Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
TopIQ is best suited for individual play. Teachers can set up accounts for every student and then send them off to play games and practice skills. As new games unlock, kids will need access to an Internet connection to download them, or teachers can download all the games ahead of time. Be aware, though: With so much content, it's easy for kids to get caught up in wanting to keep playing. Set clear time limits. Teachers get detailed progress reports, which can help point their classroom instruction in the right direction. They can also pick and choose which topics will show up for kids. Turn off the ones that are not relevant for each student. While not ideally suited to the task, TopIQ could be used as an assessment tool or comprehension check.Continue reading Show less
TopIQ used to be Agnitus Personal Learning Program but got a new name and a bit of a makeover. In the new version, kids forge a personalized path through a collection of games, videos, books, and songs. Topics focus mostly on early math and literacy (topics include counting, tracing letters, patterns, and letter recognition) but also touch on a few general themes like personal hygiene and career options. Activities need to be downloaded, and then they are grayed out until kids earn enough stars to unlock them. As kids progress, the material also gets more challenging to meet kids at just the right level. In addition to unlocking new games, kids also earn awards for completing games and mastering content. Grown-ups can see very detailed progress reports, which describe what kids are playing, point out strengths and weaknesses, and provide general information about the curriculum and individual games.
With lots of well-designed games, kids get great practice and opportunites for skill building. It's nice that kids start out with some basic games before they can move on to more challenging material, but the path feels a bit overly restrictive. Quick learners are forced to slog through really basic content before they're allowed access to other games. It would also be nice to have more control over the path kids take through the content. There's nice in-game support for kids who are having trouble choosing the right answer, thought there are a few games that either are poorly explained or present information without enough context; for example, the purpose of a counting game with different types of food might be confusing to some kids. Detailed progress reports provide teachers and parents with valuable information about how and what kids are learning.
Key Standards Supported
Counting And Cardinality
Understand the relationship between numbers and quantities; connect counting to cardinality.
Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
Distinguish between defining attributes (e.g., triangles are closed and three-sided) versus non-defining attributes (e.g., color, orientation, overall size); build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes.
Correctly name shapes regardless of their orientations or overall size.
Operations And Algebraic Thinking
Represent addition and subtraction with objects, fingers, mental images, drawings2, sounds (e.g., claps), acting out situations, verbal explanations, expressions, or equations.
Key Standards Supported
Reading Foundational Skills
Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or many of the most frequent sound for each consonant.