Best Apps for Teaching & Learning – American Association of School Librarians

The AASL Best Apps for Teaching & Learning Committee reviewed hundreds of apps and is delighted to share the first list of 25 honorees.  The selected apps offer an innovative and engaging learning experience for students; provide opportunities for deep inquiry, critical thinking, and content creation. We hope educators will use this and future lists to inspire, engage and integrate mobile technology in the library and classroom. “Teachers can be assured that the apps selected by the committee have stood up to a rigorous evaluation process and have been ‘road-tested’ by highly qualified school librarians,” said AASL President Susan Ballard. “In their inaugural year, the committee has done an exceptional job of identifying outstanding resources that can be used to inform instruction, develop enthusiastic, engaged students and produce learning dividends.

Academics Choice Smart Media Award

Academics’ Choice is the only international awards company designed to bring increased recognition to publishers, manufacturers, independent authors and developers that aim to stimulate cognitive development of the mind. A panel of highly qualified academics, parents, teachers, homeschoolers and children evaluate products based on educational benefits such as higher-order thinking skills, character building, creative play, durability and originality. Only the genuine “mind-builders” are recognized with the coveted Academics’ Choice Award™.

Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa is a recipient of the Prestigious Mom’s Choice Awards

The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) is an international awards program that recognizes authors, inventors, companies, parents and others for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling author, Priscilla Dunstan, creator of the Dunstan Baby Language; Patricia Rossi, host of NBC’s Manners Minute; Dr. Letitia S. Wright, D.C., host of the Wright PlaceTM TV Show; and Catherine Witcher, M.Ed., special needs expert and founder of Precision Education, Inc.

Dr. Toy’s Top 10 Tech Products of 2011

For nearly twenty five years, Dr. Toy has been awarding children’s products her seals of approval. These items have distinguished themselves over other products in quality and excellence, providing both lasting value and lasting learning. And of course, providing lasting fun



Tillywig Toy Awards – Brain Child Award

To be selected as a Tillywig award winner, a product must have high entertainment and/or educational value. Toys and games selected for a Brain Child Award are exciting products that energize the mind while seamlessly blending fun and learning. Tillywig’s awards program provides retail buyers, news media, parents and consumers with information and reviews of superior children’s products available in today’s marketplace.


Parent’s Choice Award – Recommended Product

The Parents’ Choice Awards program honors the best material for children: books, toys, music and storytelling, magazines, software, videogames, television and websites. Parents’ Choice Foundation’s panels of educators, scientists, performing artists, librarians, parents and, yes, kids themselves, identify the very best products for children of different ages and backgrounds, and of varied skill and interest levels.  The Parents’ Choice Awards evaluation process is a lengthy and confidential one

Dr. Toy’s Top 100 Children’s Products of 2011

Dr. Toy spends many months carefully reviewing products. She visits stores, talks to children, parents and teachers, and to many people in the industry. She searches not only for the new toy that will sell big, but also those products that offer children durability, value, and many extra qualities that are so important.

National Parenting Center – Seal of Approval

The program is an independent testing procedure conducted to judge a variety of children products. The testing involves a multi-step process where parents, children, and educators are given the opportunity to examine a variety of products. Participants fill out questionnaires for each product they test, and results are based on both statistic and comments received.

Winner of a Kids First Endorsement – Coalition for Quality Media

This coalition is a collaboration of more than 100,000 concerned adults. To receive a Kids First endorsement, the products are reviewed by adult juries and children juries. Many juries are conducted at schools or day care facilities where the populations represent many ethnic groups, multiple geographic regions and from urban, sub-urban and rural areas.

