The Disney American Presidents, iPad app, turns American History into something that is fun for kids to learn. This iPad Education app tosses out the dull and dreaded history lesson and replaces it with an interesting, Disney-style interactive tour. This virtual tour leads kids through an “Unofficial Oval Office Scrapbook.” It is here that kids will get an up close and personal look at the 44 Presidents of the United States of America.
They will discover each president’s politically defining role in American History as well. Kids will see and hear the “good, the bad, and the not-so-good” surrounding each president’s time in the Oval Office. In addition to page spreads for each president, there is a photo gallery chart. This chart includes a summary for each of the 8 historical eras. But what makes this Education app so great is that it gives historically accurate information through fun graphics, animations, videos, and time-appropriate music. All this together makes Disney American Presidents a fun learning experience that kids are sure to love and relate to.
Without missing a beat, Disney American Presidents transports you from the White House lawn right to the desk of the Oval Office for an intriguing peek into the 88 pages of the “Unofficial Oval Office Scrapbook.” This is where you’ll find a 2 page spread for each president.
And what is on that 2 page spread you may ask?
* An official presidential photo, with the president’s full name, lifespan, and signature (which when tapped on activates an authentic signature animation)
* An Era icon giving a historical summary for the time period of that president’s term (Era 1 is known as the Revolution and The New Nation: 1754-1820′s, all the way through to Era 8 — which is the Contemporary United States: 1968-Present)
* 3 different animation fact buttons (factoids) for relevant, interesting or fun facts about that specific president
* A tasseled bookmark with facts on: time Served, Era, Party Vice President, and Birth State
* 1 Sound Bite (with a quote from the president delivered by a narrator or (in later times) a quote heard in the president’s own voice
* A fun and informative video profile (2-6+ mins each) to watch summarizing his time in office, world affairs, political philosophy, greatest achievements, as well as failures.
How about some fun and interesting presidential facts?
* 1st President (George Washington, 1789-1797) designed his soldiers’ uniforms worn in the French and Indian War
* 25th president (William McKinley, 1897-1901) was the first president to ride in a car
* 30th president (Calvin Coolidge, 1923-1929) had the first White House community Christmas tree
* 41st president (George H. W. Bush, 1989-1993) was head of the CIA for a year — and during WWII he was the youngest fighter pilot (only a teenager at the time)
As appealing, engaging and fun as this iPad Education app is, Disney American Presidents is not a “fluff” app. There is real substance here for real educational value. Disney claims it “Maps to Core Curriculum Standards for grades 3-8.” The bulk of the learning is found in the individual video profiles. There are 2+ hours of historical accuracy to watch, but these videos won’t put your kids to sleep. Disney American Presidents provides enough in-depth information with just the right amount of humor and animation to keep your child’s attention. Along with some silly personal facts, the topics covered are key issues and decisions made during each president’s term and the legacy each has left behind. As I’ve said, there appears to be real substance to this Education app with careful attention given to its authenticity and accuracy. Information is provided by historical experts, presidential historians from the Library of Congress and Smithsonian, and White House insiders and correspondences.
As great as I think the content and presentation are in the Disney American Presidents, there are a couple of things that could improve, like when the factoids are activated, they disappear too quickly not giving the young reader enough time to comfortably read nor take in the tidbits of information provided. The other issue I had was with the page turning. I experienced a laggy response many times when swiping to turn pages, so you have to swipe long and deliberately to turn the pages. At times it was frustrating. Also, if you swipe a long left-to-right drag, you’ll pull out the “presidential chart” (Presidents Page). That will allow you to randomly select the presidents you want to study, as well as keep track of already viewed presidents. If you are unsure of what to do (as I was initially), Disney American Presidents does provide a nice info graphic to show you how to get around in the application.
Overall, I think Disney American Presidents packs in a ton credible information about the role that our presidential leaders have played in our nation’s political history. It also has fun cartoon graphics, animations and videos to take the learning capacity to a whole new level. Disney American Presidents (iPad app) proves that learning can be fun.