APPS OF THE WEEK For release 12/02/13

BC-apps-of-week 12/02 TMS Original

APPS OF THE WEEK For release 12/02/13

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(PHOTO: One photo accompanies this column. CAPTION: Kids Planet Discovery screenshot. CREDIT: Planet Factory Interactive S.L. FILE NAME: 20131202msapp-a.jpg.)

Mobile apps for discovering new cultures from around the world

Tribune Content Agency

By AppoLearning.com

As more children grow up with social media, smartphones and tablets, they can inevitably connect with students their age around the world. Learning about foreign cultures also plays an important role in helping students process ethnic and racial diversity in their own schools. This tablet and smartphone apps can teach elementary and middle school students fascinating facts about cultures different from their own.

Kids Planet Discovery (iOS, Free)

Kids Planet Discovery has a thoroughly entertaining design. The stimulating colors, groovy tunes and interactive games will draw your child in for unlimited fun. With the full purchase, this app is chock full of educational content that a range of ages will find interesting. The learning fun is varied with entertaining games, cultural videos and mini-missions guided by friendly alien characters. Beginner-level readers will intuitively navigate many of these options to learn about the world's people, places, animals, music, and more. Older kids will enjoy exploring particular geographic areas as they embark on mini-missions with more adorable little aliens. These adventures include written prompts that will also support reading fluency. And if interested, the app can be played in eight different languages.

TIME FOR KIDS Family Edition (iOS, Free, Subscription-based $1.99/month)

More than just a newspaper for children, Time for Kids: Family Edition truly brings current events to students' fingertips. Clearly designed with kids in mind, each issue has features that support vocabulary acquisition and connects to multimedia. The large font and interactive graphics are perfect for elementary school children. Many articles have accompanying videos and highlighted vocabulary words with tap-and-read definitions. Tap for definitions or more information on a diagram, and swipe through each article. Children can choose an article from the table of contents or swipe through the pages in order.

Being Global (iOS, $1.99)

Being Global is based on the award-winning book "What Does It Mean to Be Global." This is the perfect conversation starter for what it means to be a global thinker and contributor in today's world. The jovial illustrations are super kid-friendly and fantastically representative of our diverse world. The read-along narration option is great for pre-readers to enjoy the book independently. Although there are interactive features to the story and follow-up activities to extend learning, the options are limited and hopefully the app will receive future updates to add value in this area. There is, however, an adorable theme song with lyrics and thoughtful activity ideas that could be used by teachers or parents.

Wonders of Old Ancient Timeline (iOS, $4.99)

Wonders of Old: Ancient Timeline is a comprehensive, interactive, media-based reference app that provides middle-school students access to world history facts in the form of visual timelines. These timelines show not only events to specific geographic area, but how many of these major events happened at or near the same time in history; it allows students to see that history happens simultaneously, throughout the world.

Understanding, creating and reading a timeline is a large part of the middle school world history curriculum experience. Wonders of Old provides students with simple bullet-point information, as well as in-depth articles on major historical dates and events.

One Globe Kids -- children's stories from around the world (iOS, Free)

This app provides your kid information about children from around the world, currently in Haiti, The Netherlands, Indonesia, New York City and Burundi. We hope the developers add more Friend packs to best emphasize diversity. Although $1.99 seems like a lot for each Friend pack, there is a lot of information available. The app really helps elementary school children see what it is like to live in other countries through the perspective of native children. To start off, children choose their preferred language, a profile photo and add their global location (for use only in-app). The app shows facts about countries or cities, information on the native language spoken and an audio narrated section that shows your child around the country or city, which exposes learners to different cultures with specific examples, including daily routines, food and school. It definitely would come in handy for a school project.

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