Creative Child Magazine’s 2011 Media of the Year Award

Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa wins Creative Child Magazine’s 2011 Media of the Year Award

Newspapers and Magazines

USA Today

“This is one of the best educational apps for kids on the iPad. Playing this app is like playing a deep edutainment computer game. The story is supported by audio, so even kids who can’t yet read can enjoy the game. This is a hidden gem in the iTunes store and is perfect for kids ages 4-10.”

iPad App for Kids for Dummies

25 Fun (and Educational!) Games, Sites and Apps for Kids

For kids, playing these games is a cool pastime; for parents, it’s another way to get kids to exercise their learning muscles….The app takes full advantage of iPad technology — audio, video, the touchscreen, “tilt the iPad” games, and so on.

Chicago Sun Times

This is one of the best educational apps for kids on the iPad. Playing this app is like playing a deep edutainment computer game. Kids will love playing with Ansel in the lovely African scenes. The story is supported by audio, so even kids who can’t yet read can enjoy the game. It is also accompanied by a delightful African-themed musical score. This is a hidden gem in the iTunes store and is perfect for kids ages 4-10. Rated 4 STARS (out of 4)

The Washington Times

You had better believe the iPad can act as a portable edutainment center, and this continental adventure starring a pair of space aliens offers the perfect example.

Educator Reviews

Great iPad Apps for Kids

5 Stars – Stunning interactive geography and animal science game.

Top 10 Apps for Social Studies

Ansel the alien and Clair the robot are at it again. But it’s not dinosaurs they’re studying this time–it’s Africa! Great for kids ages 4 and up, this app follows the characters on a trip to Africa. Their spaceship has come apart and been scattered across several different regions of the continent. As they try to piece their ship back together, they learn about each region’s ecosystems and culture. Fun activities and games add to the enjoyment of the adventure. Hopefully Ansel and Clair will explore the other continents in future apps.

Global Learning Apps

In 2013, more people will access the Internet on their mobile devices than on desktops or laptops. In what has become an annual tradition, we are posting some of our favorite apps for learning.

Users won’t even realize that learning is actually happening.  Our motto that we try to abide by, ‘Gaming for a Reason,’ is certainly met… Who knew that in one simple download that my student(s) or child could travel the world, learn to tell time, and develop a wide range of science and social studies skills.  The integration of mobile learning to any home or school setting is truly effective!

Teachers with Apps

INCREDIBLE app that explores and teaches the wonders of Africa via two endearing extraterrestrial characters. This FIVE STAR educational app will keep your kids engaged for hours!…The students gave the app an initial road-test last week and I haven’t been able to get them off since!

iPad Curriculum

One of the BEST apps I have seen. I am truly amazed.


Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa is one of those rare joys that combines beautiful graphics and engaging gameplay with educational content. The app takes full advantage of iPad technology — audio, video, the touchscreen, ‘tilt the iPad’ games, and so on. Kids have ample instructions on how to proceed, but it’s open-ended enough for them to have their own way of interacting with the content. Lots to explore here.

iApps for Teachers

Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa is the reason parents let their children play with their iPads, and why teachers buy iPads for their classroom. Cognitive Kid, Inc. has done an amazing job in creating an app that is fun, and educational for any age. Every teacher, or parent with a iPad should own Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa. Priced at $ 4.99 you WILL get your money’s worth, and more…

Developing Education

Ansel and Clair is multi-modal, self-directed, problem focused, progressive and immersive.  Students can learn about different areas with each experience using the app, and can go back to review or analyze a concept in further depth. This app also scales beautifully to the ability level of the user, engaging children along a continuum, and would be able to work with many cross-curricular ties. I want to see Ansel and Clair in the top 10 in the education app store, I believe it is that exceptional an app.

CommonSense Media

A hidden gem! This magnificent-looking app takes kids on a magical learning adventure through Africa.

Blogs And Reviews

The Dirty t Shirt

Anything that is educational is always a plus in my book and the amount of depth that this app goes into is a perfect addition to our homeschooling needs, and my daughter will definitely be using it all the time. She has even asked if she can take it to Montana in the car when we move. I know it will keep her occupied for awhile and for that I am thankful! I HIGHLY recommend the amazing app – Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa – to EVERYONE who wants to share a little piece of the world with their children. Highly engaging and a lot of fun!


