BrainNook – Elementary Math and English Resource

So I was just searching on Google for some new technologies to use in the classroom and I came across this website for elementary math and language arts.

What do I like about it?

  •  You can create a classroom and compete against different classes.
  • Can play as a student which is free although you do have limited access unless your teacher has a paid account.
  • Teacher accounts receive a 14 day free trial.
  • With the teacher account, you can easily set up your class, create and track assignments, view performance data, and customize the content.
  • Has many games for elementary Math and English.
  • Player unlocks worlds by completing games and improvement.
  • Games are timed which could help students improve their quickness.
  • When not playing games, there is a chat for students to talk with other players.   This chat has a security filter enabled on it so that students cannot reveal their real name, email, contact information, or any other type of personal information.
  • Teachers can review the logs, review a students friends list, and block players.
  • Students can only message other players if they are “friends” on the game.
  • User friendly.
  • Students have a Math meter and an English meter which encourages students to fill both of them up and notifies the student which subject they have more practice (points) in.
  • Have both an educators page and a parents page that lists information about the site, its’ safety features, other resources, and reviews from preview users of this site.

What do I dislike about it?

  • Not a free site if you want to create teacher accounts (student accounts are free and don’t require a teacher account).  However, for a 30 student class, its only $150 dollars for a whole year which isn’t all that bad for what the site can do to support the teacher.
  • Timed games and timed questions.  This could cause students to memorize rather than understand the game.  Also, the timing on the questions are very short.  The question only remains up for about 5-10 seconds (pretty much just enough time to read the question and then scramble to find the answer) and then it disappears and pops back up with the answers scattered.  This was very frustrating to me and I can imagine this would be even more frustrating for my students because they may need more time to determine the answer or even just to read the question.

How does this fit into the curriculum and how would I use it in my teaching?

From the games that I have tried, this mostly fits into the early years of elementary school like kindergarten to about grade 2.  Due to the fact that the games on this website are timed quite quickly, I would not want students to do this during class but maybe on their own time.  Unless there is a way to change the timing on the games, I feel this might be too stressful and frustrating for my students to do in class and might make them unwilling to learn and practice the material.

Evaluation of Brainnook.com

This site is very user friendly and has many security settings in place to protect students from releasing their information to people.  If the timings for the games could change, this website would be an excellent resource for students to practice and improve their English and mathematical skills.  But as it stands, I currently do not know if this is possible so I wouldn’t use this in my classroom but maybe as an extra resource for students to look at outside of class.

If I were to give this website a numerical value, I would give it a 4/10.  If there is an actual way to change the timings on the games (and if you know, please let me know!) then I would give this a 7/10.

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