Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated June 2013
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Learn the World - Map, Earth, Continents, Atlas Learning

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Ultra-challenging quiz focuses on mastering facts, not deep learning

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Grades
7-11 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Colorful flags and beautiful retro maps create an eye-appealing app.

Cons: Limited feedback during the very challenging quizzes, plus data isn't saved over time.

Bottom Line: Lots of information about each country, but difficulty level can be frustrating.

Learn the World can be an excellent resource for a group project about a specific country or global region. If students are giving a report on a particular country or region, this app is the perfect place to find lots of relevant information and learn exactly where it is located. There's so much to learn here that the quizzes may be better played by the entire class or small groups in a cooperative rather than competitive format. Group play may also be the best route to go here because individual user accounts cannot be created, so the flags one student earns cannot be saved as is between different users' turns. Still, Learn the World may provide good individual practice for advanced learners and geography enthusiasts as an exciting challenge, not just painful memorization.

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Learn the World - Map, Earth, Continents, Atlas Learning is a global geography quiz app that helps kids learn and practice identifying the locations of countries by region, as well as learn the country's capital city, currency, and more. Choose from Map Learn, Map Quiz, Fly Quiz, or Text Quiz mode. In Map Learn, kids view the location of the country and some facts, and they can dig further into its cultural details via an in-app Wikipedia page. Three game-like quizzes rigorously test kids' global country knowledge, down to tiny Pacific and Caribbean island nations. Kids earn country flags as they answer a certain number of questions on quizzes correctly.

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The text-heavy information about each country, coupled with the very challenging quiz questions, creates an app that is best suited for advanced learners and for kids who really love world geography. Learn the World - Map, Earth, Continents, Atlas Learning isn't an easy app, but if students stick with it, it can help them gain global awareness about which countries share each world region and which regions include the most recognizable countries, and some kids may even learn about many tiny countries to which they've not yet been introduced. A certain level of self-direction, patience, and the commitment to memorization and repetition on the part of the student is essential for this app to be good for learning.

Because many kids are reluctant to return to (or even visit once) info portions of apps when interactive quizzes and games are available, it would be nice if the developer would include more verbal cues and brief factual information within the quizzes. Teachers may want to remind their students to return to the Learn mode numerous times, rather than just continue to guess shapes of countries or random answers in the quizzes. As it stands, the games aren't as complete or explanatory as they could be to support learning; they're focused on mastering facts. For example, in the Fly Quiz, the app doesn't show players where the countries were that they may have missed. Also, it would be better if the names of the countries were reinforced verbally in the quizzes (how does one pronounce Vanuatu, Mauritius, or Nauru?).

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Overall Rating
2

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Moderately engaging, more so for kids who are willing to read a lot of text and who really, really like maps. Design is bold, colorful, and charming.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
2

Kids are encouraged to learn first by reading country stats, then entering into more in-depth learning via Wikipedia. Games aren't as complete or explanatory as they could be to support learning.

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

Data isn't saved from session to session; kids have to start over each time to gather flags.


Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Wheatley D. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Warren Mott High School
Warren, MI
2
Fun for the Advanced Geography Fact Learner

This app does not have enough supports and scaffolding to consider it an effective teaching tool. This is better suited for students that are highly knowledgeable of geography and want to learn more facts and figures. The "more info" option for countries simply links to Wikipedia, which isn't the best source and is also incredibly text-heavy, a quick deterrent for most learners. I like the colorful maps and that the country names are pronounced when you click on them, but I wanted to be able to interact more, to perhaps click on the capital and hear its name or see a small blurb with more relevant facts. I really like the "Fly to" option, where you have to mark a trail to multiple countries for a small plane. That is a fun way to test if you know the names of the countries and where they're located. This app could better serve learners if it provided more, and better, learning opportunities prior to taking the quizzes. The preparation mode doesn't necessarily match up to the questions in the quizzes and doing well would require some additional study effort to do well. In the end, this is an eye-catching and well-intended app, but I don't find it to be useful for a basic or general learner. Major geography fans would surely enjoy it, though!

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