Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
Put this app in kids' hands for research projects, and use the Comparisons section as an example of ways to present information graphically as well as to teach kids to draw conclusions from data. Maps are easily accessible and can be used in whole class discussions, with small groups, or individuals. You can let kids explore on their own to research a project of their choice, or, probably more effectively, assign a topic and see how kids do with researching here.Continue reading Show less
The World Factbook for iPad is a reference app compiled by the CIA providing info on all the world's countries. Choose a country on the left side of the screen and read the profile info on the right. You'll see all kinds of data organized into nine categories: introduction, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. Whew! Use the Comparisons feature to view individual subsets of data for all countries; for example, the birthrate for all countries from highest to lowest. Maps are also a big part of the site, including global regions as well as individual countries.
It does a fine job presenting the CIA's remarkable database of information in a mobile format, but fine is the operative word here. The good: It's a gold mine for research, and all info lives in the app, so you can access it offline too. Curious kids could spend hours reading about global history, government, health care, and transportation systems –- and they would've only scratched the surface of this impressive database.
Not-so-good: there's not much engagement for younger users. The heavily text-based design is okay for self-motivated kids (especially the ones who like thumbing through the dictionary or reading Wikipedia for fun), but without a specific assignment or goal, kids may not have an incentive to dig too deeply here. Also, not all data is necessarily current; be sure to check when things were most recently updated. If the site were more interactive, guiding kids to build concepts or recognize patterns about key cultural, geographic, and political phenomena, they could connect with this great info in a more powerful way.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
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.
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.