Project Noah

App review by
Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media
Project Noah App Poster Image
Share nature photos and help research, but watch privacy.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational value

Kids can learn a range of scientific concepts and skills with the Project Noah app. They can learn about species classifications, ecosystems and habitats around the globe, endangered and threatened species, and more. If they join the app's missions, they can learn the real-life work of biologists and ecologists by helping track a particular species or adding to a catalog of data about a neighborhood or region. In addition, the community structure of the app helps kids build important collaboration skills. Project Noah gives kids a chance to do real-world, scientific fieldwork with the support of a knowledgeable and global community.

Ease of play

Though the app is relatively intuitive, the introductory tutorial is a little brief. The field guide can be a bit confusing, but the steps for submitting a new spotting are clearly explained. Explanations of the project, missions, and earning patches are located on the corresponding website. In order to use the app, you must sign in using an existing account (Google, Facebook, Twitter, AOL, Yahoo, or Windows Live). For full functionality, you must also share your location.

Violence

Some photos contain violent but scientific content, such as a dead fish in the Gulf Oil Spill Impact mission, or a lion eating a carcass in the 2011 Best Wildlife Photo Contest mission. There is a link to flag inappropriate photos.

Sex

User-submitted photos or explanations could contain information about reproduction (it is the birds and the bees, after all!) in a scientific sense.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Project Noah is an app adaptation of an innovative website that allows you to submit nature photos to help with global research missions, but there are privacy and safety concerns. In order to use the app or website, you must sign in with an existing account (e.g., Google, Facebook, or Twitter), and full functionality requires access to your location. Once signed in, you can submit photos of wildlife with labels or a request for others to suggest what species they are. Photos can be submitted independently, or you can join missions to submit specific requested photos and help to document species. Some of these missions support scientific research, such as the Lost Ladybug Project. Submitted photos are associated with your login account and include a link to your profile, for which there is an option to include your name and photo. Submitting photos and participating in missions earns you patches. There is also a field guide that displays photos submitted by others that can be filtered by wildlife type.

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What's it about?

The main activities in PROJECT NOAH include submitting wildlife and plant life spottings, joining missions to help crowdsource a particular set of spottings, and browsing submissions from other community members. To submit a spotting with the app, users tap the "New Spotting" button, choose a category such as mammals or fungi (if they know it), upload photos, and enter data about the spotting such as common name, scientific name, date spotted, and location. Users can also ask the community for help identifying the species.

Is it any good?

The idea behind Project Noah is commendable -- fostering the development of "citizen scientists" by engaging people in the wildlife around them and crowdsourcing the collection and verification of data. This app makes it easy to submit pictures on the go and, if you're comfortable with the location sharing, to see what other people in your neighborhood are noticing and submitting. Also, the missions and patches can help kids feel appreciated for getting involved and contributing to research.

To really get the most out of this app in terms of understanding the missions and viewing photos, visiting the website is recommended. In addition, unlike some other wildlife apps such as Audubon Birds, there isn't much information about the wildlife included; info and help with species identification comes from other users. Finally, the whole project is based on creating networks, so this app will require working with your kid to create a safe profile and talking together about online communities.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Help your kids set up their accounts and adjust privacy settings. Project Noah is a social network, so kids need to be aware of what they're sharing and with whom.

  • Get out into the field with your kids! Start with the backyard or a nearby park. Encourage them to identify their spottings before submitting to the Project Noah community.

App details

For kids who love nature

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