Field Trip

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
Field Trip App Poster Image
Great tour guide shows and explains nearby must-sees.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids can learn about the cultures, histories, and geographies of the places where they live or the places they may be visiting. Field Trip also can help kids learn to efficiently and effectively use technology, and parents can use the Offers & Deals section to start conversations about targeted marketing and making wise buying decisions. The impressive resources augment real and virtual field trips, supplementing what kids see with stories and data.

Ease of Play

Field Trip is very customizable and walks users through the setup process step by step. On a phone, with the proper settings, the guide does all the work, with cards popping up automatically, and even reading them aloud, if that's specified in the settings.

Violence
Sex
Language

Since Field Trip compiles content from dozens of sources, some language may not be kid-friendly. Write-ups, especially in the Lifestyle or Cool & Unique sections, occasionally include words like damn and hell. You can deselect content providers in the settings to keep objectionable material at bay.

Consumerism

The Offers & Deals section shows location-based discounts. At review time, the only deal site included was Scoutmob, which does not require a prepurchase and works more like a coupon.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Attractions listed include bars and nightclubs that list drink specials.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Field Trip is a Google app that works on Android or iOS devices but was designed for cell phone use. Using GPS location data, it runs in a phone's background. When you're near an interesting place, from restaurants and bars to historical markers and museums, a card pops up with information about it. Users can log in with their Google accounts and save Favorites. They also can share spots through email or social media.

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What's it about?

FIELD TRIP lets users find and learn more about places near them. You can actively search using the map, or the app can run in the background on your phone as you travel, with cards popping up when you're near featured spots. You can configure settings so the cards are read aloud as you encounter locations. You can customize your interests within Architecture; Historic Places & Events; Lifestyle; Offers & Deals; Food, Drinks & Fun; Cool & Unique; and Arts & Museums. Each category pulls content from several sources and can be customized. For example, in Historic Places & Events, content comes from more than 25 sources that include Historvius, the Historical Marker Database, Archaeological Institute of America, and Arcadia Publishing. The cards have short descriptions but include links to more in-depth information.

Is it any good?

Field Trip is a must-have for road trips -- there's no need to make a U-turn to read that historical marker: it's right there on your phone. This is also a fun way to learn more about places you drive by every day. Settings can be customized so the app reads the card title, or the entire card, aloud (good for keeping your eyes on the road). Speaking also can be set through Bluetooth or disabled while you're driving. Also, for a family road trip, Field Trip is a great pass-back app for the whole family to enjoy, with the kids in charge of reading aloud about their discoveries.

The number of cards can be overwhelming, so you may want to spend some time deselecting sources you or your kids aren't interested in; everything is selected by default, but customizing takes only a few minutes. Keep a charger handy if you're running Field Trip in the background (which makes the cards pop up automatically) because it's a battery hog.

Though you can explore other areas by scrolling around the map, there's no way to search locations by ZIP code, city, or address -- and that would make Field Trip truly amazing.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Let kids browse to choose an interesting location for a family outing.

  • Talk to kids about how GPS-locating works and how to make choices about when and what to share online. Read more about teaching kids to stay safe with location sharing.

App details

  • Devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android
  • Subjects: Social Studies: cultural understanding, events, exploration, geography, history
  • Skills: Tech Skills: using and applying technology
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: September 10, 2013
  • Category: Lifestyle
  • Size: 3.00 MB
  • Publisher: Google
  • Version: 1.12.1
  • Minimum software requirements: Android 2.3 and up; iOS 6.0 or later

For kids who love learning about the world

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