These five awesome apps chart European History — from the Roman Empire through World War II — and are stacked with loads of helpful features. While students will most likely not grow up to be a stand-up philosopher or discover first hand that it’s “good to be king,” they can get closer to understanding the lineage of Europe through historical context as provided by these apps.
Virtual History ROMA ($8.99 iPad)
This app provides insight into Roman civilization. Its 3D imagery takes the user on an amazing journey through Rome, both past and present. An in-depth study of the origins of Rome; its conquests and fall; extraordinary engineering feats achieved by the Romans; and everything about their art, wars and public spectacles are included in the educational content of this app. Maps and introductory data sheets support the information that is provided. “Bubble view” technology makes this app one with outstanding graphics that provides an engaging experience for students as they virtually explore the city of Rome. The story of the greatest civilization that ruled the world is told beautifully in this app.
Curated by Julene Reed
Knights and Castles ($1.99 Android)
Encyclopedia Britannica has many apps for mobile devices geared at teaching children about important topics in social studies and science. Upper elementary schoolers looking to explore history will love Knights and Castles. This comprehensive resource includes articles, games, quizzes and multimedia that support children as they dig into history. This app contains eight traditional encyclopedia articles on topics including “History of Castles,” “Life as a Knight” and “The Middle Ages.” Each article has images with captions and bold words that children can tap to see the definition. There are dozens of pictures and videos for elementary school students to explore, as well as an interactive map.
Curated by Monica Burns
World War I for iPhone ($1.99 iPhone)
This app breaks information into chapters. WWI examines the influential countries, leaders, causes and ramifications of the war. The great thing about this app is that it doesn’t just view history has a static list of facts, but instead as a diorama. It really provides a multidimensional experience combining both human with a multitude of other contributing factors. The app includes embedded videos, a comprehensive timeline, a glossary and a collection of quotations and trivia.
Curated by Brett Baker
World War II Interactive ($4.99 iPad)
The story of World War II is divided into nine periods in this app, each with engaging videos, speeches, photos and detailed information. The historical content is incredible; it provides students with a detailed overview of the war beginning with its roots in 1918, continuing throughout the years of the war and concluding with the aftermath in 1945. There is an extensive timeline provided for each of the nine periods that are highlighted in this app. Students can access information and media through the nine time periods displayed on the screen or through the menu along the top of the screen. There is an index of events, multimedia, people, weapons and miscellany that is easily accessible. This app is a great resource of information for students who are studying this time period, the events that took place during WWII, the reasons for the war and its consequences. Both youth and adults alike will enjoy the interactivity of this app as they learn details about World War II.
Curated by Julene Reed
World History ($4.20 Android)
This app can be used as a content tool or a reference tool. Students could simply be assigned a particular time frame and be asked to learn the major events from that era, or they could use the app to reference when certain events took place. The app opens to the timeline and you can scroll left and right along the top to move on the timeline. Swiping up and down shows additional events. The small calendar icon in the bottom right allows you to jump ahead by year, decade, century or millennium. Tapping on a picture or event enlarges it a bit and double tapping on an event opens the article about that event. When the article is displayed, additional related topics are shown along the bottom of the screen.
Curated by Keith George