Over the past five weeks my children have been reviewing Rainforest Journey by EdTechLens. What can we tell you about it? We have mixed feelings…
Rainforest Journey is the first of the programs that have been released by EdTechLens (there are others in the works). There are programs available for grades K – 5. We received a one-year subscription for both Kindergarten and Grade 2. For the basis of this review, we’ll be focusing on the Kindergarten level.
The entire program can be completed online, but you also have the option to print most of it out and work from paper as well, if that’s what you would like to do.
This is a suplimental curriculum, not a full course. You could use it when learning about the Amazon, wildlife, rainforests, or other science and geography lessons.
There are 5 units:
- The Big Picture of the Rainforest
- Adapt or Die
- Plants and Fungi
The same units are in the Grade 2 level, but are a little more in-depth with their information and asking a little more from the quizes and assignmets.
Each lesson only takes a few minutes a day. Kallista looked at a beautiful photograph and told me what she saw before we scrolled down and read the caption. Then there was a short sentence giving a little more information about it. I liked to sit with Kallista while she was doing this program, but if I wasn’t nearby, she could click a button and listen to it being spoken. With some photos there is another couple of sentences of enrichment information.
Then there is a lesson review. These usually consisted of filling in the blanks of a sentence or two. A word bank was also included. A picture from the lesson is at the top of the page. Rather than printing these off, Kallista told me the answers from what she read on the screen.
Interspersed amongst the lessons are interviews with experts in the field, which are quite interesting.
Kallista’s attention was held for this program and she wanted to do more than one lesson at a time. Because they went so quickly, we usually did a couple of lessons at a time, about three times a week. After five weeks she’s completed all but the final unit assessment.
The assessments consist of
- Depth of knowledge -a couple of multiple choice questions with pictures. Kallista clicked on the correct answer.
- Open ended assessment – writing/typing in your answer to a question. Kallista told me her answer and I typed it in for her
- Factual assessment – another multiple choice question
From the teacher’s login I was able to see just how far along Kallista and Tristan were. When they completed an assessment I’d get a little notice and I could go in and score the open-ended questions, using the possible answers they provided as a guide. The other questions were automatically scored by the program and feedback was given to the kids as soon as they completed the questions.
One nice option is that you can ‘lock’ the flow of the program and students must then complete the lessons in the given order. You also have the option to unlock it and then the lessons can be completed in any order.
I think this program has great potential, but it needs more content in my opinion. I’m not sure I’d recomment this for lower grades as it wouldn’t be great value for money. The photos and videos are beautiful, but I think more information could be gathered from the library in a book or two. Another option for EdTechLens might be to have differing prices for the different grade levels as there is a little more to the grade 2 level than there is for the Kindergarten level.
I found that the grade levels are a little simplistic for my kids, so I’d recommend going a grade level above where your child is in school. That being said, the children can now tell us about the layers of the forest and what they might find living in each as we walk through The Magic Forest. Being able to apply the knowledge they’ve acquired is always great!
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