App review by Seann Dikkers, Common Sense Education | Updated February 2013
Ko's Journey

Ko's Journey

Story-based game with math puzzles feels like work

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 2 reviews
Privacy rating
Not yet rated Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
4–8 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.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Critical Thinking

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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.

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.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

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

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

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

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

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

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Susan R. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Lebanon High School
Lebanon, United States
Interesting, relatable math game

Ko’s Journey starts out interesting.

The game toggles between Ko and her adventure to get to the hidden valley where Ko will be reunited with her grandfather, and some real kids recreating the same journey in a video.

It’s an interesting concept that demonstrates real life experience with concepts and practices in the game play.

The game is aligned with Common Core and intended for the 6th and 7th grade levels. The game is somewhat intuitive but some aspects didn’t seem clear, li ...

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