Lessons in Herstory

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
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Textbook companion of women's roles in history lacks depth.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Very brief explanations of women in history lack depth.

Ease of Play

Need a steady hand for scanning textbook or computer screen to see augmented reality.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lessons in Herstory features short, comic-style profiles of women in history. It can stand alone or be used in conjunction with a history textbook, A History of US: Liberty for All? 1820-1860, Book Five, 2005. The app will need access to the camera to use the augmented reality, but it doesn't ask for any personal information or account-creation.Note: There's no posted privacy policy for Lesson in Herstory at the time of review.

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What's it about?

LESSONS IN HERSTORY uses augmented reality to show women's role in historical events. Scanning a picture of a man's profile picture at the beginning of a chapter in the book shows a cartoon-style picture of a woman, her dates of birth and date, and a few short facts explaining how she impacted history -- some directly related to the man; others related to his accomplishments. For example, scanning the picture of Zebulon Pike who discovered Pike's Peak brings up Julia Archibald Holmes who was the first women to climb it. Even without the book, kids can read the profiles of 70 women.

Is it any good?

The fantastic idea of highlighting women's roles in history is diminished by the lack of depth and small amount of content offered. The book that Lessons in Herstory connects to actually does a good job of including women throughout the book on its own -- with more depth and actual photographs of the women. It'd be nice to see some expansion of the time periods covered, especially to women's more recent achievements in history. Each profile is very brief. Links to more information would be helpful as well. With the limited time period covered, too, there's a lack of Black women represented who aren't somehow tied to slavery and little to no representation of other minorities. Though there's an option to share a profile of the woman, selecting that crashes the app. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why it's important for tools like Lessons in Herstory to highlight women's roles in history. Seek out resources that highlight minority and other underrepresented groups roles in history as well.

  • Choose a woman from Herstory to research further, or choose a woman not featured and create a Herstory-style entry for her. 

App details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love history and social studies

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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