Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Historables: Marie Ant-toinette

Historables: Marie Ant-toinette was created by Base Camp Films, LLC and aims to teach kids using historical figures in a fun, interactive way. I like the premise and play on names (they have other apps in the works with other figures like Teddy Bear Roosevelt). Price: There are three activities here, one comes free, and the other two are in-app purchases for $1.99.

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Developmental Appropriateness: So the premise hear is that Marie Ant-toinette lives in a castle and plays on the whole "let them eat cake" thing. So the activities are the kitchen where you make a cake and decorate it (the free activity), a tunnel maze to get more ingredients, and the bedroom where you decorate and arrange the furniture. Although it's centered around the whole cake quote, there's nothing in the app explaining that to kids. If you tap on her portrait, 4 facts pop-up - and they don't leave you feeling like you know about Marie's life. Further, while they are written in a kid-friendly way, they are not read aloud - and this is the ONLY section where any history really appears! Back to the activities - the cake activity is really the only one with any slightly educational content (one could argue that the puzzles help cognition) as you must help measure out the ingredients. The amounts change each time so sometimes it's 2 cups of flour or 4 cups of flour. While this is nice to keep it changing, adding a wee bit of math - it might cause some problems for those who actually want to bake a cake. Once, I got it where you had to put 4 cups of sugar with 1 cup of flour. That would not be a good cake - and all that sugar! Overall, I like the idea and potential of where this could go, but as is - there is not enough educational content here, leaving me disappointed. Rating: 2/5 (Aim for around 5 years)

See trailer here

Balance: The features here obviously tip towards fun rather than learning. But for the most part and for what it is - it's easy to navigate with clear instructions from the Queen herself. The main menu could use some changes as it looks like you can play with the other historical figures, but they are just ads. Rating: 4/5

Sustainability: So without offering much in content on this whole historical figure aspect, this app is actually not very unique. At the risk of sounding harsh, there are better cake baking and decorating apps out there and there are better puzzle apps out there. Rating: 2/5

Parental Involvement: In terms of the activities, there's not much for parents. Again, I still think there's potential here in that these are topics that I think even adults could learn from and find interesting. But as is, it's not there yet. Rating: 3/5

Total: 11 out of 20 - 2 stars.


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