The World Factbook for iPad

 

Learning(i)

Database of global statistics is a great reference tool.

What parents need to know

Ease of play

The information is organized and easy to navigate. On the left of the screen, users toggle between the Locations, Maps, and Comparisons lists. From the Locations list, kids choose a country and can browse the list of data or jump to a specific section by tapping the icon for that information.

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Sexy stuff
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Consumerism
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Privacy & safety
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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

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • events
  • geography
  • global awareness
  • government
  • history
  • the economy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data
  • investigation
  • making conclusions
  • part-whole relationships

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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.

Learning Approach

If kids are able to dig deeply into this info, the global knowledge they gain can transfer to a well-rounded worldview.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding
  • events
  • geography
  • global awareness
  • government
  • history
  • the economy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • analyzing evidence
  • collecting data
  • investigation
  • making conclusions
  • part-whole relationships

Kids can learn information about the countries of the world, from basic facts such as geography, climate, and languages to detailed statistics like the number of Internet users and total kilometers of paved and unpaved roadways. For each country, kids can browse nine categories including government, economy, military, and more and can view two maps and an image of the country's flag. With guidance, kids could use The World Factbook for iPad to enhance classroom learning or to launch their own interest-driven exploration.

This Learning Rating review was written by Erin Wilkey Oh

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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?

QUALITY
 

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.

App details

Device:iPad
Price:$1.99
Pricing structure:Paid
Release date:June 5, 2012
Category:Reference
Size:34.80 MB
Publisher:Fuzzy Peach LLC
Version:1.1.13
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of The World Factbook for iPad was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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