Age: High school
Subject: Social Studies
NYPL Biblion – World’s Fair is another of the App Store’s Education Apps of the Year. Again, you can see why. The amount of content being offered here is pretty exceptional.
Fun? If you are into history, World Fairs, a ton of a free content, and extensive reading, then you will find this app to be a ton of fun. If you are into any of the above, you will probably enjoy it. If you do not enjoy any of the above, then this is just another app. I, myself, fit into the first category. The more time you spend with iPad apps, the more you come to realize that, more often than not, paid apps are worth it, especially if the additional cost gets you a lot of content. The New York Public Library spilled their entire contents of articles relating to the 1939-40 World’s Fair. It’s an impressive set and pretty well organized. If you can sell your students on the World’s Fair (perhaps not too difficult, given its “Disney World” feel, they will get a kick out of this as well.
Easy to Use? The one issue I have with this app is that it almost tries too hard to look too good. The content–the impressive amount of photos and articles–is what drives this app, yet much of it gets obscured by a confusing interface. Simply put: it’s frustrating. You will get used to it, but at first your head is spinning. I’d like to see some more simplicity out of the app because what it offers shouldn’t be hard to find.
Gets the Job Done? If you are looking for content on the 1939-40 World’s Fair, you will find it here. Moreover, it is free, which is not usually the case for so much material. I really like how each story makes its own connections between other photos and articles so it is easy to peruse the material thematically. We did not touch on the 1939-40 World’s Fair when I was teaching American History, but this is the kind of app that you make room for in your curriculum. It makes research a cinch.
If I had an iPad in class I’d
1) Assign a research paper on the Fair. With all of the material, there is a lot of variety for a research paper within one topic. The fact that it is organized thematically helps.
2) Explore the images–there are many good ones and it would be great to have any kind of assignment or project based on those.
3) Place the Fair in its context and have students do an assignment on that. What was it like having this fair at the outbreak of WWII in Europe? What new inventions/innovations appeared there? How does the fair hold up over time?
4) I think a very interesting project would be connecting this fair to a place like Disney World. You see a lot of parallels between the two when you look through the material.
5) Take advantage of the vast amount of material that has been offered up for free. Find something that works in your class!
Use it in a cool way? Tell us about it in the comments.
Final Grade: 4.0