Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome is an educational app with a variety of ways for kids to learn about the rise of the Roman Empire. While it, of course, has encyclopedia-like entries (which, thankfully, don't run too long and risk losing the reader's attention), it also offers several games and quizzes to engage children ages 8 to 14. The app mentions some of the uglier parts of history, such as gladiator fights, but doesn't focus on the gore. Users can upload pieces of the app to their Facebook and Twitter pages as well as use location mapping to see where they are in proximity to the empire.
What kids can learn
- historical figures
Engagement, Approach, Support
You can't get lost: The slick navigation makes it easy for kids to explore a range of topics. The large amounts of text could turn off some kids, but the images and just-for-fun puzzles will boost their interest.
Content is written mostly in the same form. Multimedia components are limited, although the interactive map helps kids connect history to their lives. Kids could more actively process information if they could annotate or highlight it.
It's not a complicated tool. Still, audio support would make the materials more accessible to kids with diverse learning needs.
What's it about?
Kids can read a series of articles about the Ancient Roman culture and its gods. A spin wheel at the bottom of the app rotates between categories and a series of games, which include Brush-Off (where players uncover a picture by "brushing" away dust by wiping the screen with their hand), jigsaw puzzles (assembled by hand), pictures, and video.
Is it any good?
History can be boring -- and the encyclopedia is seen by many as the product of a bygone era -- but Britannica Kids: Ancient Rome is a wonderfully educational and entertaining way for kids to learn more about the Roman culture. There are the usual (and expected) walls of print, but they're not the chief focus -- and they're extra helpful, highlighting difficult words and offering definitions so kids don't get frustrated.
It's games like the timed quiz, magic square, and puzzles that kids are more likely to spend time with. While they'll learn less with these than they will by reading, they will be engaged and spend more time with the app. Britannica packs a lot of value into this one.
Families can talk about...
Visit the library or a museum to learn more about Ancient Rome.
Encourage kids to use the quiz feature to test what they've learned. Encourage them to reflect on any items they missed, and to continue to explore the app to learn more.