Bottom Line: From the developer Round by Design comes this excellent multicultural app that offers children the opportunity to engage with kids with around the world. One Globe Kids includes eight stories of children from various parts of the world including the Netherlands, Burundi, Indonesia, New York City and Haiti. Free with in-app purchases.
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First story is free; other kids and countries can be visited via in-app purchase.
One Globe Kids is a great way to introduce kids to stories about real children from around the world and how they live their daily lives. Each story contains a photograph of the child engaging in a part of his or her day and a few sentences of text. The text is read aloud, and the story focuses on everyday events such as eating breakfast, family life, school, recreational activities, daily life, and more. Children can listen to the story in sequential order or go on “an adventure” as pages from the story are presented in random order. The fact that the stories are based on daily life made it easy for my children to connect to each story. My son especially liked hearing about the types of food that each child ate. I enjoyed hearing about different games and styles of playing. Maybe in future stories, children can give us specifics about some of the games so we could try to play them ourselves!
The user also learns facts about each specific country, along with specific phrases in each child’s native language (including learning to count). There are also questions for the user to answer based on things they've seen in each story. For both the language and questions activities, children can record their voice as they engage with the app. As an example, Aji takes us through his day in Indonesia. As a part of his day, he shares how he and his friends play when it rains. Later, in the “Tell Me More” section, he talks about how it is green and wet where he lives, and asks the child about where she lives. My daughter enjoyed these questions, and recording her voice as she answered them. My son loved recording his voice as he learned to count in various languages. A bonus for all of these interactive elements is that they are read aloud, so my beginning reader could easily engage in the stories and the activities, as could my third grader.
This app is brightly colored, with an emphasis on “globe” colors such as blues and greens. The photographs are very well done and help bring each child’s story to life. There are no links out of the paid app, although, as a “freemium” app, it does include in-app purchase options in the free version (the complete story “Valdo in Haiti” is free, as are all the features; additional children can be visited via in-app purchase). Also, while a child can personalize the experience by typing her first name, selecting an icon or uploading a photo, and selecting her location on the globe, no private information (such as email address, last name, and so on) is requested during the use of this app.
This app has so many possibilities when thinking about opening up the world to our children. Allowing them to listen to stories about other kids around the world, and learning about each child’s games, food and life gives the opportunity to connect in a personal way. These connections are essential to building a curiosity and excitement about the world, something that doesn't always develop when memorizing maps and flags of various countries.
Teachers, take note that there is a website where you can engage with these stories if you don’t have access to iPads in your classroom. Also, there is an educators' link on the website that offers ideas and support as to how to use these stories in the classroom. There's also a version called One Globe Kids 1 that's intended specifically for classroom use. It's $12.99 and includes the first eight stories in the series. According to the developer, when the next eight stories are ready, they will be released as One Globe Kids 2, probably in summer 2014.
One Globe Kids is an excellent multicultural app that offers children the opportunity to engage with children from around the world.
Emily would love to travel to all the nations represented in this app, but for now will have to be content with checking them out via the iPad. SmartAppsForKids.com was paid a priority review fee to complete this review in an expedited manner.