Friday, February 17, 2012

2BME Firefighter

2BME Firefighter was created by 2BME Studios. What do you want to be when you grow up? A popular answer among kids is probably firefighter. This app shows you what being a firefighter is like and also teachers you about fire safety. Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad.Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later

Developmental Appropriateness: Overall, this app gives a nice virtual tour of a fire station and the tasks that firefighters are faced with. At certain points of the tour, you have to choose between two options and then to go to the other option, you return back tot the same screen first. I felt this kinda broke up the flow of the tour and slowed the pace down. Some parts of the tour are more interactive than others. For example, in more exciting scenes, you have to move the fireman and his hose to help put out fires. The interactive elements are great because they are relevant and fun at the same time. In contrast, in one scene, the fireman explains some fire safety tips like stop, drop, and roll, but he's just basically talking in front of a chalkboard. I think they could use more interactive elements in these less action-based scenes, especially because some of the terminology about the equipment or safety are probably new to kids. For example, instead of just a chalkboard with little illustrations of things like "Stop, drop, and roll" it could show a video demonstration, which would make these important safety tips clearer. Or when introducing the equipment, it could also provide the written label so that kids see the words, which might help them to remember it better. 

There is also a classroom component where you are quizzed about the things you learned on the tour. There's no end point to the quiz - it just starts repeating the same questions over and over. It would be better if it kept track of the answers in some way so that the kids and parents can review. Rating: 4/5 (aim for around 7 years)

Balance: The overall feel of this app is great - simple and to the point. The additions I mentioned above would help to bring home some of the points the fireman is trying to teach. Rating: 4/5

Sustainability: This app separates out the more game like components of the tour like saving the cat, and putting out the fires. However, I don't know if there's enough to these activities to keep kids coming back. I like them within the tour, but not sure if they can stand alone as games. Overall, this app provides a lot of information kids can focus on different aspects each time they play. Rating: 3.5/5 (unless your kid really really wants to be a fireman!)

Parental Involvement: Again, I'd like to see more in the classroom component. Elements that let parents be more involved. A plus of this app is that parents can easily tie this in with a visit to a real fire station. Maybe the app could even have a log for real events, like kids could record when their parents have checked the fire alarms or their trips to a fire station. Rating: 3.5/5

Total: 15 out of 20: 4 stars

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