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Review by Shaun Langevin, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2018

Yogome Students

Collection of K-5 mini-games don't add up to strong learning

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Skills
N/A
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.
K–5
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Pros: Fun and modern looking; some games provide valuable practice.

Cons: Many games lack the depth to truly practice a skill, avatars for students need more diversity, teacher companion app is clunky.

Bottom Line: It's more engaging than a worksheet, but teachers will need to spend time selecting worthwhile games for their students.

Teachers can use Yogome Students to give their kids an opportunity to play mini-games, reviewing skills they've already attained. It would be best used in 10- or 15-minute chunks, making it an option for a center activity or for students who benefit from the increased engagement of an iPad. Teachers will need to download and install the Yogome Teachers app to create classes, groups, and a customized sequential path of games called a "playlist." A playlist can be made for math, science, health, art (including music), coding, world languages (Spanish), geography, and sustainability. The Yogome Teachers app isn't quite as polished as the student version, and the process of setting students up and then assigning customized playlists takes a fair amount of trial and error. The tutorial within the app isn't very helpful and feels more like an advertisement of features.

Many of the games on Yogome Students are similar, but a teacher could carefully create a playlist that would provide a fresh experience for a brief period. Teachers will want to try each game before assigning it to make sure that students will truly be practicing the intended skills and concepts, as not all the games may prove to be valuable. 

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Yogome Students is an iOS and Android app where K-5 students practice a variety of academic skills by playing mini-games. Generally, the mini-games are quick and simple, with students doing things such as picking missing addends to feed a dinosaur, labeling a volcano, using coordinates on a graph to fire on an object, guiding aircraft to a certain continent, or feeding a monster a certain fruit when given the name in Spanish.

After avatar selection, students will be able to choose the subject area, represented by planets such as "Mathdromeda" or "Sciencestein" to work in -- though the teacher can make only the subject areas they want students to practice in available. By default, students will begin with skills in the grade level they're assigned and work through grade 5. The app tells students if they're right or wrong but doesn't adapt to student performance. If a teacher has assigned a custom playlist, students will play those games in the order the teacher has assigned them, and then continue on with default activities. After completing a mini-game, students earn coins that they spend in the Yogo-Village to build buildings to feed and take care of avatars they've obtained while playing. There's also a "battle mode," where students tap quickly on the screen to fight another avatar. This isn't a learning game, and the teacher can disable it from the Yogome Teacher app; this app allows teachers to create classes, groups, and playlists.
 

The first time students log in to Yogome Students, they can choose an avatar. Although kids can choose from various skin tones, not all genders are offered in combination with each skin tone, which is somewhat confusing. An improvement would be for the developer to offer a variety of skin tones, each in combination with multiple genders, or allow avatars to be customized.

The games themselves vary in quality. Some do offer good practice at a particular skill, while others are superficial. A game about graphing coordinates practices the skill in a way a teacher might expect: Students need to figure out the correct coordinates to fire a shot that will destroy an object on that grid, repeating the process a few times before moving on. Some games only give one answer option, meaning that students will get the correct answer without thinking. The app offers guidance by telling students what to drag where, but this often gives away the answer and then the game's over. The Spanish games consist mostly of tapping or dragging a few fruits or colors. One questionable activity asks students to decide which pill their avatar should consume to multiply their size by the desired amount.

There's no option to create or customize the content of specific games to suit a student or specific curricular need. Almost all of the games are too short, lasting less than a minute and in some cases under 10 seconds. This will likely result in students spending more time getting coins and moving to the next game than actually playing and reinforcing learning. Although a brisk pace can help keep students engaged, practicing a single skill one time doesn't provide much reinforcement.

Overall Rating

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

These mini-games would be engaging to most K-5 students, but they would easily become monotonous if overused. 

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

The app is designed to practice already learned skills, but most activities are so brief and shallow that the teacher might consider other options.

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 companion teacher app takes some trial and error to get working, but the student version is intuitive. Some learners may find it difficult to play games where the directions aren't read aloud. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Shaun Langevin Technology coordinator

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