Common Sense Review
Updated February 2014

World Geography Games

No-frills digital geography quizzes may appeal to some, but not all
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Common Sense Rating 2
  • Choose a geography category to start a quiz – ads appear on the right.
  • Geographical categories are plentiful, but ads are unavoidable.
  • A quiz on metropolitan areas shows how challenging the quizzes are.
  • Once kids click on the correct place (in this case, rivers), they see a bit of information about it.
  • After making all correct choices, students get rewarded with an animation.
Pros
Simple quizzes help kids learn to identify a variety of geographical features.
Cons
There isn't much variation in gameplay, and learning content lacks depth.
Bottom Line
While useful as a quick assessment tool or personal challenge, it isn't a place for deep learning.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

Geography buffs might find the simple quizzes addictive, but they can be tedious, especially after the first time. With no variation, gameplay quickly feels repetitive. Ads on the homepage are a slight distraction.

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

Kids can learn to identify states, countries, and other features on maps. Most learning is by trial and error; gameplay is superficial enough that learning may be quickly forgotten. Some games might be best used as an assessment.

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

A simple tracking tool shows progress in each quiz (but not overall across quizzes or over time). Help and extensions are basically nonexistent on the site, and the search and identify approach won't work for all types of learners.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

You might find the site to be most helpful as a follow-up quiz tool. For instance, after teaching the 50 states, challenge kids to find them all on the blank map without making any mistakes. It can also be fun to practice geography-themed trivia. Although World Geography Games is designed for individual play, you could potentially project a blank map for the whole class to view; students could work in teams to find the correct answers.

Since there isn't a way to save scores or print a score report, teachers will need to watch kids closely if they want to get a sense of how well they're doing. Teachers could also just let students explore the site freely. These kinds of games are bound to interest some kids, but won't appeal to others at all.

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What's It Like?

World Geography Games is a collection of quizzes that test kids' ability to locate various geographical features on digital maps. There's a fair amount of content here, though none of it goes very deep: continents, states, countries, rivers, oceans, deserts, mountains; even atmospheric layers. Students click on a category -- say, U.S. States -- to bring up an unlabeled map. The game cycles through questions like "Where is Rhode Island?" while students try to click the correct answer. They'll hear a buzzer if they click the wrong place.

Once in a while, some extra information -- population, for instance -- pops up when kids answer correctly. A counter tells kids how many questions they've answered, how many are left, and how many incorrect attempts they've made. When they've answered all questions correctly, the map lights up and kids see a simple animation. If they're having trouble, kids can click "give up" to see the map labeled and then start over again.

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Is It Good For Learning?

The best thing about World Geography Games is the variation it offers in terms of different geographical features. Kids can test their knowledge of countries in Europe, but also world rivers, flags, volcanoes, and mountain ranges. This makes it a nice tool for geography and trivia buffs. Gameplay is very simple and accessible; it's incredibly easy and quick to get started on the site.

That said, play can easily get boring and tedious. What's more, there isn't any help for students who aren't great at geography, or are perhaps having trouble with just one question. It would be nice if the site gave hints, or revealed answers, even if just for one question at a time. As it stands, students will have to reveal all answers or restart the whole quiz. It could also be more helpful for teachers if kids' scores were saved and packaged into reports. A few ads appear on the home page, creating a small distraction, though they're mostly benign.

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See how teachers are using World Geography Games