App review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2013
Brain Cafe GeoQuiz
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Brain Cafe GeoQuiz

Basic trivia game shoots out questions on unconnected global topics

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 3 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
6–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Social Studies, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Students can learn basic facts about the world.

Cons: There's not much context for facts, and the developer makes a point to disavow responsibility for informational accuracy.

Bottom Line: Brain Cafe GeoQuiz can be fun, and students may learn a few facts, but it's not very interactive or meant to be a meaningful learning experience.

Trivia game shows bring out the Alex Trebek in us all. Still, this app is designed for a single user, so you'll have to be Alex Trebek if you want your whole class to play. If you used the questions to get a group game going, students could collaborate to use process of elimination, and, of course, they could learn from each other.

Students using the app on their own can't track their scores, but scoring isn't so useful, anyway: It simply counts the number of correct answers without giving details on which questions were missed (except the category). Perhaps most lacking, there's no way for students to study trivia topics, so between the random nature of the questions and the lack of context, students may be a bit hampered in thinking critically.

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Trivia! Brain Cafe GeoQuiz asks questions about the world's peoples, places, foods, geography, and more. Students who like trivia and have some background knowledge about the topics may find this a fun way to pass the time. Other students may find some questions vexing.

To get started, students scroll through icons and select a topic from among the dozen offered. A 20-question quiz pops up. Most questions are multiple-choice with four options, but there are a few true/false questions.

Questions are mostly about geography, but the app's tag line is "Know Your Planet." Accordingly, categories include countries and flags; capital cities of the world; oceans, rivers, and lakes; mountains and peaks; forests, deserts, and plains; people; extremes; the big picture; the great explorers; climate change; food; and random, which draws from the others.

 

Some of the questions are pretty obscure, and teens may find it challenging to think through all possible responses and use the process of elimination -- so they may just tap a random answer and keep moving. Younger kids who have no way to answer the questions may find the game frustrating.

After students respond, they'll usually see a short but informative explanation of the correct answer, although roughly 10 to 20 percent of the questions are missing this feature and the developer makes no claims that the information is accurate (most answers include links to Wikipedia). Students who read up could learn quite a few interesting facts, a feature too often missing from similar apps.

If users keep taking a quiz in the same section, it doesn't take long for them to see repeat questions. This is indicative of a limited database, but after you've seen a question a couple times, you know the answer -- and isn't that the point? Students who read the explanations will doubly reinforce their new knowledge.

If kids quit before the end, their score isn't saved. You can't customize the experience with any user settings.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Kids curious about the world may like learning about geography, food, people, and more. Each answer gives a bit of an explanation, but they can't study answers and questions aren't contextualized, so kids may skip through.   

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Sure, kids may pick up some facts. But there's not much context, so there's nothing to encourage kids to think critically about the world. The developer doesn't vouch for the information's accuracy, either.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

There's no help menu, but it's easy enough to dive in. The stats aren't particularly useful, as they only give a score (15/20, for example) without any info on what questions were missed.


Common Sense reviewer

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Elizabeth E. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Isidore Newman School
New Orleans, United States
This app poses great trivia questions but lacks curricular connections.
The design is very professional and visually appealing, and the variety of trivia categories is broad. There is even a "Food" category, which piqued my students' interest. It's nice that it is an iPhone / iPad app and is quick to play, so it can be accessed quickly and shut down just as quickly. If my course were more geography-specific, this app would be more relevant for my students; it could be particularly useful to a cultural geography course. The main drawback I see is that there is no option ...
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