An exploration of the brain with a fun hero named Ned, this app for kids ages 7-11 is exceptional. It is great for both teaching about and inspiring a love of biological science in curious youngsters. Not many non-fiction books (in digital or print) can capture a child's imagination like this new title from Kizoom Labs. It includes detailed explanations, all narrated and including a glossary of scientific terms, making this app especially useful in academic settings. Light interactive & animated elements are fun and mostly informative, but not essential to enjoying or understanding the story.
I first discovered this app during the KickStarter campaign to support its creation. My 6 year old boy was obsessed with Ned after seeing a sample of the cartoon illustrations in a promotional email I received. I even relented and let him spend $10 of his own money on the campaign to make sure Ned got funded. When we got the app, my son was delighted. He did suggest that the app be more animated and interactive in the future, but he also suggested a series of TV shows, action figures, films & fruit-snacks so I wouldn't want to put too much pressure on Kizoom to take my 1st graders' advice too seriously.
Upon opening the app, users will see that it is well crafted to teach about the basic structures of the human brain in a way that makes science more interesting for young learners. The story begins by exploring the brain of a human child, named Sophie. Each page includes a series of icons that drop down with information for a deeper understanding of Neurons, Parts of the Brain and how the brain functions to sense things like pain. The info in this section doesn't change with each page, however. It would be a nice addition to see more scientific information tucked into the menus for further exploration of the acadmic subject.
The book app allows young readers to explore in "Read to Me" or "Read Myself" mode, making this title accessible to young scientists at every reading level. A nice page guide and other useful settings make navigating the title very intuitive. While this is an exceptional learning app, there are a few improvements that could be made to the digital presentation. In particular, the app is locked for orientation in a way that can make it difficult to read with the standard cover orientation of the iPad. I would also strongly encourage the addition of highlighting as narrated, for both younger and struggling older readers. This enhances early literacy and also keeps young readers engaged with both text and interactive features within a book app.
Overall, this title is solidly made, scientifically accurate and an essential download for any non-fiction digital library about the natural world. It is an exceptional non-fiction science title that I hope will become a digital series about personable little characters like Ned. By featuring deeply engaging and educational content, Ned the Neuron creates a world that every little scientist will want to read and explore. This approach to engaging children in biological science as a hybrid of non-fiction and fictional adventure in a digital context is cutting edge and so exciting ... plus Ned is downright cute. Highly Recommended!
Note to readers: This review was expedited by the developer for a fee. The content of the rating/review is the same, but timing of publication has been prioritized.
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Erica Warp/Andy Warner
18 - 22 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 10
English • Spanish •German •
The Adventures of Ned the Neuron introduces kids to the most exciting scientific subject of our time - the BRAIN! – with fun characters, story and activities. Ned the Neuron is a cartwheel-loving, action-oriented young brain cell training to work in the motor cortex of the brain. He and his friends, Stella, G, and Bernard must solve a mystery about the nervous system to save the day and stay outside and play!
-34 pages of full color story
-Read to Me function with voiceover and soundtrack
-Interactive educational diagrams integrated into the story
-Three mini-games exploring the science
-Over 30 concepts about the nervous system introduced
-No in App purchases or third party ads
The Adventures of Ned the Neuron was designed with kids ages 7-11 in mind, but it is fun and educational for adults as well!