BeeTrainer

I’m definitely a “scratch your own itch” kind of developer.  I like building apps that I plan to use myself – it’s very rewarding to be using my own apps.

Earlier this year, my son was in a spelling bee, his first.  It was a fun experience.  And of course, after we signed up, one of the first things I looked for is apps that would help him learn the word list.

When you enter a spelling bee, that’s how it works.  You’re given a word list to study. For many of the first rounds, all the questions will be words from the word list.  At some point the bee moves to words that aren’t on the word list, but nailing the words on the word list is a big part of training.

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My son doesn’t have a lot of focus.  Giving him a word list and saying “Learn this”?  Not going to happen.  I didn’t mind working with him to help him learn the words, but keeping a piece of paper with me to read words from and a pen to mark them down as learned or words to work on wasn’t going to fly.  I wanted an app to help with this.

I tried using Numbers; I tried using a simple text editor, but they were just awkward to work with.  What I wanted was something purpose-built I could use when we had a few minutes here and there, to practice a few words. 

I searched the app store and didn’t find anything that seemed to fit this bill, so I built an app.  It’s called BeeTrainer.

BeeTrainer lets you create one or more word list files.  You can paste in words from the clipboard (so copy them from an email you get with the word list, or from a website, or just type them in).  

Once you’ve entered the word list, practicing words is just a tap away.  You can go through words in random order, focus on problem words, or work through the list in order.  The app shows the word, can spell it out loud, and has buttons for “Correct” or “Incorrect”.  I ask my son to spell the word, he does, and then we either move on to the next word, or we talk about ways he might help remember this word better. 

There are some extra features that I think people will find useful.  The app can generate a PDF version of the word list with boxes next to the words, in case you want to also work from paper.  You can view a pie-chart showing progress through the word list.  The app can spell any word out loud, and can take you to the wiktionary page for the word where you can view the definition and pronunciation guide.

In a nutshell, I think it’s a valuable app for anyone with a child who’s trying to learn a list of words, be it for school, or for an actual spelling bee.

I’m sure it’s a small niche, but I’m glad I’ve built an app to fill it. 

BeeTrainer is available in the App Store, for $2.99.