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Review by Dana Villamagna, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2015

IF... The Emotional IQ Game

Captivating journey cultivates kids' social and emotional skills

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: By exploring this beautiful fantasy world, kids absorb valuable SEL lessons seamlessly built into gameplay.

Cons: There's no map of Ziggurat, so some kids may have difficulty understanding where their avatar is in relation to other places.

Bottom Line: IF... promotes wise decision-making and respect for others in a fun, adventure-based game.

Teachers can use IF... as a single-student game or as a teacher-led classroom activity. Try using the app in conjunction with other SEL curriculum materials, or design a unit to support IF as a stand-alone curriculum tool. Teachers can find a syllabus and lesson ideas on the developer's website. Teachers may also want to recommend this app to parents; they can reinforce the app's vocabulary and lessons at home to help kids improve social skills and increase emotional intelligence in their daily activities. Teachers and parents can access the dashboard for a report on gameplay and SEL skills practiced in each chapter, as well as related questions and conversation starters.

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Editor's Note: IF... The Emotional IQ Game has closed and is no longer available.

IF... The Emotional IQ Game is an adventure game that helps kids age 6 to 12 develop the skills that lead to emotional intelligence. Inspired by the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling, the app leads kids on a quest that promotes self-awareness and positive social communication. Kids create their own dog avatar and travel through Ziggurat, a glittery fantasy world, fixing things in the environment and collecting "energy creatures" called Vim to cleanse them of dark energy. With the help of a wise Zen-like master, YouDog, kids think about and exercise choices related to core social and emotional learning (SEL) skills like gratitude, helpfulness, and regulation of fear. Characters use language such as "Let's find a win-win," and "This is really frustrating and scary" to help kids learn problem-solving and emotional vocabulary. As YouDog sends kids on missions, they practice skills such as teamwork, grit, and patience. Teachers can view a report on kids' gameplay and skills practiced for each chapter. This first chapter is free; all chapters thereafter require purchase.

The curriculum-based lessons interwoven into gameplay on this quest-style app can help kids develop their emotions-based vocabulary, learn social decision-making, build empathy, and increase their ability to handle stressful situations by labeling feelings and discovering ways to manage stress. Learning the emotions-based vocabulary and communications skills peppered throughout the quest may help kids navigate potentially troublesome situations like bullying, test anxiety, and everyday frustrations in the real world. Especially if teachers reinforce these lessons by using the same language and promote the skills (such as deep breathing) modeled by characters on the app. If used in conjunction with additional SEL curriculum in the classroom, IF... The Emotional IQ Game can be an effective learning tool.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Beautiful visuals and high-quality gameplay create a fun, engaging learning experience. Characters and dialog are hip and relatable, and kids take an active role in the game play and dialog.

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

Wise YouDog discusses situations, feelings, and problems that kids' avatars encounters on the quest. The information presented is curriculum-based and includes communication and emotional intelligence building skills.

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

The app guides kids through the quest with visual cues (such as blinking arrows), verbal instructions, and written information. Adding a map could help kids move through the different areas with more awareness.

Common Sense Reviewer
Dana Villamagna Classroom teacher

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