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Review by Andrea Zellner, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013

Mobento

A convenient search for curated educational videos from the Web

Common Sense says
Teachers say (2 Reviews)
$avg_user_learning_rating
Grades
9-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: The videos are high-quality and support learning in a variety of subjects.

Cons: Passively viewing content isn't the most interactive way for students to learn; captions could help increase accessibility for more students.

Bottom Line: The site's powerful search makes it a valuable resource for teachers looking for videos on the go.

For many teachers, videos are an engaging way to introduce a learning unit or to supplement instruction. While the right video can be hard to find, teachers will definitely appreciate Mobento for its high-quality content. 

The excellent search tool is especially helpful for busy, on-the-go teachers -- the quick search will be a real time-saver for finding just the right video to meet their needs. Additionally, teachers might want to recommend the app to students who have access to a mobile device -- either those who may need some extra support,or those who might benefit from some enrichment in a particular subject.

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Mobento is focused on finding high-quality learning videos from around the Internet for students' and teachers' benefit. Offerings on the app include videos from both TED and Khan Academy, among others. The Mobento app allows teachers and students to search for and watch videos from a curated selection of content. Mobento claims that its search algorithm allows users to search the words within their curated list of videos; this helps locate the most appropriate video for their learning needs. 

Users sign up for "courses" based on topic and then proceed to view the related videos or bookmark them for later viewing. Users are encouraged to "favorite" videos in order to help others on the site find the best content more easily. Additionally, users can leave comments and take personal notes on each of the videos. Social media sharing is encouraged through Facebook, Twitter, and email.

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Mobento focuses primarily on topics in science and math but also includes a few humanities-based "courses" like world history, world religions, and education; new topics are added from time to time. The app's search feature is its most powerful tool; the ability to quickly find the best videos from around the Web -- based on the video's content -- is an outstanding feature.  

The app is easy to navigate, and its simple interface allows for users to quickly engage with the content. However, with such a strong search feature, it's disappointing that Mobento doesn't offer captions for every video. In many cases, determined users may be able to find the videos on their original sites and enable captions there. TED, Khan Academy, and other learning sites from which Mobento pulls its content offer a captions option -- it would be great if this feature could work within the app. Overall, while it's nice to find these curated videos in one place, an even more extensive collection would help round out the site.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

The videos are high quality and organized into helpful topics -- the site is easy to navigate. Students' engagement will vary, as some videos are simply more intriguing fun to watch than others.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Videos are carefully vetted and arranged by educational topic -- users select only from high-quality videos.  The search tool quickly locates videos -- users can search using key words or even a question.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
2

It's fairly intuitive to use, but there's little support beyond general help forums. When watching videos through the app, a captions option would be a helpful tool.


Teacher Reviews

3
(See all 2 reviews) (2 reviews)
Featured review by
Stephanie T. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Detroit Country Day School
Beverly Hills, MI
3
Curated Video Learning On-the-Go

I find this teaching tool to be great for educators and students because the content is carefully chosen so that it can be trusted to be of top-notch, educational quality. One really great aspect of the app is that teachers and students can search for words spoken in the video and the search will even tell the individual the frequency at which the word or term they searched for is used. Another aspect that I find enjoyable is that it offers a plethora of courses from a course on prime numbers to a course on blood pressure control!
The app has twenty-seven categories, which are mostly history, math and science-based. One downfall is that it would be nice to see more of the arts (both visual and written) represented, as this app would not be of much help for an English educator.
Another downfall in using the app is that the app seems a bit buggy at times, as the search tool takes a while to load and the search findings are sluggish when populating. I would definitely suggest using the Mobento web interface if a user is interested in having quicker response times when searching.

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