Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big IQ Kids Premium Program

Big IQ Kids is an interactive learning website.  It offers students in grades K-8 a chance to improve their Spelling, Vocabulary, Math and United States Map skills using repetition, reinforcement and rewards.

Big IQ Kids is designed so that children can navigate the site without much difficulty.  It is student directed, with the aid of computer generated tutors.  Work can be done daily or at their own pace.  There is no weekly quota to fill, but the student must achieve mastery before they can advance.

The premium program is also customizable, allowing the parent/teacher to input words and facts, or it will use the pre-programmed curriculum.

Big IQ Kids Spelling is broken into 5  "steps" or sections. It is meant to be done one section a day, but it is possible to do as much as you'd like in one sitting, or to only log on once a week.

The spelling begins with a list of words.  Each word is spoken by a their tutor and used in a sentence.  Then the child is prompted to say it aloud.   We did have some trouble with this at first.  The voices are computer generated, and can be difficult to understand at times.

This video, which describes the program, also demonstrates the type of voice that is used.

Once the child has been introduced to the words, they will go to a new screen which will ask them to spell the word using either the computer keyboard or the mouse with an on screen display of the alphabet.  The word is clearly shown on the top of the page.  There are also buttons to see the definition of a word and its synonyms.  This process is repeated until the word list is completed.  At that point,a game coin is awarded and the student can move on to the next exercise.

Robot Practice was our first choice most often.  The animated tutor calls out a word, and the student spells it.  If there is an incorrect keystroke, it is shown on the screen, so they know what to fix.  There is a maximum of five tries per word.  I don't know what happens if the word is still missed after the five tries, I probably should have had somebody miss one so we could find out.  When the Practice is completed, the next step is to write each word on paper.  Upon completing this exercise, a game coin is rewarded.  These can be stored, or used for game play.

Game play is another area where the parent takes control.  There is an option to allow the games on a schedule or only on weekends.  There are several pages of games, the options look like this:

Also on the game page, there is an animated child called the Big IQ Buddy. Buddies can be customized to look like the student.

Moving on through the Spelling activites, the student can now do Spelling Bee or Word Scramble.  The Spelling Bee is cute.  It looks like a large auditorium with a cheering crowd.  A word is called out and then spelled by the student.   The word scramble is simply rearranging letters by dragging and dropping with the mouse.   There are two hints available if needed.  When either is completed, a game coin is earned.

Now comes the Pop Quiz. All the hints are removed.  The tutor calls out the word, and the student spells it.  It is timed, with two minutes per word.  the quiz is graded at the end, and if the score is 100% a special game is unlocked.  The Test is the same as the quiz.  Completing it is worth one game coin.  The program emails me and tells me the grades of the quiz and test, and the student has the option to print the page.

The Vocabulary is very similar.   There are five steps to move through before the lesson is considered completed.   First the words are introduced, then comes matching the word with its definition.   The drag and drop game requires the vocabulary word to be chosen from a bank of words and dropped into the proper sentence using the mouse.  Synonyms and antonyms shows a pair of words.  The student decides if they are synonyms or antonyms.   This is a graded exercise.  Finally the test is given.  When a score of 100% is achieved, the lesson is completed.   Game coins are earned throughout the lessons, and I am emailed with the results of graded activities.

Math is a little different.   There are practices and quizzes.  The facts can be customized and quizzes can be created, or random program generated ones will be used.  The pages can be printed or done on the computer.  The default is for 50 problems a day, and the lesson is timed  this can be altered.  For our grade level there are drills in single and double digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.  Once the student has mastery of the 1's, they are moved to the 2's and then the 3's and so on. Game coins are earned, and I am notified of grades and mastery by email.

The lessons about the United States have been basic, but fun.

The interactive map lets the kids click on it to learn more about the different states.  A brief informational slideshow is given.   It's a great feature.

As for the lessons, there is a group of states chosen, each state location is shown, and the student clicks on it.  Then they learn how to spell  the names, what the capitals are, and then the two letter abbreviations.

When mastery of the states is achieved, a  State Facts Game is unlocked.

Some other features on the site are the interactive eBooks.  These are for 8-12 year olds.  There is one for girls and one for boys.    We didn't use these, so I cannot offer an opinion.

There are also some free areas so it is easy to get a feel for the site before making a monetary commitment.   The premium membership is $99 per student, per year, for all four areas.  Other pricing options are outlined on the website.  Premium membership allows the parent or teacher to customize the program and track the student's progress.   There is also a 7 day trial offer.

To find out more, visit the Big IQ Kids website at , where you'll see information and videos.  You may also visit their YouTube channel,  their Facebook Page, or their Twitter

Quite a few of the members of The Old Schoolhouse Review Team have been using Big IQ Kids with their families.  We'll all be posting our reviews today.  

**I was provided with the use of  premium membership benefits in order to write an informed review.  I was not compensated and my opinions are my own.