Common Sense Review
Updated April 2016

Elevate - Brain Training

Engaging games hone skills, offer limited long-term learning potential
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating
Not Yet Rated
  • Games feature straightforward instructions and objectives.
  • Each day, users can access three new brain-training exercises. Premium users have anytime access to all 16 games.
  • Users build skills through simple but challenging games.
  • Users track progress across skills; subsequent quizzes are based on past performance.
  • Bright colors and striking design make it an appealing choice for adult learning.
  • Browse a series of games that test writing, reading, listening, and speaking skills.
  • The app's latest updates include math games that test core mathematical skills, such as estimation.
Challenging games and appealing style make games feel like meaningful educational engagement.
Games require significant prior knowledge of grammar and usage without helpful guidance or feedback.
Bottom Line
Although useful for engaging student skills practice, games are less successful at teaching skills.
Patricia Monticello Kievlan
Common Sense Reviewer
Foundation/Non-Profit Member
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Each day's games are great fun. Whether it's popping balloons or building a tower by picking correct words, games are entertaining to play again and again.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Some games seem a little superficial, and there's an assumed high level of prior knowledge and no instruction for vocabulary or grammar rules. Still, you can hone some skills and get good feedback.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Interface is straightforward and easy to navigate, and the settings menu offers good customization options. Unfortunately, most of the iOS accessibility features are not available in the games.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

English teachers might encourage students to use Elevate to hone vocabulary skills in games that test word connotation, and they might encourage older students to drill their middle school math facts and number sense with some of the math games. Teachers might also have students use Elevate as a daily warm-up to grow listening, reading, speaking, writing, and core math skills. Keep in mind that users can't control which three games will be available each day, and some activities might be better connected to classroom activities than others.

Read More Read Less
What's It Like?

Elevate is a "brain-training" app with games that help users hone skills in writing, listening, speaking, reading, and math. The free version offers access to three games a day. With names such as "Brevity" and "Syntax" in the writing section and "Measuring" and "Estimation" in the math section, games are designed to help build core skills across a range of key subjects. There's a range of game formats, from sentence completion to matching to dragging and dropping on a number line. At the end of each game, users receive a performance score across the four language skills (listening, speaking, writing, and reading) or the math skills accordingly.

According to the developers, the app becomes increasingly tuned to a user’s capabilities and provides daily exercises based on the user's strengths and needs. Users can upgrade to Elevate Pro ($7.99/month; $44.99/year; $149.99/lifetime) for unlimited access to the more than 30 games.

Read More Read Less
Is It Good For Learning?

Elevate is built to hone skills such as focus, processing, and concentration across a range of ELA and math tasks. The diversity of subjects is admirable, and there's some cool content: Playing a game to learn to remember people's names isn't a bad real-world skill to develop. However, not all tasks are as challenging as others; a lot of tasks focus more on quick thinking than on content knowledge. Each game focuses on lightning-fast decision-making. While that's a great goal, developers have assumed a very high level of prior knowledge and haven’t provided much support for users to develop that knowledge. Limited feedback is available to help users get a missed question right the next time it appears. The developers have added an un-timed study mode, which is a helpful way to play the games and get more practice on the tasks.

Questions that test users' knowledge of English grammar assume a high level of English fluency but offer no opportunity to revisit or review grammar rules or the extensive vocabulary in the app. A built-in glossary or grammar lessons would offer better support on the language tests, as would some primers on estimation and number sense in the math sections. Overall, this is a slick, fun way to hone your skills, but it might really work best for adults who are fluent in English and already have a pretty advanced grasp of a lot of information. 

Read More Read Less

See how teachers are using Elevate - Brain Training