Our iOS devices are constantly entertaining us, connecting us with friends and family, and helping keep us on schedule. I’m sure a lot of us don’t use our devices for educational purposes though. There are numerous apps in the App Store to help further your knowledge in many different areas, but how many educational apps do you have on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch? If you’re like me, probably not many. Sure, we all have the native iTunes U app on our iOS 8 devices, but have you actually used it to learn anything? One app I recently discovered, outside of iTunes U, is Cosmic Zoom and it has an interesting way of presenting information to you.
Once you open Cozmic Zoom, you’re in outer space with good old Mother Earth staring at you in the center of the screen. When you swipe up on the screen you begin to zoom in on Earth. In the bottom right side of the screen you can select the “i” button, or simply tap on the word to see a list of items in the app, where you can read information on how the Earth orbits around the Sun, the axis of the Earths rotation or where the highest point on Earth is located. Items in bold white text are selectable so you can learn more information through the Encyclopedia of Science or Wikipedia, just to name a few options presented in Cozmic Zoom.
If you select to learn more information, it doesn’t take you directly to the site you selected. Instead, it does a Google search for information from the specific destination selected. You still have to select from the list of search results in order to view the information. I was hoping it would take me directly to the page I requested, which was a bummer when I saw it was only a Google search.
As you zoom-in on Earth, New York City starts coming into view. The information button on the lower right side of the screen eventually switches to New York and you can select the “i” again to view more in-depth information. Again, all bold white text is selectable and results are the same as previously discussed.
Some information does have a play button where you can view a YouTube video about the item you selected. Some of the videos give in-depth information with narration, where others are simple videos without sound.
I did run into numerous cases where videos would’n’t load. At first I thought it was my internet connection since my U-verse internet has been terrible of recent, but I got the same results when I tried watching videos on LTE and the Wi-Fi connection at work.
Zooming in further on Cozmic Zoom eventually brings you to Central Park. At first glance, I thought the learning adventure was over but I was surprised to see I could continue zooming into the eyeball of the young man sitting on the ground and looking into the sky. From here you can learn a lot of different information about the human body. There’s a plethora of information to read about as you continue zooming in.
When you zoom all the way out though, you’ll discover information about comets, the Sun, the Milky Way Galaxy, etc., until you can’t go any further, which ends at the Universe. While exploring, you’ll learn about astronomy, biology, cosmology, physics, space, and much more
There’s a lot of information to read throughout Cozmic Zoom and I didn’t read all of it. What I did read though was informative and seemed accurate.
Overall I was just fairly pleased with Cozmic Zoom. Sure, there’s a lot of great information in Cozmic Zoom but I wish we could spin around Mother Earth and select different regions to discover. Instead, we’re stuck on the East Coast where they only discuss New York City.
On another note, the videos not loading all the time is very frustrating. If it’s between reading or watching something informative, I’m a visual learner so I prefer to watch and learn. For some reason, the YouTube links weren’t working almost 95 percent of the time. This gets frustrating quickly and makes you want to exit the app and accept the fact you’ve wasted money until an update fixes the issues.
Cozmic Zoom does offer up volumes of great information and could offer up a great learning experience on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Unfortunately it comes up a little short since videos don’t always load and the links provided for more information are only to Google search results. From here you must sift through the results before accessing the information you seek.
Cozmic Zoom is available for $1.99 in the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
(2.5 / 5) Concept is interesting, but unreliable videos and links to search results leave it struggling to hold my attention.
EDIT: After this review was published, the developer reached out to iOS Etc to further discuss the issues I was experiencing with the videos in Cozmic Zoom. After troubleshooting a few items, it appears everything is working properly now. Videos I previously thought didn’t include sound are working and all videos are playing exactly as designed without any interruptions. I’ve beta tested apps in the past and in a few cases the iPhone 6 Plus experience problems other users weren’t experiencing on different models. I’m not implying this is what happened here, but after taking a few extra steps to figure things out, Cozmic Zoom is working perfectly.
I’ve said it before in other reviews, but I love working with indie developers! These apps aren’t a project to them, they’re a passion. When something comes up, they’re eager to get to the bottom of the issue. I’m glad we were able to figure this out today.
After getting access to the videos, I’ve gotten a kick out of what I’ve been missing. Cosmic Zoom has been a blast and the visual learner in me is much happier with this educational app.
(4 / 5) Search results are still a slight bummer, but video content and the overall experience with Cozmic Zoom is outstanding. Kids will get a kick out of this one for sure.