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Apps Analysis

By Stefan Dubowski

Hoopa City

The Hoopa City app logo, featuring a hippo looking at a play city.

If you can dream it, you can build it with Hoopa City — an app that helps budding urban planners develop their problem-solving skills and spatial awareness. Students (six to eight years old) construct cities, beach resorts, commercial strips and a variety of other landscapes by using virtual bricks, asphalt, water and a range of other materials they’d like to try. Players combine these to come up with different structures; experimentation is a must! No need to complete builds in one go — the autosave feature allows you to pick up where you left off and the Building Glossary & Guide keeps track of all creations, including instructions on how to recreate each. You might even want to try this game, too. It’s a fun one!

DEVICE: Apple, Android
SOURCE: iTunes, Google Play ($3.99)
RATING: 4+; Everyone

Explain Everything Interactive Whiteboard

The 'Explain Everything Interactive Whiteboard' logo, a lightbulb graphic.

A tool for middle and high school students who want to express ideas visually. This app allows users to develop presentations with pictures, drawings, annotated PDFs, audio and video and other digital elements. Students can share their projects on YouTube or Vimeo, or upload presentations to the Explain Everything Cloud portal. Access to all features (there are a lot!) is free for the first 30 days. After that, users face a relatively hefty subscription fee (up to US$49.99 per year) to continue with the full-fledged version. Students can use the free version once the trial period is over but they won’t get all the features.

DEVICE: Apple, Android
SOURCE: iTunes, Google Play (free trial)
RATING: 4+; Everyone

Cleanopolis VR

The 'Cleanopolis VR' logo, a cartoon superhero with a dog.

In the city of Cleanopolis, Captain Clean is wiping out greenhouse gas pollutants for good. Players aged eight to 12 do their part by diving into mini-games that, for instance, help propel wind turbines and keep energy-hogging appliances from leaving factories. Students can also take short quizzes to learn how their carbon footprints affect the environment, and what they can do in their everyday lives to improve them. The app helps establish a basic understanding of climate change, which will receive more in-depth coverage later in Ontario’s Grade 10 science curriculum. Don 3D glasses for a more eye-popping experience!

DEVICE: Apple, Android
SOURCE: iTunes, Google Play (free)
RATING: 4+; Everyone