Common Sense Review
Updated May 2012

50 States

Browse flashcards, take quizzes on limited U.S. state trivia
Common Sense Rating 2
  • 50 States is a flashcard studying and quiz game.
  • Users can browse info on each state, including its size, largest city, state flag, and postal abbreviation.
  • Users can also navigate the flashcards by tapping on a U.S. map.
  • Ten-question quizzes test info drawn randomly from the flashcards; colored dots at the top of the screen track right and wrong answers.
  • Users see their scores at the end of each quiz.
Pros
Great progress tracking and consistently organized info make for a clear, simple overview of basic facts about each state.
Cons
Limited features mar the user experience.
Bottom Line
A nice way to browse, but not a tool for deep or detailed study.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

Geography buffs won't find much to explore, and less-excited students won't have their interest piqued by such limited resources.

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

Ten-question quizzes have nice built-in progress tracking for right and wrong answers, and it's easy to search and browse the states' pages. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

The interface can respond inconsistently, and some customization options seem to have been omitted with later updates. More guidance on how to use the quizzes and videos would be a big help.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Again, don't use the videos unless you've viewed them first. The developer-produced videos are less detailed but more consistent, but only 20 have been produced, while the others are from a range of sources and might have iffy content. Have kids browse states and create their own quizzes or trivia games based on these facts, especially the state capitals and dates of statehood. 

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What's It Like?

50 States is a flashcard and quiz app for studying basic facts about the United States. From the app's main screen, students can choose Learn to browse flashcards from all 50 states in random order, while the Search button gives access to the same content in alphabetical order or by tapping a U.S. map. Each flashcard features basic information about each state: its capital, population, area, postal abbreviation, and date of statehood. Some trivia facts also appear, including state bird, state flower, highest point, and largest city. The "Quiz" button on the main screen lets students take a 10-question quiz that covers these facts in random order, and each quiz ends with a score screen and the option to try again.

In addition to the flashcards, students watch videos that explore the states in greater detail. The Videos button on the app's main screen brings up a playlist of just 20 videos for the states whose names begin with A through M (the developer had only created the first 20 videos at the time of this review), while the Videos button on each state's flashcard brings up a unique page on the developer's website with random videos from diverse sources. Keep in mind there are in-app ads, including pop-ups and the More Apps button that takes kids to the Google Play store.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The simple progress tracking in the quizzes is terrific. Colored dots across the top of the screen track right and wrong answers, and kids always have a good sense of how they're performing on the quiz. It would be even better if kids could store high scores and adjust their studying as a result. The videos are an interesting value-add, and it's nice that they're hosted on the developer's website rather than taking up space on the device. Unfortunately, this feature is uneven. Check these videos before you let students view them: Some are more classroom-appropriate and detailed than others, and many contain ads. Meanwhile, navigating the states' flashcards from the map screen can be buggy and inconsistent, and tapping the map doesn't yield the response users might expect. Browsing the states' flashcards one by one from the alphabetical list on the Learn screen is the best bet.

At the time of this review, some features that appeared in earlier versions seem to be missing. For example, there's no Settings menu to adjust the info tested on each quiz; this option could be a helpful way to target study of particular facts, like postal abbreviations or state capitals. Overall, 50 States is a neat way to browse basic information about U.S. states, but look elsewhere for greater depth and flexibility. 

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