Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2013
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Geo-Me!

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Lively characters, animation make world maps memorable

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1-5 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Geo-Mes, animations, and characters are absolutely charming.

Cons: Kids may need more guidance on what to do and why; no audio tutorial.

Bottom Line: Geo-Me! presents students with an engaging way to explore the world.

The very brief, minute-long videos with songs on Geo-Me! can be an eye-catching, toe-tapping, fun way to introduce countries and cultures to the classroom, as well as just stimulate kids' interest in geography as a subject. Geo-Me! can also be an excellent resource for a map skills lesson, helping kids learn about map symbols and keys, different types of maps, and global regions. This app may be best for whole-class lessons. Individual student use in the classroom is not recommended, as there may not be enough structure or direction on this app for younger kids for meaningful learning within brief, independent sessions.

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Geo-Me! is an interactive geography app that helps kids explore the world by learning map skills and seeing life through the eyes of kid inhabitants in unique locales. Kids can watch and listen to videos and songs about some places, as well as read solid statistical information about almost any other points on the globe. The minute-long animated videos about cute kid characters in a few very distinct cultures in different regions help kids gain cultural understanding, while the maps promote map skills and geography vocabulary. If you tap on one of the glowing Geo-Mes on the map, you can watch the corresponding video. Other non-glowing Geo-Mes on the map act as map keys by wearing coded items like special shoes and hats to signify characteristics of locations, such as climate, population, and elevation.

For map details, teachers either need to read the information or explain the Geo-Me keys to pre-readers or any kids who aren't advanced in geography vocabulary. Kids can also view world maps (elevation, anthrome, climate, and population), create a Geo-Me, view their own location's Geo-Me, collect a Geo-Me family, and mix a Geo-Me song.

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While kids can learn geography, demography, and map skills on Geo-Me!, learning potential could be substantially improved with a bit more structure and guidance within the interactive portions. Still, the videos are without question educational and fun, and there is a lot to learn here in the other features as well. Words like anthrome, climate, and elevation help kids develop their geography vocabulary. As kids watch the animated movies about kids who live in different places, they can grow in cultural understanding. As they tap on individual Geo-Mes, they can read specific geography and demographic statistics about each country. Viewing the unique maps helps kids gain global awareness about regional climates, population centers, and more.

Some portions of the app could be better explained. An audio beginner's tutorial, more features, and more videos could also improve its usefulness. At the time of this review, there were no animations for South American or African nations. While Geo-Me! is not perfect, the developer's aim to create a geography app that is "somewhere between a game and a musical, interactive book" hits the mark.

 

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Highly engaging geography and world cultures exploration on this interactive app. The Geo-Me characters add an element of whimsical fun, while the well-designed, distinct maps incorporate concrete learning.

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

Baked-in learning in the stories and interaction. There's a surprising amount of depth in both geography information and vocabulary. For map details, an adult either needs to read the information or explain the Geo-Me key to kids.

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

Needs more supports. A full beginner's tutorial, more explanations, and more character stories would be useful additions. All would offer kids more help in understanding the excellent information and interactive options. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Lisa B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Hershey Middle School
Hershey, PA
2
Geographic information presented through cute Geo-Me characters

The app displays a Geo-Me on the map of the world. The cartoon character provides a passport with information about the town, country, urban/rural, population, climate, and elevation. There is an extension story with an animated video with subtitles. The videos provide additional facts about the region and relative locations of surrounding countries.
There are a few Geo-Mes displayed on the map, but there are many others that are hidden. When you go through the home menu, you have the option to search or tap anywhere on the map to reveal a Geo-Me.
Students can add their own Geo-Me based on their geotagged location from the iPad. My concern would be about the quality of student generated information. Are the student responses published locally or for the world to see?

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