Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Making Math Fun with Smartick

We are getting to review Smartick by the company Smartick, which is an online math game world that kids can use to build their math skills. It is designed to be used 15 minutes a day several times a week to help build not only the skills in math but to have fun while doing it.

Making math fun isn't always easy. I have used quite a few applications both on mobile and tablet to be able to find a good program for my kids. This one definitely makes my top three hands down.

I will walk you through it a little bit but I am telling you as a mum of three kids, all who school completely different ways ( including one being in a traditional brick and mortar school while I homeschool the others), but also who have different educational needs. I have one or more children who would be defined by the public school system as "Special Needs" because they have Autism.

So this review comes from both perspectives. I hope you find it helpful.

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 Getting Registered
Had issues when I was registering and it didn't recognise the minimum numbers of characters that were being used. Once we got started past that point, it was easier.

One thing I loved about the registration process was how easy it was once I got started. AND they asked about if your child has special needs which is super important especially for my child. I really appreciated that.

Adding siblings was easy as pie as well which was super helpful. There was no logging in again or having to log out. You simply put "add another sibling".

Pick Your Avatar

They get to pick an avatar when they first log into their session. I love that avatars are diverse in race. Especially because of where my children grow up, which is in the Nation's Capital, this is incredibly important and an important message to send to kids.

My son wishes that he could make his own avatar. Which makes sense.

I was called by the company directly who helped me figure out how to help my son with getting his avatar edited any way he wanted to!

I give HUGE kudos for the company to be able to help with that when they read this review. It means that they really care about their customers!

Visit Your New Town! 

The town they have is broken into different sections or parts of the application. I absolutely love the way they did this. The reason being is that the gym or competition section is not tied to the Classroom where the tutorials are. This is important correlation to not only real life and that you can learn things anytime in real life, but also for those kids like mine who like things being separated into sections. This may be due to his Autism and ADHD but it is super helpful to see that a game or application is thinking about this ahead of time.

Plus, it creates a math world that is fun!

The games are broken up into sections:

* Memory
* Reasoning
* Attention
* Flexibility

My younger son felt that some of the questions were too easy in the beginning but then realised it was figuring out his level. Then he was able to figure out how to gauge his lessons around his level. It was able to keep his attention longer than some games are, which is important.

My younger son is talking about the difference between the memory games-- that some use short term memory and some use long term memory. This is awesome that my son is recognising this as a skill to be able to learn, both in and out of math, based on the lessons he is doing in this program.

The Treehouse: 

You can find friends and be interactive with friends. You can send friend requests. I like this because it allows interactivity with other people in the same application. The company followed up with me, as I stated above, and let me know that they do not allow interactive communications between members. Just simple friend requests.

As you can see, my son hasn't used this feature yet, but when he does, and he starts talking to friends online in this application, I can see BOTH my younger son and my older son (who is a teen) both getting very excited about talking to other kids in the application.

Because it is within the context of learning, the idea of the Treehouse actually excites me a little more because social context within the school walls of a brick and mortar now and days has changed and is more aligned in metaphor as if you were sitting on a public bus next to a stranger-- they don't talk much anymore. However, within an app, they can talk more even while doing math and that is more profound in building friendships with like-minded individuals.

Again, edited to add that the assumption of interactive communication amongst players is not accurate- but both my son and I thought the same thing. I think it would actually be really cool to allow this!

The Gym:

This is where you can test those skills you have practised in a competition. My son really hasn't done this as much because he has dabbled in building his skills. Because he has Autism, and is a perfectionist on top of it, (a label he gave himself and I habit I am trying to break from him), this is not the place he wants to go until he has mastered everything else. I respect that. So I can't speak as much on this aspect. But from what I saw, it looked like a great aspect of the program as well and a way to motivate kids to pass the "competitions". I know my son will do well at them.

The College:

You have units that you can get tutorials in, which is great. This is huge. It is broken down in units in math. Ie: Counting, Geometry, Algebra, measurement, data etc. Not all applications that help make math into a game will also do the tutorials that go along with it.

It's funny that they made the teacher an old white woman who looks like a grandma who is going to knit you a sweater. Haha. But, I will note, it would be cool to see if there was a way to have different teachers come in on different days or to allow students to pick their teacher. Socially and culturally, this is very important. Especially, for example, I have a girl scout who homeschools and is Muslim. It would be super awesome to be able to have a female Muslim teacher to show that women who are Muslims can be teachers, someone to learn from & successful. This is food for thought. They already do a great job of showing diversity within the application, but it would be great to see a little more.

The Store:

You can buy things to furnish your house. This one is more self-explanatory where they can buy things to be an encouragement for them to be able to learn. He is SUPER excited about being able to build his house more in the coming days.

How I feel about it as a Parent:

Overall, he is going to be super addicted to this because not only does my son like math already but he LOVES video games. I LOVE this game as a parent.

Each of my children can add their own worlds, pick their own avatars, make learning math more interactive and fun, and they can even friend each other in their own little math worlds.

I kinda seriously wish I had this as a kid because it looks like a lot of fun, easy to use, and you can pick either the application on a phone or tablet or do it on your computer. Or do it on your computer and then when on the go, use the application on the tablet or phone. Ie when you travel for the holidays.

My kids are loving this program, even my older ones, one who just started middle school and one that will be in high school next year.

So, do I like it & recommend it? Yes, yes I do!

Their Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Smartick
Twitter: https://twitter.com/smartickmethod?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smartick/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD_f6FMb0X1QDp5j7puQh1Q

Math Enrichment Program {Smartick Reviews}

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