International Opinion

Apps for Global Mobile Learning (Part 2)

By Anthony Jackson — June 15, 2012 5 min read
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On Wednesday, my colleagues Heather Singmaster and Honor Moorman reported on apps that can be used to teach for global competence in Art, Science, Math, and ELA. Here we continue our list for Languages, History, Social Studies, and Service Learning.

Being Global: 
This multimedia story and activity app is based on the award-winning children’s book What Does It Mean To Be Global? by Rana DiOrio with illustrations by Chris Hill. Writing, art, music, and educational activities in Spanish and English are designed to help children learn about cultures, languages, and values from around the world. (Ages 4 and up/iPhone and iPad/$1.99)

Word Lens
: This Quest Visual app instantly translates anything written, such as signs, menus, and labels, into Spanish and French (more languages are promised soon). Try it in a scavenger hunt activity. (Grades 1-12/iPhone, iPad/Free, but accompanying dictionaries, if you want them, are $9.99 each)

FREE [Language] Tutor
Games in Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish engage language learners. Good for beginning students. To find this app, insert desired language in the title, for example, “Free Chinese Tutor.” (Grades 1-12/Free for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch/Free)

: Translate written English into more than 50 other languages, or you can flip it and translate other languages into English. Some languages (not all) come with a text-to-speech button as well, so you can hear how to say it and see how it’s written. And a few languages have voice recognition translations. This is a great app for English language learners and foreign language classes. (Grades 6 - adult/iPhone, iPad/Free, but deluxe versions start at $3.99)

Today in History
: This app lists notable international events in history as well as important figures’ birthdates and deaths. Use this app for quizzes, facts of the day, or home practice. (Grades 3-12/iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch/Free)

Geography/Social Studies
Virtual Water: 
Meat, grains, fruits, paper, and clothing—all require water to produce. The Virtual Water app informs consumers about their daily water footprint. Use this app to help students learn more about the earth’s precious resource and the relationship between water and food security. (Grades 4 and up/iPhone, iPod touch, iPad iOS/$1.99)

History:Maps of the World
: Explore maps from around the world, including ancient maps. You can search by country, category, topic (money, transportation, etc), or era. Other apps by the same company (which cost $4.99 each) include Maps of Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. (Grades 4-12/iPhone, iPad/Free)

Google Earth: 
Fly around by swiping your finger, zoom in or out by pinching, and browse layers including places, photos, and Wikipedia articles by tapping on the screen. (All ages/iPhone, iPad, and Android/Free)

National Geographic World Atlas: 
Explore the nations and territories of the world with National Geographic maps. View maps in the traditional “Executive” and “Classic” styles or seamlessly transition to satellite and road maps from Bing. This app also offers a library of maps that can be downloaded for offline use. (All ages/iPhone, iPod touch, iPad/$1.99)

World Factbook: 
With an intuitive and flexible interface, this app makes it easy to navigate the CIA World Factbook including geography, government, economics, communications, transportation, military, and transnational information. Maps and comparisons make it easy to locate and compare data across countries. (Grades 4-12/iPhone, iPod touch, iPad/$0.99)

OECD Factbook
: This app from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) provides comparative information about global economic indicators including population, migration, energy, technology, education, health, and the environment. (Grades 4-12/iPhone and Android/Free)

Kids World Maps: 
A visually appealing tool with easy navigation between political and physical maps as well as maps highlighting cities, deserts, mountains, or rivers. (Elementary/iPad/$0.99)

GeoBee Challenge by National Geographic: 
Master this game, and you’re ready to become the next National Geographic Bee Champion! Challenges come in three rounds: multiple choice questions, interactive map questions, and the bonus round where students match National Geographic photos to their locations on the map. (Grades 4-12/iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, Android, and NookColor/$1.99)

Geo Walk HD - 3D World Fact Book
: This app makes learning about the world interactive and a lot of fun. Navigate the globe to discover points of interest. Tap the cards to zoom into interesting images and information. Search by topic or filter for specific categories: places, animals, plants, people, or events. (Grades 4-12/iPhone, iPod touch, iPad/$2.99)

Stuck on Earth—Free World Travel Guide
: “The ultimate for photographers, explorers, and daydreamers,” this app is a great way to explore and discover fascinating and beautiful places around the globe captured by talented photographers worldwide. (Grades 4-12/iPad/Free)

7 Billion: 
This National Geographic Society app explores the challenges of a growing human population in a world with limited resources. See informative videos, interactive maps, in-depth articles, and photography. (Grades 9-12/iPad/$4.99)

Stack the Countries
: Quiz students on country capitals, landmarks, geographic locations, and more. They can touch, move, and drop the animated countries anywhere on the screen. They must build a stack of countries that reaches the checkered line to win each level. (Grades 7 - 12/iPhone, iPad/$1.99)

Service Learning
Boom Boom! Revolution
: Boom Boom cards turn random acts of kindness into a social game. Participants perform intentional acts of kindness—or underground acts of guerilla goodness—stated on the cards, then pass the card forward. Players inspire each other and celebrate their good deeds by documenting and sharing their stories via the app or Boom Boom Cards website. (All ages/iPhone, iPod touch, iPad/Free)

What other apps do you use for global learning? Please share in the comments below.

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