March 4, 2015
Forget brochures and pamphlets — there’s a new way for kids to learn about animal extinction. The Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) has created an app called TailsUp! that will help get children more excited to learn about endangered species.
“We were challenged by the perception that an online and mobile app component to a wildlife conservation grant could be considered an oxymoron, but we were also realistic about the prevalent use of ‘screens’ by today’s young people,” says Gregg Oosterbaan, Member, AZA TailsUp! Creative Task Force, and Vice President, Technology Services, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.
TailsUp! is an app that is a charades type app created by AZA to get to the “bottom” of animal extinction.
“We know learning is embedded within the fun of playing the game: some animals are pretty easy to guess, but others are more unusual,” says Nette Pletcher, Director, Conservation Education at AZA. “This gives kids and parents an opportunity to learn about new animals and some fun facts about them, while also learning about the challenges the animals face in the wild.”
Pletcher also says the game is to suppose to engage and teach both parents and kids with its social component.
“In the Animal Gallery, endangered species are identified with a red flag, helping to raise awareness about the challenges some of the animals are facing in the wild,” says Pletcher.
Here are some of the other features first time users should know:
- Video Capture feature: “Video is recorded of the players acting out the animals they see on the screen, which is resulting in some pretty hilarious content people can share,” says Oosterbaan.
- Review and share your content: “You can review the animals you just acted out and share interesting animal facts on social media with your friends and family,” says Oosterbaan.
- Options for players: “There are six free decks and three additional 99 cent decks are available for purchase, to be exact. The funds from the purchase of additional decks goes straight to animal conservation work. In the near future, we will have more animal decks available. It has always been our plan to roll out additional free and 99 cent decks in subsequent versions of the app,” says Rob Vernon, Senior Vice President, External Affairs at AZA.
- Gallery: According to the site, there’s also “a gallery to flip through and learn what the animals look like.” Users can also see what animals look like and learn fun facts.
- There are three levels to the game: The three levels of the site include names, pictures and tails.
Vernon says the game is an exciting way for people to learn not only about animals, but also about AZA’s mission of animal conservation.
“Encouraging kids to explore nature through play through games like TailsUp!, and by visiting an AZA-accredited zoo or aquarium, can help young people better understand the natural world – a crucial step in animal conservation,” says Vernon.
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