iBiome-Wetlands App Review
iBiome-Wetland is a hands-on, experiential look at three types of wetlands. Players can “design” each from the ground up by adding environmental factors, plants and animals.
- Unlock up to 50 species in three wetland habitats
- Earn unique badges for successful growth
- Learn biology concepts through experience and problem-solving
- Build biodomes
- Learn about ecosystems, energy and dynamics
iBiome-Wetlands is a high-quality app that will intrigue upper elementary and middle school students with science concepts related to biology. The app is fairly easy to use. Activities are instigated by shaking the device, but can also be accessed by tapping the sign that says to shake the iPad (though this option does not appear in the directions). The app does not have an obvious way to end the current activity without finishing, and this could be frustrating for some. More clear directions to parents/teachers/mentors would be a plus.
This app takes an intriguing virtual hands-on approach to teaching concepts related to the biology of wetlands. Students are presented with the challenge of building a balanced biodome of each of three types of ecosystems. Challenges include identifying environmental factors, distinguishing between producers and consumers and understanding predator/prey relationships. Young scientists can experiment with increasing the numbers of different species within their biodomes to see how that impacts the balance. The app also creates informative web diagrams showing the interrelationships among the various plants and animals in the ecosystem that visual learners will find very helpful.
The app’s primary interaction (besides reading explanatory text) is a matching format exercise where floating items such as plants, animals or environmental factors are to be dragged to the matching category circle. It is possible for the floating items to float off the page after a length of time, resulting in the player “losing” the round and having to start over. It would be nice to have a bit more variety of interactions in addition to this activity, and I think most students would benefit from more varied types of interactions. It would also be nice if the app had a read-to-me option that could be activated to assist struggling or younger students; that would give the app additional flexibility and usefulness. A method of highlighting and accessing callout definitions of vocabulary words would also be helpful to students.
This app is not really intended to be entertaining so much as educational, but there are some aspects that the target audience should enjoy. The animations and graphics are superb, allowing the users to see their biodomes fill with animated life at each stage of their creation. The drag and drop activity traces a line on the screen and the item follows it to the correct location. And users can earn and collect badges to signify success with the different biodomes.
This app is a good value, especially for upper elementary and middle school students who are studying these topics in school. It will provide a hands-on, experiential way to review or reteach critical science concepts and the tangible activities may help some students learn and remember more than traditional teaching methods.
iBiome-Wetlands is a very child friendly app that contains no outside advertisements or in-app purchases. There are no links to the unprotected internet, social media or to the App Store. There is a minimal parent information section that gives brief information about the importance of the app as well as the developers, but does not contain any links or other access to things that students should not have access to.