App review by Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Education | Updated September 2020
Zigazoo
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Zigazoo

Closed video-sharing platform encourages project-based learning

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Grades
K–5
Subjects & Skills
Communication & Collaboration, Creativity, Critical Thinking
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Pros: Lots of great project ideas inspire teachers and kids alike.

Cons: There are limited options for giving feedback on videos or for creating conversations around what students post.

Bottom Line: This video-sharing platform is an open-ended, easy-to-use tool with rich learning potential.

Teachers can use Zigazoo to inspire their students to think about new topics and explore the world around them through project-based learning. Teachers will likely want to start by browsing the project ideas to find ones that might be relevant for their students. They can also make their own challenges. With a bit of creativity, teachers could make video assignments to match virtually any topic they're covering in class. Challenges can introduce a topic to establish what students already know, occur midway through to see what they're learning, or occur at the end of a unit to assess comprehension and open discussion for deeper learning or connections to other topics.

Encourage students to not respond immediately but rather think carefully about what they want to show in their video. Give them time to actually do a science project challenge, invent a song about managing their feelings, or reflect on a social studies question. There's no in-app space for comments, so teachers will want to create a system for giving feedback to students and carrying the learning deeper. Videos post immediately to the whole group; though the classroom is a closed "pod," teachers should still be proactive in watching the submissions to make sure there's nothing inappropriate for sharing with all their students. And, particularly for younger students, teachers will need to get parents on board to help their kids complete the projects and make the videos.

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Zigazoo is a TikTok-style video-sharing app for posting short videos of students completing a variety of kid-appropriate challenges. Activities focus on simple, straightforward projects that ask students to investigate or create something and then share what they've done with videos up to 30 seconds long. Prompts cover a broad range of subjects with challenges such as, "Can you find something that's symmetrical?" or "Can you teach us how to play your favorite sport or physical activity?" or "What should all kids have a right to?"

When teachers sign up, they create a closed "pod" with a special access code to share with their students. Students then create their own accounts using the special code. Teachers can assign any of the available challenges or make a video introducing their own project idea. While viewing a challenge, tap on the record icon to record a response, and then post your video. The Home tab automatically generates user-submitted videos where students can view submissions from others in their class pod. While viewing, tap the heart to like the video or swipe up to advance to the next one. The Discover tab shows daily featured projects and others organized by topic (science, literacy, arts & music, math, social studies, social and emotional, physical education, and challenges). Teachers and students can also subscribe to third-party channels that feature challenges from official content creators such as zoos and children's museums.

Zigazoo's collection of fun challenges is a great way to get kids thinking, trying new things, and engaging in project-based learning. The closed-pod approach creates a safe space where teachers and students can share what they're doing without getting bogged down or overwhelmed by larger communities. And because students do these projects on their own, they have flexibility in terms of how, when, and where to explore the project ideas. There are lots of great ideas to get teachers started in thinking about how to inspire their students, and teachers also have freedom to create their own assignments.

But there are also aspects that could encourage passive consumption, such as the never-ending automatic-play video feed. And, there's little room for diving deep into a topic. For example, there's only so much students can say within the 30-second time limit on video recording, and there's no in-app space for feedback or discussion. Overall, Zigazoo can be a fun social experience that has great potential for stimulating students, but how well it becomes a catalyst for active exploration depends on what teachers and their students do with it.

Overall Rating

Engagement

There are lots of different project ideas that should appeal to a wide variety of interests. If teachers don't provide clear guidance, students may get lost browsing through videos or challenges.

Pedagogy

There's good potential here, but since challenges range from somewhat superficial prompts to ones that encourage deep thinking or exploration, choice of prompt is important. Options for responsive feedback are limited.

Support

Help options are minimal: no easy-to-access support for teachers or students, no guidance for how to use the projects, and no suggestions for enhancing learning.


Common Sense reviewer
Mieke VanderBorght Researcher

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