Ansel and Clair: Jurassic Dinosaurs, by Cognitive Kid, is the second in their dinosaur trilogy and this latest app has hit the nail directly on the head! The developers have done extensive research, beta testing, and plenty of tweaking to bring an incredibly educational experience to kids through exploration and play. Jurassic Dinosaurs is crammed with information to excite the child who can already recite the dinosaur dictionary, yet the gaming style will engage and draw in the novice without overwhelming them with too many facts at once. The app lets you decide if you want to dig deeper right away or learn as you go in a more beginner kind of way. All the games and puzzles are designed with increasing levels of complexity, which enables kids to progress at their own pace.
If you are not familiar with Cognitive Kid’s other apps, than its time for you to crawl out behind that rock and get with the program. Ansel & Clair are two friendly inter-galactic alien explorers that lead kids through thrilling learning journeys. Read TWA’ previous reviews of Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa, Createous Dinousaurs or the esteemed Paul Revere’s Ride. Ansel is the curious photographer and asks all the questions. His photos are automatically added to their travel log, which also has an added feature that allows students to add their own notes. Clair, the robot, is an encyclopedia of information and shares her “ClairVision” when you tap the light bulb on the screen. Marley is their trusted spaceship. The journey begins with the globe spinning as they speed off to the dinosaur dig, and this is when the fabulous fun & whole lots of learning begins! Hold on tight, here we go!
We worked with several different groups of kids, field-testing this Jurassic Dinosaurs; we weren’t surprised that they were all immediately engaged and stayed focused, rarely coming up for air! What is always surprising, is how fast kids find features that we didn’t even know existed. The first group were older students and in a more formal setting working in groups. They eagerly and cooperatively explored the app and pretty much stayed the course, conversing with one another about an array of topics from paleontology, geology, science, history, geography and questioning how the Jurassic Period differed from other eras. This act of questioning reinforced the importance of providing more time for unstructured activities. As a teacher, it was great to send the students to the journal to write down their questions for a later time. With another group, we had several kids, all on their own iPads, working solo. It was fascinating to see how they all began at the same starting page but soon took different paths and explored according to their own interests. One discovered the make your own dino game, which was a huge hit. The others were quickly doing the same. You not only build your own species and name it, you can move your 3D creature in a multitude of poses, including making it roar. Learning through discovery enables kids to delve deeper, it promotes critical thinking skills and there is no comparison to how quickly kids can broaden their knowledge.
The whole Jurassic adventure is a seamless blend of education and entertainment. Dig for fossils, put them back together, and go back in time to see the Earth morph into Laurasia and Gondwanaland before interacting with the spectacular Jurassic dinosaurs. Take pictures, make notes, and collect stickers. Mix and match body parts to make your own 3D dino in Make a Dino mini game. Throughout the app, science, history, geography and geology are incorporated in a fun, contextual manner and taught through Ansel’s critical questioning and Clair’s encyclopedic knowledge, and you will be amazed at how much kids will learn without even realizing it.