Continuing our Apps of the Month Feature, here's a round-up of some of our favorite educational apps released or updated over the course of the month, which includes Android, iPhone, and Web applications. If you want to let readers know about your favorite educational app, tell us in the comments.
ANSEL & CLAIR'S ADVENTURES IN AFRICA
Ansel & Clair's Adventures in Africa is one of those rare joys that combines beautiful graphics and engaging gameplay with educational content. Ansel and Clair are aliens who must recover their lost spaceship parts, and as they travel the continent (the Serengheti, the Nile River Valley, and the Sahara Desert) they not only work on that mission but learn about the geography and history of the area as well. The app takes full advantage of iPad technology -- audio, video, the touchscreen, "tilt the iPad" games, and so on.You can have separate accounts, so different users can move through the the story at their own pace and it's suitable for a wide age range (the iTunes lists the app as 4 and up). Kids have have ample instructions on how to proceed, but it's open-ended enough for them to have their own way of interacting with the content. Lots to explore here.
Both parents and children say that having cellphones makes them feel safer and helps maintain communication channels. But often just texting to let parents where a child is isn't enough. So I'mOK has created an app that rewards children for doing more than just sending a text message. The app lets kids flag their location, tag the friends they're with, and upload pictures -- all in the service of helping give parents a better idea where they are (and hopefully decrease the need for nagging or spying). In exchange for being forthcoming with their data, the app lets kids earn points, which in turn parents can use to reward kids. The app is still in private beta, but should be available for wider use this summer.