Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bill Nye The Science Guy

Speaking of science apps (see previous post), Disney recently released Bill Nye The Science Guy app! Now admittedly, I was in an Asian bubble and didn't grow up watching the show, but I'm sure many of you may have. So how does the app compare to the show? Price: Free with in-app purchases

Device Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 6.0 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.

Developmental Appropriateness: I think what's made Bill Nye THE science guy is how he makes the science relatable and engaging - and it's the same with this app. There are videos (in-app purchases), games, demonstrations, and a book for experiments. Kids are free to explore at their own pace and interests. Rating: 5/5 (aim for around 8 yos, but I think kids younger and older will enjoy).

Balance: This is definitely a polished looking app from Disney. However, I am disappointed by the amount and type of interactivity. The experiments is just a book for you to carry out on your own, the videos are videos, and the games could be better. The games are informative, but the interactive features do not highlight the information - rather, discover things and read about them. I think the newer features of the ipad like the gravity feature could be great for science apps, specifically, but this app does not take advantage of them. Rating: 3/5

Sustainability: There's a variety of activities and although I wish the experiments books was a little more interactive - for example - encourage kids to go do the experiment and come back to the app to discuss, it at least does extend the life of the information to the real world. And also, more videos are available for purchase. Rating: 4/5

Parental Involvement: There's no explicit role for parents, but I can imagine parents getting into this app too. Also, the experiments are a good way for parents to get involved. Rating: 4/5

Total: 16 out of 20 = 4 stars

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