CONCEPT: The latest interactive ebook app from acclaimed developers Kids Discover.
DELIVERY:How America Works by Kids Discover takes a difficult concept and through interaction, visuals, and video is able not to dumb down but to highlight how the government works in an appealing fashion. History is a vital and energizing topic, but government is a topic that causes yawns and apathy, as shown through low voter turnouts. Here, though, How America Works serves as the perfect model of what an informational app should be.
Each chapter begins with a very short video and is followed by pages that are only complete when joined by a child's touch. Interactive images fill each page, whether by balancing the scales between executive and legislative branches or by pressing infographs that then reveal relevant information. The sections and visuals are highly polished while still providing a solid overview of the subject.
LIMITATIONS:The only evident limitation is one that courses through government: scandal. By displaying how government works, the app should also demonstrate just how some politicians have taken advantage of that system, the resulting controversy, and the resulting consequences. Challenges to the Constitution through presidential action and inaction, gross legislative improprieties, and judicial conflicts of interest do not appear just as lobbying, which has significant impact on a bill, fails to show its head. Yes, the U.S. republic is a beautiful and complicated system, but by photoshopping out its inherent defects we build future disillusioned, apathetic citizens rather than voters who wait in line to make sure that republic thrives.
CONCLUSION: In terms of approach and interaction, the app is first rate and only marred somewhat by the way it glosses over potentially contentious issues. 4/5
This app would be well served in schools to illustrate a government section. It is heavy in interaction and appeals to multiple modes of learning. This is a worthy addition to a teacher's list of resources.