Review by Debbie Gorrell, Common Sense Education | Updated January 2014
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Xperica HD Pro

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Virtual lab supports learning through scientific inquiry

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Science
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
9-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Interactive experiments give kids hands-on experience without the need for expensive equipment.

Cons: Progress isn't tracked and learning is unstructured, which can be challenging for some kids.

Bottom Line: Though not a replacement for the real thing, this interactive lab promotes scientific inquiry and reinforces several key physical science concepts.

Xperica HD Pro is a great way to include scientific inquiry while teaching physical science. You can use the virtual experiments to complement a lesson or as practice before students conduct an actual experiment. Have students work in small groups to make predictions before manipulating the variables, and make sure they record their results to share and discuss with their classmates. 

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Xperica HD Pro is all about scientific inquiry, using physical science concepts as a framework for learning. At the home screen, kids can choose from 10 experiments, and each one includes background information, goals, procedures, and a list of apparatus. Once they choose an experiment, kids are prompted to tap on the Experiment button to read the goals. If they need more information, kids can tap on the Learn button. The Procedure button gives kids a step-by-step guide for completing the experiment, and the Apparatus button lists the materials used in the experiment. Kids can then begin to manipulate variables in the experiment and observe the outcome. This is the most engaging and empowering part of the app, and kids can instantly see how their changes affect the experiment as a whole. 

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Kids can learn about physical science and experimental design. Through observation, they learn how changes in variables affect the outcome of an experiment. This helps kids deepen their understanding of challenging topics such as projectile motion, hydrostatic pressure, and specific heat. The app also teaches important scientific inquiry skills that are an integral part of the Next Generation Science Standards.

While a virtual experiment is certainly not a replacement for the real thing, being able to explore scientific tools and setups at the tap of a finger can be a meaningful and engaging experience. Learning is open-ended, which encourages kids to go through the process of trial and error. Scores and concrete answers aren't provided, and kids have to keep track of observations and results on their own. At the time of this review, the Challenges feature was not functioning properly.

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Overall Rating

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

The experiments are highly interactive. Kids are empowered as they manipulate variables and observe the outcome.

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

Learning is open ended, which encourages kids to explore concepts without being penalized for wrong answers. Progress tracking and assessment aren't built into 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?

Written instructions are clear, and additional science information is readily available. Hints and audio options would strengthen support.


Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Jeff A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Xperica HD Pro provides professional-level, interactive virtual labs for inquiry-based activities.

This product puts a crisp, interactive virtual science lab in the hands of the students and teachers for demo purposes and inquiry-based activities. With a easy to use interface and barely any learning curve, whole-class, teacher-led activities where students follow guidelines and are asked to make inferences based on the results of tweaking the different variables seems to be the best use of this product. With a beautiful visual display covering a few topics spanning across the physical science spectrum, Xperica HD Pro provides a high-quality alternative to otherwise cost-prohibitive experiments. Teachers will also appreciate the high production value that goes into the creation of this product. However, Xperica HD Pro may not work well as a stand alone learning tool due to the lack of formal, learning-target aligned guidance. Students who struggle with content will most likely find it difficult to glean useful information without an explicit feedback system or exemplar model comparison built-in to the experiment. Hopefully as they expand the number of lab experiment options, they will also more fully develop the capacity of their support structures or direct students to resources (externally or internally) that offer this guidance.

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