Dotopedia

App review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
Dotopedia App Poster Image
Cool content creation like Wikipedia with training wheels.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about a variety of subjects including the basics of how to use and add information to a wiki-like collaborative information source. Kids use multiple forms of expression -- visual, audio, and written -- to gather and share information with others. As users make the effort to complete daily quests and add their own articles (or add to existing articles), they are producing new multimedia content, making wise decisions, and using subject-specific vocabulary to share information.

Ease of Play

Very easy to use. Dot leads kids through all of the app's options with audio suggestions and directions. Clear icons also give visual cues.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

This app is affiliated with Dot, the CBC kids' television show. Sponsors of the app are featured on the main app screen.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dotopedia is based on the character Dot from the TV show and book and is sort of like a kids' version of Wikipedia with added challenges and lessons. Kids can use this information collaboration app to read about everything from butterflies to grandparents. They can add sounds, pictures, or information of their own to the articles, or create articles themselves. Because it's a "walled garden" (unlike the real Wikipedia), kids only see the content already in the app, content they create themselves, or content someone else creates using the same device. The app also suggests off-app challenges for kids, such as finding or making a paper airplane and posting the results. Read the app's privacy policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

To start DOTOPEDIA, tap Play. Create a profile by choosing one of the pre-made avatars or taking a photo of yourself. From the main page, choose a "Dot suggested" article, start a new activity, check the Daily Quest, create or view articles, or search by keyword. Add your own audio, visual, or written content to an article by tapping the "Change this article" icon. Take a photo with your device's camera to document the challenges and new activities you complete, and your progress will be documented so you can "level up." View your progress (Articles Created, Pictures Added, Content Written, Sounds Added) on your profile page. Kids will only see content already in the app and content created on their device.

Is it any good?

Kids who want to know a little about a lot of things -- and who want to help others learn, too -- will love this app. Dot is extraordinarily good at helping young kids new to information apps and sites through her ground-level tips. She advises kids on basics, such as: "Looking for something? Tap the search box and type it in," and "This is what a Dotopedia article page looks like." Quests get kids learning and doing offscreen, too, and include activities like drawing your scariest jack o' lantern face and taking a photo of it to include in the "pumpkin" article on the app.  All in all, Dotopedia is a fun way for kids to learn and contribute their knowledge in ways they'll likely use as they get older.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how information collaboration works on Dotopedia and Wikipedia. What are the benefits of sharing information? What are the risks?

  • Talk about what to create. What does your kid know a lot about that they can contribute to Dotopedia? Help them brainstorm topics.

  • Find the related Dot book by Randi Zukerberg or show to learn more about the main character on this app. 

App details

For kids who love cool and creative apps

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