The Professor Garfield apps from Infinite Learning Lab, a popular non-profit foundation with a great website for kids content, is one of those free series that came out early in the launch of the iPad. I don't know how I managed to miss this exceptional set of titles. Recently, my 6 year old became a rather fluent reader and has been obsessed with the Garfield cartoon books from our local library.
So I decided to just search the app store for other "Garfield" content in the hopes of treating my 6-year old to something fun on Christmas morning. When I discovered the four-app series from Paws Inc. under the education category, and free, I was truly stunned. These four totally FREE apps provide such exceptional content about media literacy, cyber safety and other online issues that I feel a bit foolish to have missed them.
The app series is presented in simple comic strips starring America's favorite fat cat, Garfield, and his friends, but the content is anything but simple, explaining the complex role of media in our environment in a kid friendly way that young readers aged 6-10+ will want to read over and over.
This app, about different types of media in our environment, includes explanations and simple (but fun) interactive quizzes that teach youngsters to differentiate media based on it's "authorship, format, audience, content and purpose", making these apps appropriate for use with older readers, too. The apps include sound effects for the quiz (a chime when you get a right answer), but otherwise no sound or narration. The complex issues covered would be appropriate for older elementary kids and even fun for adolescents, especially reluctant readers.
The online version of this app can be watched by younger kids and is entirely animated & narrated without any text, so if this app turns out to be over a child's reading level, there is another option to view this useful teaching tool. The four-part series in app form includes this title about 'types of media' as well as topics about Cyberbullying, Online Safety and a unique approach to sifting 'Fact from Opinion' using online sources (video demo under 'Video' tab above is of this app).
These four apps are simple in their presentation, but very well-crafted and intuitive to navigate. You can find the other three apps under the 'Other Versions' tab above. Each title even includes interactive quizzes at the end, to enhance reading comprehension and decision making for kids about these essential critical thinking skills for the 21st century. Highly Recommended!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
8 - 12 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: No
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 6 - 10 +
Nermal is excited about a new TV program The Kool Kat Karl Show, but Garfield and Arlene aren’t so sure about the show’s messages. Karl endorses Sugar-Coated Sugar Blasts and tells his viewers that if they eat the super-sweet cereal, they will get big and strong. Dr. Nova helps Nermal deconstruct and analyze the messages he’s watching and also helps him learn about different forms of media. Nermal creates his own video about the importance of a healthy breakfast and broadcasts it on The Kool Kat Karl Show.
Through reading and interacting with the Try and Apply sections of this comic app, users will:
• understand the term media and be able to identify the various media they are exposed to in their daily lives
• become aware of the goals of the media they are viewing using the five core concepts: authorship, format, audience, content, and purpose
• learn how, as media producers, to construct a media message using the five core concepts: authorship, format, audience, content, and purpose
Professor Garfield's Infinite Learning Lab Apps are part of the Infinite Learning Lab, a new standards-based resource currently being developed by the Virginia Department of Education and the Professor Garfield Foundation. Software development and comic creation by 360KID. Information about other Professor Garfield's Infinite Learning Apps may be found at http://infinitelearninglab.org/mobile/