What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Historypin is an innovative way to explore and share historical photos across the globe and through time. It is designed to be an intergenerational project, connecting families and communities. Kids can view the app and website without registering, but to post content, they'll need to register using a Google account. Registered users must be 16 or have permission from a parent or guardian. Usernames display with pinned photos. The content on Historypin is user-generated; during our review, we didn't see content inappropriate for the target age.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- reading comprehension
- text analysis
- presenting to others
- cultural understanding
- global awareness
Thinking & Reasoning
- collecting data
- producing new content
- combining knowledge
- personal growth
- conveying messages effectively
- multiple forms of expression
- digital creation
- evaluating media messages
- using and applying technology
Engagement, Approach, Support
This site is great for history buffs, although it may not reel in kids who aren't already interested in history. Still, plenty of school projects could benefit from this interactive research supplement.
Kids can delve fairly deeply into some topics, with visuals that help broaden their understanding of history. It's a very user-driven experience, as well as a social one.
No tutorial is needed, but some menu functions are confusing. It would be nice to get more of the features from the website into the app, especially the Android version.
What's it about?
Users can easily zoom in or out and swipe around the world and tap on historical photos that have been associated with locations by users, adjusting time range between 1840 and 2013 if desired. Registered users can post photos in a few easy steps with caption, background story, and exact or date range. Thematic photo collections set the tone and can be browsed as a slideshow. "Modern replicas" can be taken and overlaid on historic ones. The iOS version of the app has much better features and functionality than the Android version of the app.
Is it any good?
HISTORYPIN alters your sense of time and community, creating human connections with easily accessible images. Users can define any range of dates between 1840 and today, or browse collections like Protest, 1906 Earthquake and Fire, Facial Hair Through Time, and Seaside Collection. Registered users can also easily contribute by pulling from their device's gallery or by taking a current photo through the app, sometimes to create an "overlay" or a modern version of a historic photo taken from the same vantage point. Some places are better represented than others, but there is something to look at in nearly every region or country in the world, even a couple of Korean War posts pinned to North Korea by an American. Some posts are in Russian, but most are English. Many contributors are historical organizations such as the California State Library, or family groups like Rowley Family History. Others are from Mirrorpix Archives. Classic iconic (copyrighted) images are not included.
Teens using the app should also visit the Historypin website, which has an informative and extensive FAQ covering everything from the history of the service to how to use the site to copyright concerns. The website is also home to features that don't appear in the app, especially in the Android app, which has fewer features. For example, users with the iOS app can access their own channel and search for other channels, but they'll need to go to the website to personalize their channel. The Android app makes no mention of channels at all. Still, even the bare-bones Android version of the service offers a great experience exploring history.
Families can talk about...
Dig out a special historical family photo, discuss it, and allow your kids to post.
Challenge your kids to find an existing photo in your area and create an overlay.
Attend a historical event as a family and allow your kids to upload a photo.