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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Planet 316 Story Bible Review

I'm so glad you stopped by to read this review. We were pretty amazed by what technology can do and want to share it with you! We were asked to review the Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App from Planet 316 and WorthyKids/Ideals. At first it looks like a children's Bible but when you use it with the free app, it's kind of amazing!

Reading the Bible with kids can be tricky.. short attention spans, confusing words. We start sharing Bible stories with age appropriate language and pictures when our children are very little. We love children's Bibles for that very reason. When a child becomes familiar with the story, they are much more likely to enjoy reading the Bible with you and on their own when they are old enough! Our youngest is old enough to read the Bible, but she still likes pictures.

This book is barely over 7" x 8", making it a perfect size for a child's lap. It has a hardcover. The back of the book describes what the "augmented reality" means, and how to attain this feature. There is a QR code to scan on the back, but you can also find the correct app from the Planet 316 website, or by searching the App Store (iOS) or Google Play (Android.)

This Story Bible is full of cartoon-like images in full color. These are simplified retellings of the included stories, 55 from the Old Testament and 49 from the New Testament, on 303 pages. There is an index in the back and a table of contents in the front, making it easy to find any story you want. The interpretations are quite literal, as you'd expect from any book like this.

Now.. the augmented reality and 3-D animation! The app uses your device's camera to view an image of the page. It takes a second or two to "think" about what it sees, then the characters pop right off of the page on your screen! They even move a little, giving a more animated appearance to the story.

When you tap on most of the characters, they say a word, sentence, or sound effect. What they say is not what is written on the page. It's an additional statement, adding to the story (and the fun of the experience!) Some pages have more than characters that move - a boat, animals, fire, etc. The app even works when a hand or finger is covering part of the page.

How did we use this?

So... it's a lot of fun to just sit down with the book and flip through the pages to see what they do. But then we aren't learning; we're wasting time. Having children read the page before they use the tablet to "scan" the page is a much better idea! That way the children learn the story, ask any questions that come to ming, THEN see what the fun app adds to the story.

We found that the book is so thick it likes to close when someone isn't holding it. So for a child to use the book and app alone, we clipped the pages open.

My 1st grader used this book and app the most. She likes to read the story and use the app, then find the story in her other children's Bibles. Sometimes she has questions about the pictures, and that's usually because she's learned so much about these stories that she's picking out higher information she's been taught, rather than literal information. She says, "I like it because it helps me see the stories and learn about what the people did. It's really cool how it brings up the people and we can tap the characters and see what they do."

My older children also used this frequently. It's a great book to read during "technology time" instead of playing games. My kids showed it to their grandparents, who were equally as amazed!

My 4th grader says, "I like it because it's fun to use and you can learn more if you have something fun to do. It helps kids have more fun and want to learn more."

Even my husband and I were pretty amazed by this book and app. We would LOVE to see a similar book done for the rest of the scriptures! Can you imagine reading and seeing stories of the Pioneers, or the Nephites like this? Well, maybe not Ammon and the sheep...

Okay, as much as I hope my review helped you understand how the book and app work together, there's just something neat about seeing it for yourself. Here's a video we made.

We used Android devices for this review - Galaxy A 8.0" tablets, Galaxy S7 phone, and Galaxy Tab S 10.5". One Galaxy A required a restart after installing the app before it would "scan" pages. We experienced no problems using the app and found it to be responsive, easy to use, and a LOT of fun! Check out the Planet 316 Story Bible and the companion Planet 316 Story Bible App!

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