MarcoPolo Ocean, by MarcoPolo Learning, Inc. is a state of the art 3D undersea adventure that promotes exciting exploration and discovery through gorgeous graphics for the younger set. This app has what it takes to grab a child and foster their curiosity, which in turn adds intrinsic motivation and hours of playful learning! Your child/student will choose from five different activities, all geared for self-discovery about the ocean and its unique environment. First kids can build a coral reef and then freely navigate around it at varying depths; this was one of the most popular components for the children we worked with. There are many unusual elements covering this diverse ecosystem. Next up, a puzzle like activity to build a herring and learn specifics about this fish and a bit about eight other fish throughout the goings-on. Same with an orca whale. From there, the expedition focuses on a large ship and all of its varied spaces with the different attributes for different functions. We would like to see the narration have an option to be repeated if necessary. It would really help considering masses of new vocabulary and lessons on board. Children can motor about the ocean with the boat that they built. The submarine is the last selection, which is much the same as the boat building and incorporates some very cool window treatments. And of course, the sub gets to explore the underwater world and all of its diversity. Fun, fun, fun for everyone! This is an app with staying power, but beware it will be very difficult to get your iPad back once a child begins this journey! AOK, with us – so much learning going on and isn’t learning supposed to be fun? Best Part: These educational app developers included a guide for parents (or teachers) to explore the ocean topic further by recommending great books and ideas for wonderful activities to extend the screen time. Parents are encouraged to explore the science of the sink or float concept (one of our all-time favorites), go on a field trip to an aquarium or the shore or even to a pet store.Make dolphins jump. Build a coral reef. Explore the deep sea. Create your own aquarium. These are just some of the fun things you can do with MarcoPolo Ocean, a “digital sandbox” for kids to play in that sparks their interest in the most unexplored part of our planet – the ocean. Five build-and-play activities bring the language and the images of the ocean to life. Ocean, developed along with a leading marine educator, is playfully narrated and animated to reinforce vocabulary, physical attributes and ocean concepts. Coral Reef Marine Mammals Fish Boat Submersible and TONS of Free Play Exploration We corresponded with one of MarcoPolo's founders, Justin Hsu, to get the inside skinny of what to expect next. He couldn’t let the cat out of the bag, yet. But he did say: MarcoPolo Ocean is the first volume in our Discovery Series, which is a set of apps that build curiosity about how the world works. It's our goal to give kids the freedom to explore the incredible things our planet has to offer in a way that is fun and self-motivated. Look for our second volume in the Discovery Series to release in late spring!
Written by Jayne Clare
Jayne Clare is dedicated to being in the forefront of the ever-changing digital landscape. She has been working directly with students and startups and recognizing what works and what doesn’t, along with the why behind both. Jayne co-founded Teachers With Apps in 2011.