Review by Seann Dikkers, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013

Ko's Journey

Story-based game with math puzzles feels like work

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Teachers say (2 Reviews)
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Grades
4-8 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Extended story problems integrate math computations.

Cons: Gameplay is repetitive and dull, and some confusing problems require extensive classroom support.

Bottom Line: Though it's more fun than worksheets, this game's engagement factor is so low that kids may dread it.

Unlike other math games, such as Manga High or Dimension MKo's Journey doesn't adjust to or have ability levels; the designers planned the game to be tightly connected to classroom lessons and practice so students would come prepared to solve problems. It does equip you with easy access to student progress in the form of data feedback. Kids can progress over multiple logins, and they, too, can see a screen that shows their position in the story.

You can set up an account and negotiate a school rate for the game. The individual rate per student is $39.

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Ko's Journey uses the story of Ko to teach fractions, x-y coordinates, ratios, volume, and multi-step story problems.

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Ko's Journey suffers from the "chocolate-covered broccoli" issue many math games struggle with. The game by itself is not entertaining; the player has minimal control over activities. For instance, in mini-games about hunting and gathering, the player does nothing but wait for the random result to pop up. Video explanations play only after players complete the math. All sections have one "right" answer, and problems can be frustrating. Some problems are initially complex and require returning to explanations multiple times. Kids may even feel incompetent, especially if they have to replay audio instructions multiple times with classmates listening in. 

If students already have some exposure to the concepts, they'll find this game better than worksheets but not as fun as informal gaming.

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Overall Rating
2

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
1

Ko's Journey is designed for classroom use and might be more interesting than worksheets, but it's not entertaining in itself.  

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
2

This is drill practice, and the app is built on traditional pedagogical principals. Still, the story does add some context. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
4

This product is built as a classroom supplement, and the supports and planning tools are its greatest -- though perhaps only -- strength.


Common Sense Reviewer
Seann Dikkers Researcher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Alan L. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
2
Initially engages the students but then they get turned off.

Initially very engaging for the students but it quickly wore off. There is an area that shows the scores the students earn at the end of each section. The scores only indicate that student have responded to the question. It gives students credit for saying "I don't know."
Also, the only way for me to preview the questions was to write the publisher and ask for an additional account. They responded quickly and provided a free account.

Overall, not a very teacher or student friendly experience.

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