New Civil War iPhone App

by fifer1863 on January 10, 2012

Virtual tours on your iPhone

Rama is a history app for the iPhone that allows readers to walk (or drive) the most significant routes in history. When our team at Crimson Bamboo sat down to create Rama, one important aspect of how we designed the app was its possible appeal to children and use as an educational tool. Many members of the Rama team have a background in teaching, and one thing we recognized immediately is how the medium we were developing—combining the interactivity found in video games with the strong visual attraction of television—could become a strong pedagogical resource.

We are eager to connect our readers with the Civil War, and several authors have contributed tours focused on this captivating era. We asked David Potter, author of “Antietam Battlefield,” his thoughts on Rama in the classroom.   Says David:

In order to be an effective teacher, one must be able to paint a vivid picture with words that are easily accessible and relatable. In the modern world, there exists an almost endless stream of stimulation and distraction that obscure an otherwise focused mind.

One key would be to get students to become so excited about a subject that they would see it as “fun”, instead of as “work”, and try to engage that subject matter themselves, rather than wait to be told about it. This, of course, is no easy task. It is a tall order to ask for teachers to speak with the eloquence and intrigue of Ken Burns, Shelby Foote, or James M. McPherson.


Historical images help Rama authors weave their narratives

Speaking from personal experience, it was Shaara’s The Killer Angels that wove the Civil War into a palpable subject. That book transformed the Civil War from a dead historical event into the most interesting portion of our history—something crucial to my appreciation of today’s America. It is through this lens that my tour of the Battle of Antietam tries to relate history not just through words, but through trying to give history a visual and physical presence. The tour combines narrative storytelling with photos taken at the time and place of the battle, and challenges readers to compare and merge the historical image with the modern reality. It is hard to imagine another tool better for transporting readers back to the days when brother fought brother.


While the tours of Rama could never replace the role of a book, classroom, and teacher teaching the Civil War, they do present an invaluable tool for taking a student hundreds or thousands of miles (or years!) away, while sitting in the comfort of a classroom. Rama provides this unique combination of storytelling, pictures and location that is unrivaled in mobile media, and could serve as an unbelievable educational tool to help teachers more easily relate to students the story of the Civil War, just as The Killer Angels once inspired me.


David’s tour, “Antietam Battlefield”, is typically available on Rama as an in-app purchase for $1.99, but will be free to access from January 9th to the 15th. Rama is available for free download at More screenshots from David’s tour and others are available at



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William Bevins, Rama’s history editor, and Michael Carroll, co-creator of Rama, are both former educators. Between them, they have taught students at every level from kindergarten to college.


4 Cool Civil War Apps for your iPhone/iPod/iPad

by fifer1863 on November 12, 2011

4 Cool Civil War Apps for your iPhone/iPod/iPad

Over the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to take a look at several civil war related apps for the iPhone and iPad. The following is a review of four of those apps.

Civil War Preservation Trust Gettysburg app

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) has created a pretty good app about the battle of Gettysburg. The app contains information

about the battle including the Order of Battle, chronology and some additional key facts.

The app focuses primarily on the area of the battlefield that is known as Devil’s Den and Little Round Top. One of the nice features is that it includes videos of Licensed Battlefield Guide and CWPT Education Director Gary Adelman.

The app also uses the GPS tools in your smartphone to pinpoint your location on the battlefield.

Another feature that I really like is the “Battlefield Challenge” where you are given clues on where to find some cool locations on the battlefield like the location where 6 generals stood.

Finally, the app includes some really good information about different parts of the battlefield from monuments to famous rocks. What is really nice is the information on how to find the locations.

Gettysburg App by MultiEducator Inc

The Gettysburg App from MultiEducator is packed full of information about the battle. The app includes sections on the battle such as Summary, Accounts, Photographs, Maps and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

Throughout the app there are several multimedia clips that add to the overall quality of the app. I also like the mice selection of original photographs.

Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite apps.  The Gardner’s Photographic Sketchbook appby Tehrkot Media is a great app where you page through Gardner’s photo album of 100 photos selected from his original works. This app is well put together and the table of contents provides you with easy navigation to various sections of the book.  It is just like reading the book, complete with extras taken from the original.

Additionally there are biographies of Alexander Gardner, Mathew Brady, and Alfred Waud, some photographic mysteries and information on Civil War era photography and what it was like to take photos during the war.

Each photo includes captions with the photographer’s name and a description of the photo.  If you tap on the caption, it will take you to a more detailed description or you can even do some “pinch & zoom” of the photos.

And last but not least…

History 3D: Civil War

History 3D: Civil War by Mima Studios is by far the best app that I have for my iPad.  This app allows you to view dozens of Civil War era photographs in 3D!  The photos are taken from the Library of Congress and are presented in a book style so you can turn the page and find a new and exciting photo to explore.

You can also view their promotional History 3D YouTube video.

You don’t need 3D glasses as the app allows you to view them in black and white but to get the true experience, go grab a cheap set of 3D glasses and curl up with your iPad and start exploring.

At $1.99 this app is a steal and well worth the money.