Review by Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013
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WORLD BOOK - This Day in History for iPad

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Brief highlights of a broad range of historical events lack depth, context

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Grades
3-7 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Easy-to-navigate calendar of historical events.

Cons: A bit heavy on birthdates and war-related events.

Bottom Line: With no context for included events, these snippets of history serve mostly as trivia.

World Book -- This Day in History is a free resource that can give teachers ideas for trivia to introduce to kids or serve as connections to what students are studying. The snippets, without any historical context, aren't meaty enough to serve as instructional. The app could be used as an idea-generating tool when students are looking for historical research topics.

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The calendar opens to the current date, showing several events from that date in history, with a picture accompanying each. Clicking links within an event's description gives a brief encyclopedia entry on the topic, plus Amazon.com links to related books. Kids can easily scroll through the calendar to find other dates and then return to the current date by clicking a button at the top of the page. Events have an icon next to them -- a molecule for scientists, a quill and ink for authors, and guns for military events, for example -- but categories aren't explained. Neither icons nor images are clickable.

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World Book -- This Day in History is a simple, but solid, app, all the better for being free. The descriptions are encyclopedic -- short enough to be accessible,  but without much depth or context. Kids will enjoy seeing what happened around the world on a particular date -- their birthdays, for example The historical events represet a broad range of topics and countries; the focus is on the United States, but students will still get exposure to many different cultures. It would be great to be able to search or browse events by category, rather than just looking up days with no historical context or timeline.

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Overall Rating
2

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
2

Kids will have fun exploring favorite dates (like their own birthdates) on the calendar, and the short explanations of historical events may entice them to further explore the topic, but there's not much meat to the calendar.

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

The short snippets about each event don't offer much depth and there's little diversity in the people (mostly white Americans and Europeans) and events represented.

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

The calendar is very easy to navigate, so no help is needed. Links to purchase related books on Amazon are included with each entry.


Common Sense Reviewer
Amanda Bindel Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Chad S. , Technology coordinator
Technology coordinator
Perris High School
Perris, CA
2
Great idea, but lacking depth.

This app is a great idea but is inexplicably lacking in depth. I like the idea of having an easy to use resource that lists important historical events/people for a specific day, yet, why are there so few items per day? Some days have 6+ entries, others have little more than 3. You can't tell me that ANY given day in history couldn't have at least 10+ historically significant occurrences! When you tap on a specific event/person, you get a nice, concise summary, but nothing to help the user conduct more in-depth investigations. Would it be too hard to include a link or two to some additional resources? On the plus side, the controls are easy and intuitive and the visuals are adequate and utilitarian.

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