Common Sense Review
Updated November 2013

English Club

Overly rigid lessons are better with teacher guidance
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 3
  • A narrator helps get students started and provides help during activities.
  • Videos teach kids how to pronounce words.
  • Students can't deviate from the strict learning process.
  • Completing a level results in a party.
Pros
Comprehensive lessons include a variety of activities, and medals motivate students to complete them.
Cons
Strict lesson structure and slow response times may frustrate students.
Bottom Line
Kids can learn English by breaking the language down into its individual letters and sounds, but may be put off by the rigid lesson structure.
Stacy Zeiger
Common Sense Reviewer
Homeschooling parent/instructor
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

Colorful, comic book-style characters draw learners in. However, lengthy instructions and a complicated interface could make navigation a challenge -- especially for English learners or young kids.

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

Developers put a lot of thought into the process behind the content and cover many dimensions of language learning. Unfortunately, the approach limits the types of learners who will benefit from the app.

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

Step-by-step instructions and an animated narrator guide kids as they go through the activities. Data tracks kids' achievements, but much of the data tracking is only available when logged in to Game Center.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Teachers could use English Club with individual students or as part of whole-group instruction. The structure of the lessons makes them better suited for a whole classroom setting, perhaps where teachers present the lessons on a large screen at the front of the class and have students take turns practicing writing and sounding out letters and words.

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What's It Like?

English Club provides students with a comprehensive overview of the English language by breaking down some of its basic parts. Each lesson covers a specific set of letters, sounds, and words that contain those letters and sounds. As students go through the lessons, they follow a specific sequence of activities designed to maximize learning. First kids go through flash cards and video-based learning activities. Then they can apply their new knowledge through a series of practice exercises, which include reading a book, writing new words, and playing a simple multiple-choice game. After successfully completing all activities in a level, students earn medals and the opportunity to advance to the next level.

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Is It Good For Learning?

While the structured activities break down the content and ensure students gain a comprehensive understanding of the language, English Club also limits how students can learn. Yes, students will find multiple ways to learn and practice new letters, sounds, and words, but they can only do it in a specific order. There's no skipping ahead in a lesson or even skipping over a lesson to get to more challenging content. Instead, kids must successfully complete all of the activities in a lesson in order to move ahead. Additionally, the design of the app feels cumbersome and potentially confusing for English learners. The comprehension skills of the target audience may be too limited to understand the lengthy tutorial and instructional videos.

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