iBiome - Ocean Lite

App review by
Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Media
iBiome - Ocean Lite App Poster Image
Kids dive into virtual world of aquatic food webs.

Parents say

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

As they build their biodomes, kids learn about producers, consumers, and predator-prey relationships, plus how changes in one part of a food web impact the entire web. They can learn details about different aquatic species by reading journal entires. Fun extension activities and other learning ideas in a gated Parent's Corner.

Ease of play

Professor Bio guides kids through a lot of the tasks. Function and purpose of some features, like the Build page, are not entirely clear.

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism

Developer's icon is displayed on the parent pages. 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that iBiome - Ocean Lite is an interactive resource that teaches kids about aquatic food chains and webs. Kids explore a tide pool habitat -- also called a biodome -- to learn about organisms and how they rely on one another. They build food webs and make changes to the webs so that they can observe the outcome. In the paid version, kids can explore three additional habitats: coral reef, kelp bed, and open sea. To get the most out of the app, kids should be fluent readers. 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?

In IBIOME - OCEAN LITE, Professor Bio begins by introducing kids to some general information about oceans, their importance, and the organisms that live there. For the main activity, kids explore a tide pool where they complete tasks to build food webs within a biodome. For example, students identify consumers, producers, and environmental factors. Then they drag and drop these organisms into the correct places to form a food web. Once kids complete a task, a new species is unlocked. The species gets placed in a virtual journal where kids can tap to learn more about all of the species that they have unlocked. Kids are also given the opportunity to experiment with their biodomes by adding species to see how the biome is affected, and they earn badges for some of these accomplishments.

Is it any good?

This interactive resource has plenty of learning content and engages kids with interactive tasks, but the free version is limited to only one aquatic habitat and has some imperfect features. The journal in iBiome - Ocean Lite is an excellent resource of images and descriptions of organisms, and the food webs are fantastic visual models of feeding relationships. There's a lot of text and audio to digest, but building the webs is highly interactive, and earning badges motivates kids to complete tasks. However, there are some minor issues with usability. For example, there's a button on the main screen labeled "Ocean & Us!" but when users tap the Build button, nothing happens. Also, experimenting with the biodome by adding new species is potentially cool, but confusing: There are instructions for adding the species, but after that, kids are left on their own to figure things out. Though it could use a bit of refinement, it's a good test to see if it's worth buying the paid version.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of oceans to life on Earth. What do you learn about the ocean as you use iBiome - Ocean Lite?

  • Explore the resources together in the Parent's Corner. What topics are you most curious about? How can you learn more?

  • Have kids draw an ocean food web. They can do research to learn about new organisms, or they can refer to the app for help. 

App details

  • Device: iPad
  • Subjects: Science: animals, biology, ecosystems
  • Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: analyzing evidence, applying information, investigation, part-whole relationships
  • Price: Free
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: August 17, 2017
  • Category: Education
  • Topics: Ocean creatures
  • Size: 188.00 MB
  • Publisher: Springbay Studio Ltd.
  • Version: 2.0
  • Minimum software requirements: iOS 6.0 or later

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For kids who love science and biology

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