Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dude, I Got an App Opening Day!

I feel like no matter what I try, I am always behind the curve learning about new and wonderful things in the #edtech world. But isn't that the nature of technology?

Yesterday was my day to have a taste at being on the leading edge. It was yummy.

Yesterday, Wildscreen's ARKive released their app Survival (#survivalapp). I saw the announcement the day before. Sweet, I thought, I'll look into it tomorrow. But it will probably cost money. At least I can download it onto my personal device and see if its something I want to purchase for the school. 

Lucky for me, Survival is free. Yes, free. really, really. And lucky for my students, too, because its already synced onto our iPads. Wheee! This is one fun app ... and did I mention its educational? What isn't there to love about this app?

Survival is an iPhone app from Wildscreen, the genius and support behind the amazing ARKive site, a great research tool for any class digging into endangered animals. Survival challenges players to engage in 4 different mini games that test knowledge about endangered animals. The games come in a rapid-fire succession until time is exhausted. Get a question right, get more time. Get a question wrong, the right answer pops up, but you lose time.
 Earning stars with each character (see Golden Frog here) will unlock stunning wildlife photos as well as facts about each "character". As far as I can tell, game play isn't any different from one character to the next, but each character unlocks different pictures and additional characters. The four mini games appear in a random order throughout each game. One mini game has you pinch the screen if its a bird, double-tap if its a mammal, and swipe for fish.
 Another mini game asks a multiple choice question. Yet another asks what two animals have in common: habitat, eating habits, or animal kingdom. Some of these are tricky! Certainly brings out some good thinking skills, especially as time counts down. A final mini game is a sorting game: sort these 3 animals be height, weight, lifespan, how far they dive, etc.
 I've probably put in about 45-60 minutes of game play into this game, and so far, I really enjoy it. If there is a downside, it's the amount of content. After 20 minutes or so, the questions and activities become fairly repetitive. I hope that future updates bring additional content to the game, seeing as the foundation they've built is highly engaging. The only other downside I see is that it is optimized for the iPhone and has to be magnified to work on our school's iPads. Not that the kids seem to mind.

 There's a ton of good stuff going for this game and I consider it a must-download for any school iPad/iPod program. Its free, ad-free, and the content is absolutely beautiful. The correct answer displays after the wrong answer is selected. No sound means nobody is competing to hear their game (great if you don't have headphones!).

Ten minutes left of my lunch break means I could probably unlock the Kimodo Dragon. I'm off to play Survival and hopefully you're off to download it from iTunes or the Android Market. :-)

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