Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs

Ansel and Clair: Cretaceous Dinosaurs was created by Cognitive Kid, Inc., the same creators as for Ansel and Clair Adventures in Africa has won numerous "best of" and educational app awards. I have not checked out Adventures in Africa, but was definitely interested in seeing what all the hype was about. Does it live up? Price: $1.99

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad.Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: I totally see what everyone was talking about. This is a great app for learning. Basically, Ansel and Clair go on a journey to learn all about dinosaurs, visiting a paleontologist at his dig site for fossils and then time traveling back to the Cretaceous period to see and learn about the different dinosaurs. It's jammed pack full of information, but with the learning design, it's conveyed in an informal, fun way. There's a plot to carry out the story, time to reflect on the information as you take pictures, time to review through the pictures/travel log, and ways to share the experience through the travel log. It takes important learning tenets and masks it with a fun feature. The information is written in a very kid-friendly way, which is very important given the amount of big words. My only warning would be that if your kid doesn't like dinosaurs, this may be boring as it ALL about learning about dinosaurs and it can also be a bit slow-paced at times. Rating: 5/5 (aim for around 7 years).

Balance: Overall, the interactive features are "functional" in that they either mimic what you are suppose to be doing in that action and or are relevant to the plot. There were a few times when some of the features took multiple and more aggressive tapping to get to work. And I did find some of the pacing to be on the slow side. Rating: 4.5/5

Sustainability: There's load of info that I'm sure kids will pick up something new each time. But again, if dinosaurs aren't your thing, this won't last long. Rating: 4.5/5

Parental Involvement: There's no explicit role for parents, but the travel log can act as a great review or a way for kids to share what they've done. I bet most adults don't know a lot this content either, so adults won't be bored playing along. This would also be great for teachers to use in the classroom. Rating: 4/5

Total 18 out of 20 - 5 stars

Disclosure: I received this app for free for review purposes.

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