One of the goals we have in my household is to develop and maintain an inquisitive culture and the desire to learn. Being immersed in the technology industry as I am, I naturally add technology as a part of that process. One of my favorite examples of how we have done this was with an app called iBird Explorer Western.
My family and I live just outside San Jose in an agricultural / rural part of the area and because of that we see quite a wide variety of birds we never encountered in the city. My oldest daughter (age 9) and I both have the app on our iDevices, mine on my iPhone and hers on the iPod Touch. It has been remarkable to see how quickly she can spot a new bird in the wild and quickly use the app to identify the bird and learn interesting facts.
Even more recently in this process she has begun playing a game called Stack the States fairly regularly. This game teaches her facts about US states as well as how to identify them and place them on a map. It does so in a way that makes learning fun and technology at its best should accomplish that goal when it comes to education.
Because of my desire to integrate technology into the learning process and inquisitive nature of my kids, I began thinking of games I appreciated as a kid that did the same. The first one that came to mind, for my wife and I, was Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?
This game did a great job, in my opinion, of integrating game play with lessons on geography and other facts that was fun and educational. I had been watching for a while, and still to no avail, the arrival of this game in the iTunes App Store. This game seems like an ideal game for iOS devices and I am still surprised it is not there. The company that owns the rights called The Learning Company also owns the rights to The Oregon Trail, a game that is available for iOS and quite popular.
Game developers are smart to be using legacy franchises to bring games into the touch computing era. As devices like the iPad get integrated more into the learning process at different age levels, these games can provide a solid base to build upon and bring to tablets and more.
Apple’s re-invigoration of the software community is creating new possibilities with game software on computing devices and especially those that are touch based.
Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego is one of many legacy franchises that I hope make it to touch devices. Such software and the software development communities focus on creating games that are fun and educational are positive trends that I would like to see continue.