Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
Have students explore countries continent by continent and quiz themselves on different facts, like capitals, currency, and languages spoken. Get students to find other ways to present this information, perhaps giving a presentation about the similarities and differences between different countries in a single region. Have kids race to get the fastest time and the highest percent correct on quizzes like national capitals. Have kids explore these countries more deeply: Why are certain languages spoken in certain places? Why do certain classes have particular levels of literacy and suffrage? Use Countries of the World as a reference and study tool and as a springboard for further research and exploration.Continue reading Show less
Countries of the World is a study and reference app that explores trivia about nations around the world. From the main menu screen, users can choose to "Study" and explore flashcards from a particular continent or see countries' flashcards at random via the "Surprise Me!" option. Each country's flashcard includes a simple graphic of the country's shape and its location on the globe, an image of its flag, an option to hear the country's name spoken aloud, and a link to videos and more info on the developer's website. Brief info includes "fast facts" (including the nation's capital, land area, languages spoken, population, and currency), plus info on the country's people, government, economy, and geography. Users can use a list of countries in the left navigation to jump to other countries' pages.
Users can also explore countries using the main menu's "Lookup" feature, where they can select countries by tapping a map, browsing an alphabetical list, or searching for a country by name. The "Quiz" feature lets users customize their quiz (by choosing a continent and a "practice field" to target) and then take a 10-question quiz based on the type of info they selected, like capital, currency, or GDP. At the end of each quiz, users can see their time elapsed and percent of questions correct, and then they can tap the "Review" button to revisit the flashcards of countries they misidentified during the quiz.
There's a ton of information here, and its consistent organization makes for easy at-a-glance reading. Some functions can be a little buggy; tapping on the world map isn't as responsive as you might expect, and it can take a few taps to activate the audio and links out to video. Those videos are a great value-add: Though the quality may vary, most videos contain additional information that deepens and extends the simple info available on each flashcard.
Some features aren't especially useful for learning. In the "Quiz" section, you can select any subject heading on the flashcards as a "practice field," but it seems pretty unwieldy to be quizzed on different countries' total area or GDP rather than something more practical like their capitals. Some of these fields capture data but miss nuance: All countries that use a dollar or peso are listed with those terms but not with the important detail that, for example, Chile and Mexico each use their own pesos, not the same currency. In general, these quizzes and flashcards would be more useful if there were better options for customization -- for example, if users could share their quiz high scores, bookmark info they found useful, and save their high scores. As it is, this is a simple tool for study and review, especially for the passionate geography student.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history/social science.
Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a text (e.g., how Madison defines faction in Federalist No. 10).
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.