Wednesday, 22 October 2014

SDAccelerate TOS Review

We love visual learning and over the years have used many 'video' clips to boost our lessons, so when given the chance to review Standard Deviants Accelerate I was interested.
Standard Deviants Accelerate is the brainchild of Cerebellum Corporation where they believe in a "Teach, Test, Re-teach, Laugh, Rinse and Repeat " style of learning. For over 20 years they have provided educational technology culminating in their interactive, online teaching resource, the SD Accelerate programme.

We were given a years full access to their SD Accelerate online elementary and high school programmes. These courses include: 
Arithmetic - Grades 3+ 
Fundamental Math - Grades 4+ 
Earth Science - Grades 6+ 
Nutrition - Grades 6+ 
Algebra - Grades 7+ 
Biology - Grades 7+ 
Chemistry - Grades 9+ 
English Comp. - Grades 9+ 
U.S. History - Grades 9+ 
AP Biology - Grades 11+ 
AP Chemistry - Grades 11+ 
AP U.S. Government & Politics - Grades 11+ 
AP U.S. History - Grades 11+ 
AP Eng. Composition - Grades 11+ 

Each course is divided into chapters with sub-topic lessons. Lessons are a fast paced movie of students presenting the concepts in a witty manner. It switches between different students and graphic presentations. Each lesson is approx 6 mins long. 

I started by creating my teacher account, I selected the classes I wished the children to study - I opted for Biology, Chemistry and Earth Science. Both Lilly and Sunflower were enrolled via their email address and logged in to work independently 3-4 times a week as a supplement to our other science programmes. They would watch the video (with the option to have full screen or a smaller view and read / highlight the notes alongside if they choose to). 

Any notes they make in the bottom box can then be saved to their student locker.

After the video portion of the lesson they would go to the vocab tab where they can listen to the words and meanings and I asked them to copy the definition into their notes. 

The next part of the lesson is the Diagram tab where they have to drag the correct label to the right part of the picture.

After that is the Quiz - a section of about 6 multiple choice questions. If an incorrect answer is given, it is highlighted with a small clip from video which had the right answer in.

The final tab is Written Answer where you are presented with a question and have to write an essay type answer.

We did watch a number of the movies on TV (via our pod) and discussed the questions/answers in a group setting as both Tulip and Rose wanted to join in (7 & 5). They particularly loved Earth Science and seemed to absorb a large amount of information and got right answers in the quiz section :)

The girls have enjoyed these lessons, the combination of humorous videos and reviewing their work online has made these an appealing choice of lesson for the girls (and me). Their favourite review activity was the 'diagram game' and they did say it would be nice to have more of these.

I love that the grading is immediate and that they can 'see' where they went wrong and review what the right answer should have been. I also like the easy to use teacher page - it gives red flags when scores are below standard, shows grades and even lets you input grades for the written assignments (using a rubric).

The only issue was keeping track of which lessons were already completed. Sunflower would often ask me where she was up to - it would be a nice feature if there was a little icon/tick against the lessons they had watched and completed the answers to.

Annual subscriptions for the courses above are $99, but you can also purchase monthly subscriptions for $24.95. They even offer a free trail.

You can see what my crew mates thought of some of their other courses over at the TOS Blog

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