All children, from pre-schoolers to high schoolers can use the iPad to learn more about the world around them. Whether you’ve got the kind of child who’d rather study an atlas than play with Hot Wheels or one who thinks Kathmandu is a the name of a trendy clothing designer, there are a wide range of apps to teach world geography, act as references, or turn learning about geography into a game.
Choose a geography reference app that’s appropriate for your child’s age. Pre-schoolers will enjoy My Big World (PadGadget = 3.5 stars). With its beautiful graphics and interactive icons Barefoot World Atlas (PadGadget = 4.5 stars) will carry most students through the elementary and middle school years, while the National Geographic World Atlas is an easy-to-use reference for older students and adults. Google Earth for iPad is also an essential tool that helps students of all ages make the connection between a static image and the three-dimensional reality it represents.
Wish your child spent more time learning as he played on the iPad? Consider introducing him to a geography-based game. Parents will find there are a number of well-designed apps that entertain children as they teach them continents, countries, locations, and more. Younger children will enjoy Stack the Countries. This universal app makes a game out of learning the name, location, and essential facts for 193 different countries. Aimed at late elementary to middle graders, National Geographic’s GeoBee Challenge HD is great preparation for in-school Geography Bees. Plus the iPad-only app is Game Center-enabled, so players can see how their knowledge stacks up against friends or other geography enthusiasts.
Don’t want to play games with geography? Sometimes a student needs help studying content and doesn’t have a moment to spare, and Brainscape’s Learn World Geography is a straight-up flashcard program that helps kids learn the facts, namely maps, flags, capitals, and currency. Brainscape even claims that this universal app uses “optimized algorithm to repeat flashcards in just the right pattern for your brain’s maximum absorption.” While that claim may be touched with hyperbole, it doesn’t diminish the app’s ability to drill a student on the geographic facts he needs to learn for social studies.
Do you still have the globe you grew up with as a kid, you know the one with Yugoslavia on it? Anyone who has tried to explain what USSR stands for will appreciate the one big advantage that all of these apps have, an advantage that printed maps and old school globes do not: updates. Developers can change country names and borders to ensure that the materials children have to study are current.
Does your child have a favorite app for learning world geography? Let us know in the comments.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Mike Licht.