Geography is cool, whatever the kids say. In fact, the only thing cooler is augmented reality. So what if I told you there was a gadget that combined these two cool things into one?! It’s called the Orboot, and it actually looks like it would be a lot of fun, provided your classroom is nice enough to have an iPad or two lying around.
Orboot is a special 10-inch globe and companion app (iOS or Android) that lets kids check out the world and do little activities in a little AR environment. Sure, you could just have an app with a globe in it, but that’s boring. Seriously. Having a real globe is a great idea, and turns it into a hands-on activity rather than yet another swipe-fest.
The symbols on the globe pop up into things like stories, animals and maps, with which kids can interact in various ways. Feed an elephant different things to find out what they like. Check out the different routes up Mount Everest. Hear a story told by someone from Kenya or China. That sort of thing. I can picture my nephews having a blast with it, or fifth-graders taking turns checking out the countries their parents are from.
The company that makes it is called Play Shifu, a startup from grads of Stanford and the Indian Institute of Technology. It has a handful of other AR products, but the Orboot globe is definitely the most versatile of them.
Play Shifu took to Kickstarter to get the Orboot started, and hit their $15,000 goal in four days. Stretch goals are on the way, and you can get a globe with all 8 lesson categories for $35 right now, which to me sounds like a pretty good deal. Better yet, get 2 for $65 and donate one to your kid’s school.