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This article was published on February 4, 2015


This stunning app will make you wish all textbooks were on an iPad

This stunning app will make you wish all textbooks were on an iPad


Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

When I say textbook, you probably think something along the lines of “boring” or “meh,” but a new app called Earth, A Primer for iOS brings boring old geology textbooks into the addictive, interactive future.

The app is a beautiful way to explore the world and how it came to be. The app takes the user through exploring the Earth’s interior (think the core, volcanoes and crust), the surface, water and biomes.

earth

Each section is broken up into beautiful interactive chapters, where the user is guided through explainers of how each part of the planet works in ways that are absolutely more engaging than any textbook I’ve ever read.

Within a few moments I was captivated and lost myself in exploring the entire app and learning everything before I stopped. Being able to interact with a model for yourself to see how something like a sand dune is formed is so much more engaging than looking at a diagram on paper.

sand

Earth, A Primer was built by Chaim Gingold who is known for his work on Spore, a game where you get to be a god and explore the development of your own civilization.

Gingold says that the app was in development for over three years and that he “set out to reimagine digital books as deeply interactive experiences brought to life via simulation and appealing visuals.”

lava

Using the app gave me something of an epiphany; I want every book to be this awesome. If everything was this interactive and could be described in a way that demonstrated what was happening to me, I would have learnt so much more in science class.

rainshadow

There’s no reason apps can’t be; with the power we’ve already got available to us in iPads and other tablets it’s only a matter of getting people to build the right software. Education just needs people with Gingold’s level of attention to detail, design and programming skills to build more.

Earth, A Primer is available today in the iOS App Store for $10. It’s absolutely worth every cent.

Earth, A Primer [iOS]