Common Sense Review
Updated March 2012

Scrabble

Online board game classic is the same as always, with a few extra tools
Common Sense Rating 3
  • A sample Scrabble board in the free Android version of the app.
  • Feedback from the Teacher feature.
  • The optional chat feature only works if players are logged in via Facebook or EA’s Origin network.
  • Players can challenge others via Facebook or Origin.
Pros
If you like the idea of always having a game going, you'll love this app.
Cons
The features that would give the app version big advantages over the board game need improvement.
Bottom Line
Kids can have fun as they practice spelling and pick up new vocabulary words with the Scrabble app.
Graphite Staff
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5

Scrabble fans will love being able to play anytime, anywhere, solo or with friends, or with online groups. Many built-in features enhance the experience of this classic game.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

With opportunities to play against others, kids can get social while learning some vocab skills. Critical-thinking and logic skills are baked right into the fun of gameplay.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Options include a Dictionary feature (which doesn't look up words) and a Teacher feature, which shows the highest-scoring combination of letters possible with your tiles. There is one level of play.  

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
What's It Like?

The Scrabble app mimics the classic board game but also offers the ability to play whenever and wherever you like. Kids can learn vocabulary words and spelling as they strategically place their tiles to form words with the highest points. And they'll need to use math to maximize their scores. Options include playing with another player on the same device, playing solo with a random opponent, or joining other players over the Internet in a closed or open group. While these options make playing more competitive for Scrabble buffs, the game itself remains the same.

Gameplay will be familiar to anyone who has played the board game. The big difference is in the addition of online playing. The free version includes ads, some of which remain on-screen for 30 seconds or more before you can reject opening them and continue to play. If you choose to play a random player, the game automatically matches you with a user and begins play. You can't activate chat unless you're signed into Facebook or sign up for Origin, EA’s own online hub for tracking games and scores. Activating chat makes the experience feel more social but does introduce privacy concerns.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Added features should serve to make the game easier and more user-friendly, but there are some shortcomings. For example, the included dictionary doesn't actually look up words -- it uses the dictionary built into the device keyboard as you type. As with the board game, players can use a print dictionary to really settle a dispute. The good news: Unless you're playing offline, there's plenty of time -- the game settings range from 24 to 72 hours. If you want to be able to access a game of Scrabble 24/7, this app has all the standard features that made the game popular to begin with, but opt for the paid version to get all the advantages, and you won't have to wait for ads to run their course. It's worth the price.

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