As part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, we had the opportunity to review an online science course (Rainforest Journey) through EdTechLens. This program is made for grades K – 5; we are using the 2nd Grade level of this program. EdTechLens is a fairly new program with Rainforest Journey being their first major project. They are NOT a faith-based nor a young earth based company. [It is apparent in some areas but we didn’t find it to be much of an issue. This is something that is found all over our world and something we have already discussed (and continue to discuss) with our son. Additionally, this curriculum is very specifically centered (rainforest) and is more of an “add-on” item. So for us these didn’t make much difference.] With that said, let’s get to the meat of things…
The set up of this system was extremely easy and flowed without issue for us. I went in and set P up as a student without any problems. Now, one thing I did miss (as did several other reviewers) is that somewhere along the set up process, you are actually setting up a login for your student. If you don’t realize this quickly, you will miss out on the tracking of the program with the student (unless you have them go back and do it again). You do have two choices when you set it up – the student can or canNOT move around freely within the program. I chose for him to be able to move around as he chose as that makes it easier for doing reviews. However, as you’ll see later, for us there was another benefit to doing it this way (which I didn’t realize when I set it up).
The above screen is the main student screen. It shows their progress as well as all the different parts of their course. This 2nd Grade Science Course has five units. If you click on the unit, the areas for that unit are then shown. You can then click on whatever part of it you would like to work on. Below is a partial picture of Unit 1. The check marks in the upper right corners mean they have been completed.
EdTechLens recommends using this program for 15 – 30 minutes a day. I’m not sure we used it that length of time simply because there is a lot of clicking and a small amount of information covered.
This program uses pictures, videos and audio and is packed full of facts. It is “short and sweet” and gets the points across quickly. Each lesson is one or two screens with each being about a minute or less of audio information. This is what each lesson page looks like:
There is a picture (normally) or a short video at the top. There is a “magnifying glass” you click on for verbiage or you can choose to listen to it using the audio choice. Most times this is about 15 – 30 seconds of information. You can then click on “Enrichment” and do the same as above.
Each lesson has a pdf file you can print and have your student complete. My son doesn’t like to write so we didn’t do these but they are nice reinforcement for what was covered. Additionally, answers are not provided for these sheets.
You then click “next” and go to the next lesson. Super easy.
In working through this program, before I realized there were two logins (one for me as the teacher and one for my son as the student) we accidentally got in to the Unit 1 Quiz – of which we were not able to get out of. We had not covered but only the beginning of the lessons so we really badly on the test. [We could have gone back in to take the test again at a later time, but we chose not to.] We chose not to do any of the further quizzes. Here is a screen shot of the “My Quiz Results” area for the student:
You do have the choice of printing the tests off as a pdf or taking them online, we did the above online. The quiz was multiple choice using pictures (as shown below). Then there is an “open ended assessment” where the student provides their own answer to the questions. Then a “factual assessment” which uses sentence multiple choice. The first and third are graded online if you do the online test, the middle one shows acceptable answers but is not considered graded until the teacher evaluates and enters it. I feel the testing was adequate for the information covered.
Each unit also offers vocabulary and illustrations. The vocabulary consists of around five words with their definitions. The illustrations are full color pdf files you can print that provide additional information of what is being covered. Here is an example of one of the illustrations in our second grade curriculum:
Here is what the teacher can see on their progress page:
Teacher resources are also provided which consist of:
- Teaching Guidance
- Lesson Planning
- Course Materials
- Lesson Reviews
- Unit Assessments
- Quick Start Guide
- User Guide
Overall we did enjoy this program but we did find it to be extremely easy and pretty simple overall. It definitely would not be an entire curriculum but a supplement you would use. It costs $50 for a one year license for one student (at the time of this review).
Ways to keep up with EdTechLens:
Google +: https://plus.google.com/+Edtechlens
Now hop over and read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew as many different grade levels were covered! (Keep in mind that reviews will be posted any time between 3/16 and 3/18 so make sure to come back and see them all!)
Here’s praying you have fun learning!