Friday, 18 March 2016

EdTechLens Rainforest Journey - TOS Review

I have a couple of nature lovers among my girls, so when there was a chance to review such a vibrant product like Rainforest Journey from EdTechLens we jumped at the chance.


Rainforest Journey is an online life science curriculum for grades K-5 designed using adaptive learning management technologies usually only seen in higher education.


I received two 1 year subscriptions for both Tulip and Rose. Each student was given their own log in and there is a teachers account where you can track their progress, grades etc as well as teacher guides and course tips (these are really worth a read as they have loads of ideas). They advise spending 15-30 mins a day, three times a week with the programme but to be honest there were some days my kids were so engrossed that they wanted to finish a whole unit and I had to kick them off the computer.

There are five units to complete, these are
Unit 1 - The Big Picture of the Rainforest
Unit 2 - Adapt or Die
Unit 3 - Animals
Unit 4 - Plants and Fungi
Unit 5 - Ecosystems

Within each unit there are several lessons, for example in Unit 1 the lessons are about the different layers of the rainforest, water and light while Unit 2 Lessons look at structural adaptations, behavioural adaptations and genetics.

Lessons are presented as a page containing amazing photographs, informational text (with an audio option), icons that offer a more detailed explanation or link to new concepts, videos and links to trip diaries from the scientists or interviews.

There is also the option to print each lesson to review as a pdf. You have the choice of letting them work through sequentially or jump around the units as their interest dictates.

Each unit contains 34 lessons and the main differences between the grade levels are in the depth of content included. Units include new vocabulary words, reviews, assessments including open ended essay style questions that are created to really make you think, multiple choice questions, picture sorting etc. and hands on activities. I liked that there was an option to print these out for the children as it was a great way to get extra writing practise in, however these can be answered online.

In unit one the hands on activity was looking as why we have seasons which encouraged the girls to explore the earths tilt using balls (we replaced with apples and oranges cause we had them to hand). The girls loved the hands on additions and have remembered loads of information which they are keen to share.




I loved how engaging the lessons were and how they bought everything to life (especially the sounds of the rainforest), the depth of knowledge taught and how easy it was to use.
These lessons are really versatile - there were days when I left the kids to it and other days where we worked together and used the written essay questions. There were also days when they only wanted to do 15 mins and other days when I had to physically remove it from them because they didn't want to stop.
The girls especially loved the pictures - the photographs really capture the beauty of the rainforest. My animal mad Tulip also really liked the scientist diaries, while Rose enjoyed the sounds and activities.
And did I mention the breathtaking photographs? they use stunning, real life images from the rainforest :)

Rainforest Journey is available from $50.00

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


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