An AMAZING interactive app! I, who have never been lured into spending money on an app until today (4.99 euro), was looking for something on the internet about the world to propose as an activity to the children at my summercamp a few weeks ago. Our summer theme was 'travelling around the world" and by chance I came across the video explaining how children can spin a 3D globe with their fingers and enlarge any area they are attracted to by the myriad of little colourful animated hand-painted icons (buildings, animals, plants, people), clicking on them, reading and listening to an explanation about them, seeing a real photo of them, listening to sounds and music pertaining to them, in an all-round experience. I was mesmerised and bought it there and then sitting in bed with my iPad at 3am.
The next day I could not stop the curiosity of the children aged 5 - 12, as I projected the globe on the screen - I had their full attention - all of them - calling to me to stop and click this or that icon: and best of all, expressing themselves in broken English without even realising it: "Look at that!" "Wow, a lovely animal!" "Stop, stop! Go back! Click on that orco!" - a killer whale I would suggest... "Can I click, please?", "Listen!" - there was no stopping them and snack-time arrived an hour later without us realising it!
Admittedly for such a wide range of ages the short texts and accompanying audios were too much but we just described colours and admired the beauty of it all. Some remembered where they had travelled and others told us what they knew about the animals.
The way it aroused curiosity made me realise its potential in class and I have already experimented it in very small groups. Depending on the level of the students, they can read, or read and listen or only listen to the short accompanying texts, learning new vocabulary and expressions. Older students can talk about what they know on the subject and small projects can be done for homework. I introduced it to a few toddler mums whose children loved it and called me to have the link. I have no connections whatsoever to this company and have never read any of their books so they are totally new to me but this app offers language potential in a very educational context which is highly attractive to children of all ages - their curiosity gets the better of them and one can exploit it in many ways - getting them to express themselves in English whilst excitedly exploring the world and its cultures.
The app is called:
Barefoot Books WORLD ATLAS written by Nick Crane and illustrated by David Dean, produced in collaboration with the Royal Geographic Society.
I recommend you watch the video demonstrating it:
This second video shows its potential for children to physically put into practice what they learn from the atlas in play - a roleplay situation to be encouraged for language learning as well:
Looking forward to hearing any of your ideas on how to use it!