Hi everyone, Chic Dad here. You may remember me from my Father’s Day tech gift guide; but since Erika and I are just a few short months from being married, we thought why not add one more thing to our plate and add a Dad and Technology section to Chic Shopper Chick? So here we are, excepting a few-week-long periods in September, you’ll start to hear more from me with posts on the technology we love and use every day in our house. From iPads and iPhones to our Motorola Xoom, Wii, FitBits, and more, ours is a family that loves its technology.
From Audrey Grace dancing to music on Spotify to Banks racing around on Mario Kart for his Nintendo 3DS, to Erika and I on the tablets and phones, technology is part of who we are and what we do. Because it’s so core to our lives, we’re always on the lookout for the new gadgets, apps, tech-based toys and learning opportunities. My goal is to help you sift through everything that’s out there to find the best technology for you and your family. I’ll be reviewing and sharing our experiences about the different new technology, apps, games and toys to hopefully help you decide what to pick and what to skip. So without further ado, let’s get started…
What? Wonders of the Universe iPad app / $6.99 / Apple AppStore / BBC & Discovery Channel
What’s Chic? 20 hours of video, stunning photos of the universe, easy-to-understand and beautifully-shot video explanations
What’s Weak? Not much, but if I had to find one, its lack of audience focus makes content tough on kids and leaves adults wanting more
Wonders of the Universe
The new iPad app, Wonders of the Universe, delivers a self-guided tour through our Universe including our solar system, galaxy and beyond. It’s the follow up to the very successful BBC/Discovery Channel mini-series of the same name. Professor Brian Cox returns to guide us through the wonders of the universe, from the sub-atomic to the galactic. The app has over 20 hours of videos and hundreds of images taken of the cosmos that accompany text that explains everything from sub atomic particles to the largest black holes to the beginning of the universe and time itself. Think of it as the space version of the BBC’s The Planet with you in the driver’s seat. The app is available in the iTunes App Store and costs $6.99.
What I love about this app is that it makes space and the concept of our universe accessible and manageable. By breaking out each piece of the puzzle, and then drilling down in greater detail to specific topics it puts the user in control of where and how much time is spent with each subject. Fascinated by nebulae but not sub atomic particles? No problem, get the overview on the quarks and then go nuts learning all about the different nebulae in our galaxy. It’s also easy to pick up and put down. So you can learn a bit about the Andromeda galaxy and then move on to something else.
The content itself is excellent as well. Each video snippet is a compelling nugget of information and Professor Cox, located in various settings to demonstrate his points, is engaging and compelling. He’s like the Mac persona if Bill Nye was the PC Science Guy. Combine those video vignette with amazing captures from space and thoughtful motion-graphic demonstrations, and you have a powerful new way for anyone to grasp the enormity and beauty of the universe we live in.
What’s chic about his app is that it’s packed with fascinating photos and videos that are divided up into bite-sized chunks of information, perfect for shorter attention spans of young minds. And by covering a topic as expansive as the universe there is no shortage of interesting topics to dive into for yourself and for your kids. We have a five and six year old, and we’ve watched some of the videos together. It’s great for inspiring the awe and curiosity that makes learning a ton of fun. Plus it’s written in plain English, so it’s easy for even younger readers to work through.
The app is really well done; but if I had to nitpick here’s what I’d say: it’s not clear who this app is designed for. Is it for adults? Is it for kids? Is it for teenagers? The content kind of shoots for the middle, so you might find it a bit over the heads of younger kids, and also find it a bit lacking in detail for yourself or high school kids and up. The navigation is a bit tricky too. I’m an experienced iOS user and the multiple swiping, chapters and up/down motions got me turned around the first few times I used it.
Does the Chic Dad Recommend?
I do recommend! At $6.99 it’s expensive as far as apps go, but hey, anything that gets the kiddos interested and excited about science is a win in my book. The stunning photos and explanatory videos, compiled with the wide range of content make it a great primer to the mysteries of the universe and the budding astronaut in your home. If you’re looking to pique your kids’ interests in the cosmos this is a great place to start.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this app to review for free. All opinions are my own.