Friday, March 18, 2016

EdTechLens (A REVIEW)

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
 
We had the opportunity to explore the Rainforest Journey from EdTechLens. We received a one year subscription for both 4th grade and 2nd grade level so that both my elementary aged boys could try it out.

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

What is it?

The Rainforest Journey is an online, e-learning, life science curriculum. To access it there is a log-in, and the child proceeds to go through each unit, lesson by lesson. There are in total 34 lessons, split up into 5 units, with end of lesson reviews, hands on activities for each unit, and assessments. There are plenty of beautiful vibrant pictures and videos of the rainforest to help see all the information that is presented. As the child makes their way through the lesson they are guided through excerpts of text that can also be listened to if the child clicks on the speaker icon. This was very helpful for my boys. They usually chose to listen.

Screenshot (4)
A screen shot of the beginning of a 4th grade lesson
The 5 units consist of:

  • Unit 1: The big picture (of the rainforest)
  • Unit 2: Adapt or die!
  • Unit 3: Animals
  • Unit 4: Plants and Fungi
  • Unit 5: Ecosystem
Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

How we used it:
The boys did their lessons mainly on the kids computer, although I wished we had tried it out on the ipad for ease. I showed them how to click through the lessons by expanding each text section as they came to it, and then clicking on the "next passage" or "next lesson" button at the bottom to move on to the next part of the lesson. They would usually click on the listen icon to listen to the passages, and then we did the review at the end of each lesson. The review is the part where I would have to step in sometimes and help them understand the questions, or give them ideas.

The 4th grade level:

The 4th grade level is the one I am supposed to focus on, but honestly my 4th grader didn't take to this program very well. The rainforest theme didn't interest him all that much, so it was hard to get him to be happy about it. He did it anyway though. Compared to the 2nd grade level it was just a little more information packed, the lesson reviews a little harder (required more thinking), and the projects are a little more involved. There is vocabulary throughout each unit, and vocabulary words are highlighted in green. In the 4th grade level there were 18 vocabulary words in unit 1. Compare this to the 2nd grade, which had only 4. This level was a little more involved, and took a little longer for him to get through a lesson than the 2nd grade level. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of him in action.

 The lesson review and project:

At the end of each lesson there is a review. I printed up the first few lesson reviews, but soon realized it would be easier to just do them orally. They usually involved some simple questions about what the student learned.

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In the 2nd grade lesson reviews for unit 1 Aric worked on a project where he drew the different layers of the rainforest. He would draw each new layer as it was introduced.

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I had to encourage him to include more details each time. He is not big on details.

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His completed project of the layers of the rainforest...

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Overall:

While my boys were not terribly excited about this program, it was still a good program. I think they learned a lot. I think this would be a great way to study the rainforest, and feel almost like you are there. There are many details, and cool facts all throughout the lessons making it very interesting. It would be of great interest to any child wanting to study the rainforest specifically, or to add to any unit study. It's a very complete, and well made program!

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If you would like to see what others thought of this product you can check out their reviews by clicking on the box below!


Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

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