Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Rainforest Journey - EdTechLens Review

My second grader loves monkeys.  She is seriously obsessed with them so when I got a chance to review Rainforest Journey from EdTechLens, I jumped at it.  I knew that if the rainforest was involved in this online science program, there would be a monkey in it and she would definitely want to learn more.    I was right!

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

EdTechLens is an online science enrichment curriculum.  Their first program is Rainforest Journey and it is designed to be a one-year e-learning course for grades K-5.  Each lesson of the Rainforest Journey is full of pictures, information to read and/or listen to, and worksheets that go along with the material taught.  You can also find hands on activities to work through with your student in the teacher resource area of the website when you are logged in as the teacher.

Just getting started
We received Grade 2 of Rainforest Journey to work through.   The material is broken down into 5 units and then each unit is broken into chapters and lessons.  Each unit also has a review area and assessments.  It is visually stunning and very quickly captured my daughter's attention.  She loved studying the pictures, reading about what was in the pictures, and then hearing about the extra items each lesson discussed.  She quickly learned the rainforest vocabulary that is presented in each lesson and could easily tell me all about what she had worked on.  She was even excited to show what she had learned by working on her rainforest drawing and answering the worksheets I printed off.  It was not at all hard for me to get my daughter to work on this program because she wanted to work on it and couldn't wait to see what she would be learning next in her Rainforest Journey.

My daughter's drawing of the rainforest.
So I bet you are wondering what kinds of things we learned about from EdTechLens.  My daughter studied the different parts of the rainforest - the floor, understory, canopy, emergent layer.  She also learned about different types of rainforests, how water and light affect the rainforest, and even more.  I really can't wait for her to dig into the next unit and see what else she will learn in it.

She is showing you the progress indicator (this was taken at the beginning of the review period, she is further along now)
We really liked how the website is set up.  You create an account for the parent/teacher and then in that account you can set up your student's account.  From the teacher account you can check the progress that your student has made on the units and lessons, grade their online assessments, and find the teacher resources you need for the hands-on activities and worksheets to print with answer keys.  They also have resources for lesson planning for the units and an explanation on the pedagogy (theory of the methods of teaching) of the Rainforest Journey, which I really appreciated because I like finding out the why of teaching.  You can also access the student lessons from the teacher account, but it does not record your student's progress if you access the lessons from here.  From the student account, the student can access the units, lessons, assessments, and the worksheets for the lessons.  They have a progress indicator bar that shows them their progress through the program.  Each lesson is full of pictures they can study and then click on and to learn more.  My daughter really enjoyed reading the information and then clicking the sound icon to have the selection read to her.  It reinforced whether or not she was pronouncing terms right as she read.  She also liked clicking the "Enrichment" light bulb icon to learn more about the topics.  Of course, she loved the pictures of monkeys she found too!
Here are those monkeys she found!
What did we think of this Rainforest Journey from EdTechLens?  We really enjoyed this online science program.  My daughter loved the pictures, clicking on them, and learning more about the rainforest.  I loved that she understood the information they were presenting and she was able to easily tell me what her lessons were about.  She loved drawing out the rainforest (this was part of the assignments for unit 1) in parts and adding to her picture as she learned more.    She also really liked being able to go back to parts and re-read it and look through the pictures again.  I think she found something new every time she looked at and studied each picture.  I really liked the worksheets that went with each lesson and that it gave me a chance to review with her what she learned.  We both liked the progress indicators on the site that allowed us to quickly check and see where she was at.  The only thing I would change to make it easier is the log in process.  I would make it easier to switch from the teacher level to the student level, but I did appreciate that the site remembered the passwords to make it quicker to switch between the two of us.  

In the teacher level I was able to leave feedback on the assessments and then this is what my daughter would see on her level.

An example of one of the worksheets

You should definitely check out EdTechLens and their Rainforest Journey for your students.  They have several pricing plans available depending on the number of students you have and the number of levels you are using of their program.  We have loved checking out their program and plan to work our way through the rest of the Rainforest Journey.

You can find EdTechLens at their website and on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and LinkedIn.

Please check out what my friends on the Schoolhouse Review Crew thought of this product by clicking the banner:

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

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