This is the second in a series of Friday posts about apps or websites I find interesting, useful, and maybe even fun. I hope you will return here often to see what I am sharing and to perhaps share YOUR ideas as a comment or in an email to me.
Fotopedia Heritage is a free app that provides incredible photographs of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This app provides easy access to about 25,000 high quality images for 4000 sites around the world (and growing). These sites include places as diverse as Ethiopia, Yellowstone, and Paris. Images highlight historical places, natural beauty, animals and more. Each image is linked to a map and to a description from UNESCO as well as some additional information from Wikipedia about that site.
Images can be explored randomly, via location on a map, or a “bread-crumbs like search which you can see on the bottom of the screenshot below. Images can be saved as favorites within the app so you can easily share specific images at a later time. You can also share images via Twitter, Email or Facebook or save an image as wallpaper. Since you can email the images that also means you can move them to other places and other apps or software tools.
What an easy way to explore curricular topics like biomes, landforms, architecture, specific locales and more. Imagine asking students to find 5 images that are similar in some way and then have them share their slideshow (a feature of this app) and have other students figure out how the images are alike. Use the app’s images as writing or thinking prompts, as engaging “bell ringers” (like using the last 5 minutes of a class to build a class list of adjectives based on an image) or to depict a setting or theme for a piece of literature. Many of the images seem to just scream “write poetry about me!”. Use the map interface to explore geographical similarities or differences or the shuffle feature to create a random collection of images and then ask students to link them in some way in a piece of art or a writing assignment.
A WARNING (or two):
One setting in this app I would certainly want to disable via the settings menu within the app is the “shake to shuffle” option. I just don’t think shaking an iPad to do ANYTHING is a good idea… I can just imagine shaking the iPad and it shaking itself right out of my hands!
This app is rated 12+ for the possibility of nudity. While I have not seen any nudity on this title, it is possible there could be nudity. Additionally, the links which can be followed by tapping on a photographer’s name in the bottom right corner of each image will lead to their portfolio (or their Flickr account) and potentially a “problematic” image. So, while I cannot guarantee this is 100% non-objectionable, I CAN say I have not yet found images which were inappropriate. If you are worried about this potential, you can certainly use the save and share features to pre-select images for students.
This app falls into the category of image sources and information/research. There are other titles by Fotopedia and while I cannot recommend them all, I have used Fotopedia’s Wild Friends (animals of Europe), China, and National Parks and they are also beautiful and seem appropriate for classroom use.
Free (when posted on 8/31/2012)
Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later