How I Use It
This app could be used to enhance student vocabulary at the middle school level, as the title suggests. Students could use this independently to learn new words and quiz themselves on their progress with the definitions. If teachers want to track students and add rosters, etc, they can opt for the teacher version. There is a classical music option that can be disabled if necessary. Some students may find that the music helps them focus.
This app has a clean design and useful vocabulary. I can see it being helpful as an enrichment tool for individual practice, perhaps for students who finish early or as additional drilling for students who are lacking linguistically. However, I take issue with a few elements. First of all, I could not find the rationale for the selected vocabulary anywhere. Is it based on Common Core? Does it come from English Language Arts standards? Not sure. That made me feel uncomfortable, as I wasn't clear as to why these specific words should be learned at this level. Secondly, I was disappointed by the lack of depth. The definition cards are nicely formatted with a clean layout and template, but there are no examples as to how the words are used in a sentence. This leaves the user without a contextual experience of the word. I would also love to see an option where the word is isolated on one slide and the definition and part of speech are shown on the next-- this may help learners who need information chunked rather than all at once. I appreciate the clean design and options for quizzing the term or for the definition, as well as the ability to select how many questions are in your quiz. However, I do believe some students will simply tap their way through the quiz, and disregard the wrong answer tips. This could be improved with an option to have students type in the correct definition, or answer more questions about the word, before being able to proceed. Finally, I know my students would want more encouragement than the plain "Correct!" message. Whether through a positive sound, a more visual reinforcer (such as a star for every right answer), and/or some element of competing with themselves (getting applauded for their best scores or for finally mastering a word, etc.). Overall, this is well-intended, simple to use, and could be a nice way to allow students some extra vocabulary building. While it lacks depth, it provides straightforward practice and that will certainly be appreciated by those who prefer to avoid "bells and whistles".
P.S. While the cards tell the part of speech for each term (noun, adjective, etc.), the format is "(vocabulary term) is a: (part of speech)". Thus, if the word is an adjective, the line reads "blank" is A ADJECTIVE. I cringe seeing "a" instead of "a(n)". This is the grammar stickler in me, but worth mentioning as a possible small fix to the app.