Daily iPad App: Looking Glass
Created by Project Comet, Looking Glass is an iPad app for children that's full of short videos about how things work or how they are made. The app ships with handful of videos for you to preview and over 100 are available via a monthly subscription. The subscription costs US$3.99 a month and provides you with 5 new videos every two weeks. Rather than releasing them all at once, the five clips are rolled out on a regular basis so kids can look forward to fresh new content.
The videos are short, about three to five minutes, and they cover a variety of topics that are cool to kids. One demo video shows how an ice cream sandwich is made and another video gives kids a glimpse into the world of RC model airplanes.
The videos are well-done for what they are. They are highlight videos meant for young children. They are colorful and lively, but are not a crash course in that particular subject. The ice cream sandwich video, for example, shows the process of making a commercial ice cream sandwich from the kitchen to an ice cream shop counter. There's no narration; it's straight video with music in the background. It reminds me of the TV series "How It's Made," but shorter and without commentary.
One drawback to the app is its lack of interactivity. It's educational TV for kids delivered via the iPad. The only tapping a child does is when they start and stop a video. The videos are probably best used as a springboard for discussion about a topic. I could see myself watching the ice cream video with my 4-year old and then taking her in the kitchen and making one ourselves.
The concept is interesting, though, and for $3.99 per month is very reasonably priced. You can grab the Looking Glass app from the App Store for free and check it out. An in-app purchase will let you sign-up for a subscription and you cancel it at any time.