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Review: ‘DK The Human Body’ for the iPad

When it comes to science topics, my feeling is, the more visuals the better. If some of them are videos, I’m even happier. DK The Human Body includes a few of those, and some simulations. Consider projecting these on a big screen in front of your classroom; in addition to being enthralled, your students are bound to gain a new understanding of body processes.

Screen shots from 'DK The Human Body App'

Title: DK The Human Body
: Steve Parker
Illustrator: Medi-Motion
Developed by: Dorling Kindersley Ltd
Platform: iOS requires 4.0 or later; iPad exclusive
Version: 1.0
Price: $13.99

Gr 7 Up-DK does know how to dazzle, doesn’t it? Sharp, detailed illustrations (numbering more than 270), look realer than real against the glowing white background. Arranged by major systems (young viewers will undoubtedly head straight for the reproductive), The Human Body is good for big-picture anatomy instruction and excellent for memorization–labels can be turned off so that viewers can test their memories. An explanation of the app’s structure is available from any screen and navigation is reasonably straightforward.

But does this app take full advantage of the iPad’s capabilities? The four animated videos and limited number of 3-D views feel a bit sparse, but the simulations of a beating heart, breathing lungs, and neuronal impulse, which vibrate the iPad’s haptic screen in time with sound effects, are fascinating and may act as treasures to lure kids into and through the app.

Zooming in on images goes only so far and without any photography the app sometimes gives the appearance of one big labeled diagram; clicking on labels yields only short descriptive phrases. This is a product with lots of appeal, but ultimately, it just doesn’t go as far or as deep as one might like.–Paula Willey, Pink Me