MarcoPolo Ocean by MarcoPolo Learning, Inc. is a free play, open world app to explore and discover ocean life. Players are exposed to STEM concepts and vocabulary while they explore the ocean, learn characteristics of marine plant and animal life, and build a boat or submersible vehicle.
MarcoPolo Ocean has been used in a small group (via screen mirroring) and independently by students ages 10 to 13 with multiple disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, intellectual disability, apraxia of speech, and traumatic brain injury (TBI) with visual impairment. Two of the four students are second language learners, with three languages spoken among the small group. One student is non-verbal. These students enjoy different aspects of the app — either the puzzle or aquarium — and three of the four have requested to play it again for up to 15 minutes on many occasions.
The students who use this app in our classroom are able to use it independently, though each needed modeling or instruction initially. The two visuals used to choose the world — puzzle piece and fish — make it easy for players of all levels to understand how to navigate and change to the other world at any time. As play continues, hints for more play, such as glowing shapes and directional arrows, will appear to encourage more exploration. The ocean aquarium will save during each play session, though it can be cleared by an adult. It can be saved for future sessions with a change of settings, but will otherwise clear when the app is closed. Additional settings for eight language options, voice over, fact bubbles and save function can be changed by an adult.
MarcoPolo Ocean is a frequent favorite in our classroom, independently accessible by students with a range of abilities, and therefore highly recommended. It has encouraged them to play on their own without fear of losing a game or not understanding how to play, while learning how ocean animals play and interact with each other.
Click on the link below for full review: