Bottom line: An interactive geography app that helps kids learn about other cultures, climates, and regions. Great graphics and catchy, educational tunes round out this highly recommended app. Free lite version now available!
**Update 8/26/13: Geo-Me has been updated to include English language subtitles on all the video in the app. A "search a city" function is coming soon!
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Where in the world are we, anyway? Geo Me is the app to answer that! Let learning fingers walk, er, swipe, their way around the globe and discover new cultures, climates, and even learn more about their own without ever leaving home.
When the app starts for the first time, it requests to use your current location. If you were asking my advice, I would say "do it!" The folks at Crackerbox Studio made sure the app doesn't access any other information, and the ability to use your location makes the app a lot more interactive and personal. I didn't turn it on at first, but I changed my settings later on and was quite glad I did.
The app is fairly straightforward to use. The main screen is a map of the world, only . . . flat. Geo Me's (little circular characters) show up about one per continent, give or take. Each are dressed differently and have a uniqe story to tell about where they live.
Pressing on these Geo Me's lets your late elementary/early middle schooler get a one-minute glimpse of what life is like in the location they chose — climate, environment, natural geography, activies, etc. The songs are catchy but not obnoxious, which make them a learning tool. Being a pretty musically inclined gal (I took piano lessons for 14 years and play a couple other instruments), I remember things well if I put them to music. Want me to sing you all the prepositions? How about all 50 states and their capitals? No? Well, regardless, putting information to music is a great tool for some bright learners and I was happy to see it show up here.
Other cool things can be done inside this app. For instance, your kiddo can create a Geo Me of himself and place it on the Geo Me map. He or she can also create a family of Geo Me's. This is perfect if your family is stretched out, or if you have loved ones overseas. The Smart Apps for Kids staff is spread out all over the globe, so I'm sure you've already guessed that I made a Geo Me for each of our staff members and saved them on my map. The Geo Me's your kiddo creates give quick and dirty information about the location they select. Population, climate, land type — truly "just the facts, ma'am."
Another feature I got pretty excited about was the ability to select a Geo Me anywhere on the map. This can be selected under settings (the red guy always in the corner of the screen). Simply activate this setting and voila — you can see the Geo Me for any area you press and get the exact same information I mentioned before. Is your kiddo talking about Egypt in geography class? Not only does he learn to locate it quickly on a map, but he also learns fast facts about the region. Want to know what it's like where granny lives in Europe? Consider it done!
The graphics are great, and the music is catchy but not too "baby-ish." One flaw: there is little instruction on how to use the app, so it may take users awhile to get their bearings and make the most of all the app has to offer. I'd love to see a tutorial of sorts in an update.
This app would make a super supplement to any geography or history-learning kiddo, either as a supplement during the school year, or simply as a boost over the summer. At 99 cents in the App Store, the price is certainly right for the quality of information and presentation you get with this app.