cost as little as $0.14 each.
The puzzles almost all follow the same format – that of a matching game. A term (or a flag or an image) is in one column with prospective matches in another column. The matches are outlined in dashed red lines. By tapping two squares, one can make them switch places. Through a succession of such taps it is possible to align all of the boxes so that every square in the right-hand column is properly lined up with its corresponding match in the left-hand column. So, for example, one puzzle has the solver matching the fifty United States with their corresponding mottoes. The states occupy the left columns and the mottoes the right. The solver taps the squares in the right-hand columns to get them to switch places until each one is next to the state whose motto it represents. One knows the match is correct when the square’s border turns from red to blue. There are a few exceptions to this formula, such as those puzzles that ask one to create maps. In such cases, one simply shuffles the squares, tap by tap, until the map is assembled correctly. In all cases, the procedure is nearly 100% intuitive. The puzzles have great replay value because each is timed. Once one has solved them correctly the first time, he can go back and attempt to beat his own best time.
CleverWitz can be used on Android phones and tablets, iPhones, or iPads. Once the app is purchased and a login is created, that login can even be used across platforms. That is, because the app itself is free, it can be downloaded on both one’s iPad and Android devices. If one then logs in on both devices with the same login information, the puzzles already purchased will be downloaded. Thus, families with multiple devices only have to buy puzzles once. That’s a very homeschool-friendly approach! CleverWitz has puzzles for all ages. Truly, there are puzzles for preschoolers and there are puzzles that my husband and I have had a ball solving over and over. With hundreds to choose from, it is impossible not to find something.
If you only allow your children to use apps for school-related purposes, you will find plenty to love with CleverWitz. There is geography galore, including US capitals and world cities, Constitution, Gettysburg Address, and Declaration of Independence memorization, music theory, Spanish, synonyms and antonyms, Chemistry elements, and so, so much more. If your children use apps for entertainment, too, though, they will undoubtedly enjoy (as mine do) the brain teasers, jigsaw puzzles, sports terms, and more. Truthfully, though, just about every single puzzle can be used to reinforce something educational.
Everyone in my family (my husband and myself, as well as children ages 15, 13, and 11-year-old twins) loves CleverWitz. It is one of those apps that you can pick up at a moment’s notice, play for any amount of time, and then walk away from without feeling like you have wasted your time. In fact, you have quite the opposite feeling! You walk away from CleverWitz feeling like you have learned something. I can’t count the number of times I have used the app myself and exclaimed, “I didn’t know that,” and “So that’s what the flag of Brazil looks like.” My kids feel the same about the app. They have really enjoyed challenging each other to beat a standing time on already solved puzzles (great replay value!).
There is only one thing that I would love to see different about this well-designed app. Instead of puzzles dedicated to things like the longevity of famous people (how old they were when they died) in the history section, I would love to see more substantive history material included. The longevity puzzles are interesting, but they don’t really increase knowledge of history. To me they are more along the lines of trivia. There are so many historical topics that would lend themselves well to this kind of puzzle! I would love to see more of them included as choices in the history section. That’s really a minor complaint, though, given all that CleverWitz has to offer.
CleverWitz is a great app at a very reasonable price (as low as $0.14 per puzzle). Most homeschooling families will find at least some puzzles to enjoy in this app and, given that the app is a free download, you don’t have anything to lose by getting the app and seeing all the puzzles that are available. Had I not received the puzzles free for review, there are at least 100 that I would not hesitate to buy for my kids and myself. We have really been enjoying using CleverWitz and I don’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and affordable educational app.
-Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September, 2016