iBiome – Wetlands is a new top pick! Great for the budding environmentalist in your family!

iBiome – Wetlands is a new top pick! Great for the budding environmentalist in your family!

4halfstars
Bottom line: iBiome – Wetlands is a great way to introduce your child to the science of the wetlands, teaching them why the wetlands are important and how we can protect the ones we have and restore the ones that have been destroyed. You might just discover a budding environmentalist in your midst.

iBiome – Wetlands is currently being featured in the AppStore. For a limited time, you can also save 25%.

If you’d like to purchase iBiome – Wetlands (iPad, currently 25% off, $3.99… $2.99), please use the handy link below so they’ll know how you found them. There is also a free lite version available to try out before buying the full version.
appstore
FULL VERSION

appstore
LITE VERSION


noadsNo ads, no in-app purchases, external links hidden in the parent area


iblome1As we open this app, the introduction (which can be watched each time you open the app, or easily skipped) introduces us to Professor Biodiveesee (or Professor Bio, for short). Professor Bio shares a little bit with us about the importance of wetlands and how people have destroyed many of them over time. Professor Bio wants to teach us all how to help restore wetlands to their natural states. All of this, I should note, is presented to us in text format, not verbally.

In this app, kids get to explore four different habitats (or biodomes) and find out about the wildlife (and flora and fauna and more) that populate it. As each new species is discovered, users learn about how it interacts with other things in its environment. Is it part of the environment (like the sunshine or the mud), or is it a plant that produces food for some of the animals? Is it a predator, or is it prey? Where does it fit into the food chain? As each new thing is discovered we get to see how it affects all of the other living things in the dome. At first you don’t see much happening, but as your dome fills up we find that it really comes to life.

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You have to complete all of the tasks in each dome to move on to the next. We start with the Fresh Water Marsh, and then move on to the Salt Water Marsh, Mangrove Swamp #1, and finally Mangrove Swamp #2. We were surprised at how different each environment was, and how each of them are fragile enough that even the smallest change can make all the difference in the world.

What I liked:

Even though it started off a little slow, as each of my domes grew I really loved seeing how all parts of an ecosystem interact and depend on each other. My son (9 years old, right in the middle of the target age group) enjoyed testing this app with me and had many thoughtful questions about how (and why) people had destroyed wetlands. This app really has him thinking.
I liked the character, Professor Bio, and will look forward to future science apps featuring him.
I liked being able to tap on the items once they entered the dome and have the option to get more information about them (or to go back and view information that we had already been given.)

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What I might change:

I wish that there was narration available for the text. This would be so helpful for users who might struggle with reading or in a group situation it would alleviate frustrations users might have with different reading speeds. It could always be muted, of course, so it wouldn’t have to be accessed if the user didn’t want.
Along with narration of the text, I feel like the app would benefit from some other additions of verbal components (interesting facts, etc. when you tap on certain items). I found myself tired of the music/background sounds pretty quickly (and was pleased they could be muted), but more verbal components would heighten the interest level and educational value, I think.

Watch this app in action here:

Overall, I think this is a well-made app with a lot of potential. There are some improvements that could be made to make it a little more comprehensive and to ensure that kids of all learning levels are served well. As the first in what I understand is to be a series of science app, it makes me look forward to future ones. 4.5 stars.

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KelliCartoonTo enter the parent section of this app, users are asked to enter their year of birth. Kelli is wondering if the app realized that she might have fudged it a bit. Smart Apps for Kids was paid a fee to produce this review in a priority manner.

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