We love all types of educational apps, but Ansel & Clair: Paul Revere’s Ride caught my eye in particular as it features one of my favourite subjects in school, American History. The multi-award winning app is a fully interactive History lesson (as aside from an ebook) that teaches key points in the American Revolution. The American History app uses two characters (Ansel and Clair) who meet Paul Revere (a famous American Patriot) who sets them off on a epic quest around Boston during the revolution.
The app starts off with a brief introduction to the game, and goes straight in to an interactive jigsaw of the 13 colonies, which shows off the excellent graphics and app playability. The graphics, music and storyflow are excellent, and what I really liked was that it used real historical artwork within the game space. I also liked how they used the player as a integral part of history rather than just looking in from above (a la ebook). This is great for student immersion and engagement.
Some segments of the game are followed by multiple choice questions that support learning, and it has lots of excellent mini-games that are not only fun to play, but have relevance to the story (throwing tea at sharks was a nice touch!). The game also uses a camera for players to capture the key events and characters, and a Travel Log where players can look back on their photos. This is a nice technique for focusing on important learning events. I also really liked the ‘Who’s Who Photo Booth’ feature which allows players to keep up to date with who each character is by reading short, snappy biographies.
Some of the features we liked in particular in ‘Ansel and Clair’s Ride with Paul Revere’:
- Integrated ”touch and drag” locator to see maps of key locations like Paul Revere’s House, Boston Tea Party site, and the Town of Concord.
- Mini-games that explained concepts such as Boston Tea Party and No Taxation without Representation, the 13 colonies jigsaw and “Help Samuel Prescott Escape” maze.
- Licensed historical artwork of Paul Revere and others from museums
- Rebus puzzles popular at the time of the American Revolution
- Original, period appropriate American tunes
- “Who’s Who Photo booth” reinforces learning with short, fun biographies
- Pop-up quizzes
- Touch and drag camera to take 15 spectacular photos of key events, places and people such as the Boston Tea Party, Old North Church, John Hancock
The app is available on iTunes for $4.99 for iPad 2 and later.
Check out this video that shows off some of the best bits of the app: