Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A TOS Review: Rainforest Journey

 Are you looking for a cool science program? We recently had the chance to review  the 5th grade level of Rainforest Journey from EdTechLensThis takes cool science programs to a whole new level.

Here is just a bit of a disclaimer. Josiah is not in 5th grade. He is in 8th. However….he is dyslexic and when I saw that EdTechLens was multi-faceted I knew that I wanted Josiah to try it out. 

I received a year’s online subscription to Rainforest Journey. There are 34 lessons in the program. You can complete one lesson during the course of a class session or you can take advantage of the many assessments and supplemental programs to stretch it out.

The lessons are a blend of beautiful, vibrant photographs and informative and fascinating reading passages. The wonderful aspect of the whole program for Josiah is that there is a narrator to read to him if he so wishes. Some of the other components of the program didn’t have the same feature, but we didn’t fret over it. 

Rainforest Journey isn’t merely a series of pictures and words. There are also Hands-on Activities to give our kiddos plenty of “active learning” experiences. Following each lesson, there are review activities and a unit quiz to gauge what’s been absorbed. 

Let me show you how it works. I'm going to share with you some screen shots of Unit 1. Josiah's already completed this unit for it's fair game. 

To begin with, I set up my Teacher's Dashboard and then made Josiah his own account. We have separate user names and passwords so be sure to make note of that. His password and username is noted on my dashboard. That has been helpful! 

We'll start by going through Josiah's already completed Unit 1. 

The pictures in Rainforest Journey are spectacular! This cute fella is a Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey. 

When scrolling down the student is able to either read the material or click on the speaker icon for narration. The Enrichment box tells us that scientist believe that only about 200 of these monkeys around.

After each lesson, there is a PDF printable available for Lesson Review. The student might be asked an open ended question or series of multiple choice questions.

Another fascinating feature of Rainforest Journey are these journal entries from a mother and son trip into the Rainforest.

Included in with the lessons is the occasional video. This video shows a plant struggling to find sunlight.

At the end of each Unit is a list of vocabulary. There is a PDF printable just in case you would like to print it off for further study.

These illustrations that were included in the lessons themselves are provided for further review. These were helpful to have because they showed up in the Unit Quiz.

Speaking of the Quiz...I didn't get a shot of that. You have the option to print the Quiz, but I felt the interactive nature of the online quiz suited Josiah better. The Unit 1 quiz had him clicking appropriate boxes, dragging pictures into the correct places, etc. He did very well.

Another neat feature is the Primary Sources tab. It gives an easy to find place for the expert interviews (along with background info), some neat videos and the complete Rainforest Journey journal I mentioned a few pictures back.  It was interesting for Josiah to see real life scientists in action.

In addition to the great interactive online components, you as the teacher are also given hands-on activity ideas for the end of lesson fun. There are downloads for the Teacher and the Student. This pic comes from the Student Guide for Unit 1. There are several neat experiments and activities available to use.

I just wanted to give you one last screen shot  This one is of the Teacher's Dashboard. You can see how easy it is to navigate.  As the Teacher, I am able to look ahead and browse the Lessons. I can also download any printables ahead of time. The EdTechLens folks make it super easy to do my job!

Did I mention that  this is a COOL program? There a couple of other items I want to talk about before I leave you. The photography is amazing. There is nothing silly or amateurish about any part of Rainforest Journey.

Rainforest Journey is a supplemental program. For our purposes, we used it approximately 4 times a week. Each lesson only took about 15-20 minutes. We did use speakers (or headphones) for listening purposes, but unless you want to print any of the downloads all you need is a tablet or computer. In fact, Josiah did most of his lessons on a tablet. 

If you interested in looking into Rainforest Journey, I suggest you take a look at this Grade 5 Sample.  This program is not intended merely for homeschoolers. There are options for the classroom, as well. 

You can connect with EdTechLens via the following social media outlets. Don't forget to click on the banner below to read more reviews. 

Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review

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