Saturday, 6 October 2012

TOS Review - ZooWhiz

ZooWhiz is a fun online educational site, designed to help your child practise their skills in reading, grammar and maths. While it isn't a teaching programme, it is a fantastic way to supplement and review what they've learnt as well as targeting problem areas.

When your child logs on they are taken to the main screen, from here they can navigate though the buildings - Learn and Earn, Milestones, Arcade and Biodome.

Learn and Earn: This is the main educational section. The questions are grouped into math, words and reading and you can set an age appropriate level within each area - so if you have a struggling speller, who excels at maths (like Sunflower) you can opt for a different levels in each section.

Milestones: Here you can have an in depth look at how they are doing. 
Arcade: There are a selection of arcade games to choose from and the age is clearly indicated. It does cost 50 coins to play for 3 minutes so it naturally limits the time your child will spend here.
This is where you buy and learn about your zoo animals. When you first log in you have 5,000 coins and every day you log in you get an additional 100 coins (as well as earning them from 'learning').
The selection of animals is varied (even including mythical and extinct creatures) and prices range from 100 to 5,000 coins. Once you have purchased your animals you can click their icon to learn all about them. As premium members we were able to access a lot of information including habitat, diet, threat, classification and more. These pages were a lesson all by themselves.

The parental pages allow you to choose the age levels and see their progress. An added feature of the premium membership allows you to use the Premium Integrated Content Selector
to target your child's specific learning needs - pre-selecting by subject, age, question, category etc.

ZooWhiz is a fantastic way to supplement your curriculum - I liked the content of the questions and being able to target questions with the Premium Integrated Content Selector is a real bonus. I loved that the arcade time was limited (50 coins only buys 3 mins).

Sunflower has enjoyed this programme, she really looks forward to using it and has spent most of her time in 'learn and earn' rather than the arcade (she is saving up for a dragon).
However she was disappointed that she couldn't do more with the animals - she thought she would be able to feed them : )

Overall I think this is a great site to practise and improve skills and the proof that ZooWhiz worked for us - Sunflower is using it outside of lesson time as a recreational activity. 

ZooWhiz is suitable for ages 5 -15. You can opt for a free keeper but you get limited animals to buy and basic reporting information or you can upgrade to a Premium membership for $19.95 a year - this offers loads of additional animals and games for your child, as well as more detailed reports of their work and the ability to pre-set educational activities. They are currently working on a number of new features for the premium level including printable certificates.

A little birdie has told me that ZooWhiz will shortly be running an offer for Premium Membership at $14.95 - so go grab a bargain.

You can see what my fellow crew mates thought over at the TOS Blog.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a free premium membership so I could provide an open and honest review.

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