The World Factbook for iPad
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reference app provides relatively up-to-date profiles of the countries of the world. The developers pull from The World Factbook, a print and online resource the CIA publishes under public domain. The developers of The World Factbook for iPad claim to update the app monthly but don't appear to be keeping to that timeframe. Kids will need strong reading skills to navigate the primarily text-based profiles.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- the economy
- cultural understanding
- global awareness
Thinking & Reasoning
- analyzing evidence
- collecting data
- making conclusions
- part-whole relationships
Engagement, Approach, Support
Bland presentation of amazing data may not be appealing to kids; black background, tiny white text, and few pictures don't do much to grab kids' attention.
If kids are able to dig deeply into this info, the global knowledge they gain can transfer to a well-rounded worldview.
Data is easy to navigate but is text-driven with no explanations; it's hard to figure out where to begin. All info is contained in the app so it can be accessed offline as well.
What's it about?
This reference app provides data on the countries of the world. Users choose a country on the left side of the screen and read the profile info on the right. Profiles are divided into nine categories: introduction, geography, people, government, economy, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues. A Comparisons feature lets kids view individual subsets of data for all countries, for example, the birthrate for all countries from highest to lowest. Maps include global regions as well as individual country maps.
Is it any good?
The World Factbook for iPad does a fine job presenting the CIA's remarkable database of information in a mobile format. The navigation is straightforward and easy to figure out, and the comparison charts are fascinating for kids and adults interested in the "big picture." Another plus is that all the information lives in the app, so users can access it offline. Curious kids could spend hours reading about global history, government, health care, and transportation systems –- and they would've only scratched the surface of this impressive database.
It's unfortunate the app doesn't offer more engagement for younger users. The heavily text-based design is okay for self-motivated kids or older users, but without some other source of inspiration, kids may not dig too deeply here. In addition, the data isn't updated as frequently as the developers claim. As of this review, it's been six months since the last update. Users may want to double-check on the official CIA website if they need up-to-the-minute information.
Families can talk about...
Encourage your kids to use the Comparison tool. Ask them about differences and similarities they notice. Which country has the highest rate of infant mortality? Why might that be?
Direct your kids to the CIA's website to look at the official version of this database. The homepage offers a few fun ways to begin exploring the site.