Common Sense Review
Updated February 2013

Ko's Journey

Story-based game with math puzzles feels like work
Common Sense Rating 2
  • Guide Ko on her quest and solve math problems along the way.
  • Your ancestor prompts you to go on a journey.
  • Making a medicinal poultice requires ratios.
  • Each problem brings you closer to your journey’s end.
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.
Seann Dikkers
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense 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.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use 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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What's It Like?

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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Is It Good For Learning?

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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