Civil War Interactive App Review
Civil War Interactive is a multimedia resource about the American Civil War. With hundreds of photos, paintings, recordings and videos, it offers a museum-quality experience in your own home.
- Six Time Lines with month-by-month detail
- Searchable index of events and people
- Multimedia presentations
- Includes 750 photos, paintings and sketches
- Includes 15 audio recordings
- Information on all major battles, historical events, important people
- Hyperlinked text connects references to other summaries and related info
Civil War Interactive is a well-presented and intriguing application. Navigation is clear-cut and intuitive. The included pictures, art work, audios and narrations all add to the overall usefulness and interest of the application.
This application presents a wealth of information in a highly interactive and engaging way. The combination of visual, auditory and print will keep most students’ attention and offer many avenues for learning. It is very well organized, and it is easy to get supplemental information about people, events and ideas by clicking on highlighted links within each section.
The main drawbacks to the software are the high reading level (ranging at least from mid-high school level to collegiate levels of difficulty) and the listed sources for the information. Middle school students, who cover the Civil War in depth in most Social Studies curriculums, would have a great deal of difficulty reading and understanding sections of this resource. High school readers need to be proficient to be successful with the included text. The software lists sources for the information, pictures and other elements. All pictures, cartoons and artwork are used under public domain or Creative Commons License, which sets a wonderful example for students. However, the text references are from a site that many teachers instruct students to avoid as unreliable. This might be difficult to explain to observant students, and could easily be corrected by sourcing the information from government or university sites.
Civil War Interactive will be engaging for students, particularly those who need multiple modes of teaching. The interlinking between the various texts and resources allows users to move smoothly to whatever topic is of interest and the indices make it easy to find information quickly. The recordings include not only narration, but also musical background, and several period songs and speeches are rendered in this way.
This application has all the makings of an outstanding reference about the Civil War for both students and hobbyists. Students will be able to find information to assist with assignments and to help them study for related examinations. Hobbyists could spend quite a while going over the information provided and checking out the connections between linked sections.
The one major concern is the choice of supporting references for the text. Since the app’s makers used a website that classroom teachers may find to be unsuitable, that may disqualify the app from use as a reference for research or essays about Civil War topics. Students and hobbyists looking for formal references to support writing projects may need to look elsewhere.
This app is rated as being suitable for users over the age of nine due to “Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence, Infrequent/Mild Mature/Suggestive Themes, and Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence.” It is well-designed for middle school students, high school students and adults.
The app includes unobtrusive links to email, the touchzing.com website and Facebook. These links are contained at the bottom of the “About the App” section accessed through the Help link.