‘Ansel & Clair’s Adventure in Africa’ is a mind-blowing app. A full-featured animated story of characters from outer space that come to Earth to explore and learn. And you go along learning as well. A truly rich application with endless content to learn from.




What really held our testers interest was the interactivity offered by the app. They enjoyed dragging the camera over the screen to take pictures of animals. Further special effects such as a sand storm blowing across the screen that needs to be wiped away drew cries of delight. Extra puzzles that involved tilting the iPad to navigate the maze to collect artifacts in the Pyramid, changing the time on the clock to view the Sahara during the day and night, and matching fur balls to the right animals also proved winners.

My Appinions

Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa by Cognitive Kid, Inc (4.99) is packed with so much quality, interactive content. While checking it over, I couldn’t find any particular areas that the developers cut corners on. Everything from the voice overs to the story to the interactive nature and fact-filled script is top notch.

TC Geeks

This game is one of the best, if not the best learning application for kids you will find on the iPad. Your kids will love playing this edutainment app. This is a hidden pearl in the iTunes store.

Giggle Apps

This is an app highly recommended for both grade school classrooms as well as home use, and I suspect older kids and adults will sneak off and to play this game themselves there is so much to offer at any age group. This app’s approach to learning is fantastic, creative, and very immersive. I am very excited to see such apps be developed, I wish learning tools such as this were available when I was a child.

If you have an iPad and kids, you are going to want to know about this cool new app. If you don’t, seriously, consider getting a refurb, it’s worth every penny and then some.  And then consider Ansel and Clair for your very first app. This is the organic apples and almond butter of iPad apps.

Everything looks and runs like a drea

Ansel & Clair’s Adventure’s in Africa is a rich, layered educational app. There is so much content and meat on this one that it’s hard to know where to begin. The graphics in Ansel & Clair’s Adventures are of extremely high quality.

The iPad Fan

This is an app that truly utilizes all the things great about the iPad…it’s educational, fun, engaging, and magical. This is truly one of the most amazing apps for kids and education I’ve come across. It has so many features that one simply can not do it justice in a review. It’s easily worth the price, and I honestly hope we see the developers continue the other continents, and continue to press the boundaries of what these type of apps should be. Perfectly brilliant!

Tech Tools 4 Mom

Great educational app that does keep a child’s attention.  Being the little sponges they are, the information is presented in such a way that they seem to immerse themselves into the app and come away remembering a lot of what they hear and see.  Overall, an excellent and well developed app that children of different ages will love.


Your kids will love tagging along on Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa.  Cognitive Kid, Inc, iPad-only, is packed with so much quality edutainment that it’s a bit hard to know where to begin. This app may seem a tad pricey at first glance, but it’s worth every penny and covers loads of topics valuable to a child’s education and general knowledge. *****

Go Graham Go

Ansel and Clair’s Adventures in Africa is a new app by Cognitive Kids that will leave even the parents wanting to play along.  No kidding.  I am just as engrossed in this new iPad app as Graham.  First of all, we have never owned an iPad app that operates and interacts quite like this one.  It truly is seamless in the way it integrates curriculum (science, geography, history and concepts)….Honestly, for $4.99 you are getting a bargain in my opinion.  I would easily pay more for this iPad app and that is saying a lot (I’m pretty cheap).

The iPad Fan

This is truly one of the most amazing apps for kids and education I’ve come across. It has so many features that one simply can not do it justice in a review. It’s easily worth the price, and I honestly hope we see the developers continue the other continents, and continue to press the boundaries of what these type of apps should be. Perfectly brilliant!

I had to police her (daughter’s) time on this app, as she didn’t want to put it down.  But it still has me secretly hoping that Ansel and Clair will have future missions to explore the other continents and, therefore, putting the entire world at her fingertips.

iTunes Features

Social Studies Apps

Ansel & Clair’s Adventures in Africa Featured as a Demo App in Apple Retail Stores