My favorite definition of the word "geography" comes from Wikipedia:

[A]n all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities—not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be.”

It sounds so exotic—and exciting! Just as history studies the past/present of people and cultures, in the same way geography studies the past/present of places. A keen, early interest in geography can later lead to a lucrative and rewarding career as a geologist, professor, cartographer (map-maker), climatologist, scientist/researcher and many other professions. These free geography apps can be an invaluable aid in awakening students to a deeper appreciation and understanding of geography.

1. Learn World Geography

Learn World Geography was created by twin testing powerhouses, Kaplan and The Princeton Review, with plenty of help from Columbia and Yale cognitive scientists. The app uses cognitive science techniques in the form of flashcards to help students grasp, memorize and apply geography facts quickly and easily. There are more than 1,000 flashcards covering topics from maps to flags to capitals to currencies.

2. Geography Learning Game

This great app for Android takes a different approach to learning world geography, offering a series of fun games and quizzes to aid in comprehension and memorization. Map options include physical maps, political maps and more. The app is also multi-lingual.

3. Easy Atlas

Easy Atlas is an interactive, high-definition (HD) app with extensive features, including zoom control, a control pad that moves the map on the screen and a world fact database for each country (courtesy of the CIA). Facts include population information, language, religion, age, ethnicity and even national anthem details for each country.

4. World Atlas

World Atlas has more than 260 countries and a useful quiz feature to help students learn. One of the most fun features is the new addition of Olympics facts and data by country. The app includes both satellite and street maps, current weather and local time, country demographics and a search mode.

5. Google Earth

Google Earth is one of the most popular apps for world geography teachers striving to help students put a one-dimensional image together with a real place as it comes to life. Images include earthquakes-in-progress, businesses and buildings, natural wonders, country borders and much more.

6. Quakes/Earthquakes

Both Quakes and Earthquakes, for iTunes and Android, respectively, give students (and teachers!) the chance to see earthquakes in action. With notifications to alert users when an earthquake has begun, all U.S. earthquake data for both apps comes straight from earthquake.gov, the official U.S. Earthquake Hazards Program. Students can view seismic maps, learn about intensity ratings and more.

7. Planet Geo

Planet Geo has six different games in varying levels of difficulty so kids ages four and up will find perfect age-appropriate content. There are also 17 country puzzles and special notations for World Heritage Sites. The app also has a flag game, a continents game, flashcards and more.

8. Brain Café Geo Quiz

This app comes in both a free and a paid version (the paid version is ad-free). Quizzes teach you about Planet Earth in a way that is both entertaining and educational. Quiz material spans cities, countries, land masses, bodies of water, highest and lowest spots, warmest and coldest spots and more.

9. Globe

This neat, free iOS app shows a 3-D globe and encourages kids to rotate the globe to learn more about each region and find countries. It also includes an integration with Wikipedia that provides a wealth of geographic information at the tap on the screen. Globe scores big points for its simple interface and easy-to-use features.

 

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