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NHM Evolution

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The National History Museum of London's 'NHM Evolution' packages together a quite astounding amount of fossil research and geological information into a very well-presented app. In 'NHM Evolution' there are close to 1000 fossils from over 600 million years to explore in rich detail and in a number of different ways.

Teacher Review

The standard way to navigate through the app is to use the timeband beginning with an illustration of Strelly Pool in Western Australia. By sliding the screen to the left the illustration continues revealing the next stage in the evolutionary story. In total there are 100 illustrations of major historical sites all connected and finally ending with the present day in the Grand Canyon, USA. On each of the pictures there are blue and purple dots that link to further information about a living organism of that time. Some of these links will bring the user to a photograph of a fossil, a few of which are in 3D and can be rotated to be looked at from every angle. It is very simple to move through the different eras by using a miniature version of the timeband at the bottom of the screen. A flick and click on this part of the screen will allow tens of millions of years to be skipped through in an instant! By tapping on the location at the top, information about that location will appear along with a link to a dynamic illustration of planet Earth at that time.
As well as the timeband the app can be explored using a gallery, a timeline, timeglobe, events, exhibitions and the library. The ‘exhibition’ displays key fossils chronologically and by tapping on their image the information about the organism appears. The 'gallery' presents a large number of fossils to be explored randomly. The ‘timeline’ will give the user vivid descriptions of any of the sub-divisions of geological time selected, which can be read or listened to. The ‘timeglobe’ provides an interactive look at how the planet’s oceans and landmasses would have been orientated at different times in our Earth's past. Touching on any of the ‘Events’ opens up significant times in pre-history and animations provide even more information. The ‘library’ and search function offer yet another way to access the vast amount of information.
From the outset all functions are accessible and there is a broad approach to exploring the information. On one hand this is a positive aspect and opens the content up to a wide range of learners, but on the other hand it can seem overwhelming. Including a system that charts the student’s progress through the app to manage learning will be a useful improvement in the future. 
Supporting the author, the renowned writer and lecturer on fossil prehistory Douglas Palmer, many NHM academic experts have contributed to the production of this app and some appear in videos or audio clips. This adds a further layer of quality to NHM Evolution and puts it among the very best educational apps on offer. Short of actually visiting the exhibits in the National History Museum and listening to lectures and presentations there this is as close to the full experience that is possible for anyone to enjoy. Inspiration indeed for the next generation of  fossil lovers and palaeontologists.
Tablet technology has progressed to allow developers to create apps that are an engaging and intriguing learning journey. This app stretches that potential and makes full use of what’s on offer. At the price of £10.49 it is definitely one of the more expensive apps, however, the quality goes beyond this cost to make it a worthwhile purchase.


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From the Developer

A breath-taking flagship app produced in partnership with the Natural History Museum that allows you to take a journey through more than 600 million years of life on Earth. Starting from the first signs of ancient life in Strelley Pool, Western Australia, swipe, pinch and tap the illustrated Timeband to explore at your own speed and find out more about 100 key fossil sites and over 800 creatures and plants that lived there.

The Timeband illustration comprises 100 exquisite, inter-connected artworks that took more than two years to create.

Also featuring:
* a dynamic Timeglobe based on a unique data-set, showing how Earth’s tectonic plates have reconfigured through time for every fossil site
* a complete Timeline, with text and audio commentaries for every eon, era and period
* a spell-binding Exhibition of 34 iconic fossils
* 17 individual multi-media treatments explaining the great Events of Earth’s evolutionary past, including snowball glaciations and mass extinctions
* many pinch and expand 360-degree rotations of significant fossils
* pinch and expand, full-frame hi-res views for all 570 images
* 10 tutorial videos from some of the Museum’s leading experts
* A Library of reference materials including 38 biographies of the pioneers of evolutionary theory

A truly compelling, interactive learning tool that brings the amazing facts of evolutionary history to life.

Written (and often spoken) by internationally-acclaimed science writer Douglas Palmer, with support and contributions from the scientists of the world-renowned Natural History Museum, London, NHM Evolution uses state-of-the-art technology to bring you the complete story of our evolving world.

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Learning Outcomes

Key Features

In-App Purchases - No

In-App Advertising - No

Curriculum Aligned

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