Product Review of Barefoot World Atlas
Paper atlas, meet the Digital Age with Barefoot World Atlas. Flip through and find animations and real-time data from around the world to bring facts to life. Kids spin or pinch a beautifully animated 3-D globe to find and zoom in on objects they want to learn about. Then, by touching icons, they can access high-quality photos and short descriptions, which they can read themselves or have read to them by BBC presenter Nick Crane. Starting points abound: Kids explore by region, highlighted feature, or country names listed on icons at the top left.
For classroom use, Barefoot World Atlas can function as a geography supplement, with many pros and only a few cons. The animated 3-D world is visually stunning, and most kids will find at least a few images that will spark their interest in different areas of the world, including their own. The live facts about countries — like time, weather, and average carbon dioxide emissions — lend a sense of immediacy and globalization. Kids can quickly and easily compare their lives to the experiences of others.
It’s easy to see learners getting happily lost in 100 topics, including flags, animals, cultures, science, hobbies, landmarks, natural landscapes, and zany facts. Kids might even feel like they’re really visiting other places. If you select a country’s flag, you’ll see the current conditions in that country, including time, distance from you (if you enable location-finding), and current weather.
Great detail: Barefoot World Atlas has a sizable soundtrack that changes to relevant music as you focus on different parts of the world. Also, kids can build a list of favorite countries, regions, or features by tapping the star icon. A major downside is its size. It’s 1.67 GB — ouch. Also, there’s no game or any organized tracking system to encourage kids to continue to explore Barefoot World Atlas’s loads of content. That said, the upsides way outnumber the downsides.
Overall User Consensus About the App
With beautiful graphics, photos, high-quality narration, and fun facts, this reference app easily draws kids into learning. It puts kids in charge of their learning.
Curriculum and Instruction
By browsing the world, kids glean a sense of national and regional identities as well as their own global context. Tapping an icon triggers a brief description, audio narration, or, often, a photo.
Most of the educational material is narrated, so even younger kids can use Barefoot World Atlas. You can’t keep track of where you’ve been, but you can bookmark your favorites.