One of the best things about using an iPad is the great apps that we can run on it. There are excellent apps for just about any purpose you can think of. Better still, there are lots of great free apps for the iPad. Our Best Free iPad App of the Week posts celebrate these apps.
This week’s pick is Qwiki – an amazing app that lets you explore 3 million topics and presents each of them in a fun, exciting way that gets you hooked right away. Here’s a bit of its App Store intro:
Qwiki combines thousands of sources to present concise, interactive summaries of millions of people, places and things in an experience optimized for the iPad. Explore topics by searching or browse a worldwide map highlighting landmarks, monuments, cities, towns, and more.
– Combines relevant images, videos, infographics and narration to describe millions of topics
– Worldwide map highlights popular Qwikis at any zoom level and identifies Qwikis near you
– Related Qwikis suggest other relevant Qwikis for continued learning
– Interactive mode allows you to control the speed at which information is presented
– Lightweight Qwiki format ideal for use via cell connections
The app’s interface is bright, dynamic, and simple to get around and get on with exploring its wonderful world of topics. You can select one of the main subject areas along the top navigation bar, which are: News, Location, Popular, Actors, Cities, Natural Wonders, and Monuments. They’re all chock full of great Qwikis to explore and enjoy. Location presents you with Qwikis from your own neck of the woods. I was pleased to see there’s a lot of great content for my hometown, Austin.
The Popular section featured the movie Iron Man, Usain Bolt, Natalie Portman and more when I first opened it. The Cities, Natural Wonders, and Monuments sections are great for learning about the world and perhaps inspiring your travel wish list.
As soon as you tap to select an item you’re presented with a stream of still images, video clips, descriptive text, and an accompanying voiceover. The voiceover is done in a Siri-like voice and although it has a few little eccentricities it works very well overall and really helps to draw you in to each topic.
The app really does offer great content for a huge range of subjects, and you search for any topic you like via the search bar at the top right of all Qwiki pages.
Each Qwiki has a strong list of related tips that are just a tap away.
Qwikis also have links to further information via Wikipedia, Google, Fotopedia and YouTube. The best thing about these links is that they’re all shown in the app’s inline browser / player area – so you’re never kicked out to another app and the whole experience is smooth and compelling.
You can share Qwikis via email, Facebook, and Twitter and toggle on and off the descriptive text that accompanies each entry.
This is probably my favorite new app I’ve seen this year. I think it’s a superb resource – for me, for my daughter and our family, and for kids and families generally. I also think it has huge potential to be a massive hit in classrooms.
It’s one of those rare apps that is like a book you can’t put down right from the first sentence. You’re hooked 10 seconds after opening if for the first time.
Here’s an App Store link for Qwiki.
If you’re after more great free iPad apps, be sure to check out our previous choices for Best Free iPad of the Week. We’ve also recently put together a best of the best of our selections from the last year in a Top 25 Best Free iPad Apps list.