MarcoPolo Ocean Review
Regarding this application, it seems as though the developers had a certain educational agenda, and then tailored the application to suite that need. The game clearly aims at teaching younger children about the various elements that are contained in the ocean, and how vessels navigate these waters. If the application is upgraded at a cost, a number of other puzzles and levels emerge, however I did not investigate these options.
2. Motivation & Think About Your Audience
There are a number of elements that would keep children engaged with this game. Firstly, it is predicated on an ‘open-sandbox’ mentality, in which students can explore the vast expanses of the ocean at their own leisure. The game itself is driven by visual and auditory cues, which also can serve as directives for children to follow. The various colors and tactile nature of the game, would easily keep children engaged.
3. Choose Your Game Wisely and Find it in the Content
This application does a good job at identifying the learning outcomes it wishes to achieve, and then designing activities centered around those outcomes. For example, one learning outcome is for children to expand their ocean related vocabulary. This is achieved through narrated games, which have students identify objects for which they have learned the vocabulary of.
4. Think Small; Don’t Be Overly Ambitious
As previously stated, I believe that this game meets the learning goals it sets out to achieve, in an age appropriate way. The target demographic for this game are parents of children in lower elementary school, and so the games which are suited for this demographic, involve low level cognitive and fine-motor skills.
5. Learning & Mastery
The game is both simple and intuitive to play. The layout is clean and crisp, and the audio quality provided by the narrator is clear and articulate. The colors in the game are vivid, and so children are able to identify objects easily. Mastery of the game is easily achieved, and the levels provided in the game allow for the mastery of a diversity of skills.
6. Soft Skills of 21st Century are Connected with Content
One of the strengths of this game is that it begins with lower cognitive skills (such as rote memorization) but then builds on these with more 21st century learning skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. The puzzles that arise in the game would help lower elementary school students not only learn about the oceans, but also understand how the oceans work and the problems facing the worlds’ oceans.
7. Push Beyond the Curriculum Standards
The fact that this game can meet curricular standards, and then engage students in critical thinking activities, leads me to believe that it can push beyond curriculum standards. Furthermore, this game platform could be easily adapted to teach students about an infinite number of social ills.
8. Flexible and Adaptive
As previously mentioned, this game could be easily adapted to educate students on a variety of topics (i.e. deforestation, climate change, consumption), and this flexibility is a definite strength of the program.
9. Cost & Low/ Right Technology
Considering this application is free (upgrades are available of course at a price), I would say the price was certainly right. Having read through a number of the reviews on iTunes, a number of parents have praised this game for being both educational and fun – a winning combination for any game.