Info-rich site could use detailed performance tracking tools

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Subjects & Skills

Character & SEL, College & Career Prep, English Language Arts, Math, Science

Great for

Differentiation, Instructional Strategies

Price: Free to try, Paid
Platforms: Web

Pros: Kids can access a variety of learning materials, including videos, exercises, and games; adults can monitor their activity.

Cons: The site has a monthly fee, multiple plug-ins are required, and only teachers can see standards-alignment information.

Bottom Line: Cosmeo offers plenty of content but would be a stronger resource if users could get better feedback about scores and progress.

Use Cosmeo to encourage students to do extra reading about certain topics, or utilize the site's practice exercises outside of class. You could also show the site's videos during class as a way to support curriculum-based lessons. If students are using the site on their own, controls allow teachers block certain words from searches and monitor students' viewing history on the site.

Teachers who are very familiar with their state's standards with will likely have an easier time using Cosmeo; subtopics correlate to various standards, but the site's videos are the only items that are clearly identified by standard.

Billed as an online homework-help service, the Discovery Channel's Cosmeo has a plethora of material to help kids extend learning beyond the classroom, including interactive games, videos, slideshows, tutorials, and other educational items. Students (presumably along with their parents) must register with the site in order to access the home page and resources.

Content is grouped by subject area (science, math, social studies, English, health, art, and music), and every section also contains additional, more specific topics. For example, if you click on chemistry in the science section, you'll also see a list of more specific subjects, like molecules and compounds. Users can also view content by grade level groups (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12). Once logged in, students' main pages will also display a number of clickable extra features, like links to games, explorations, videos, and a "Today in History" section.

Cosmeo's varied materials present information in diverse, often personalized ways. Interactive exercises help kids practice a variety of academic skills. Many of the exercises include a lesson on the topic, as well as feedback to kids' responses. Users can easily save videos, articles, and other items to a folder to organize research. A number of sections list related videos for extra instruction, and kids can jot down on-screen notes for future reference.

Controls let teachers and parents block content, as well as view a child's access history, if desired. The site claims to display kids' game scores; however, functionality here seems a bit shaky. For teachers, more specific and detailed reports on students' use would be a very useful tool. Some of the games require extra plug-ins, and while site is optimized for Windows, Mac users may not have the smoothest experience. With limits on registration for free student accounts, some teachers may hesitate to use the site. Nevertheless, for a limited number of students -- or those with their own access -- Cosmeo can be a helpful resource for extended learning and support.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Videos, articles, educational games, and more all help kids learn in different ways. Some activities personalize learning with real-world activities that are accessible to most any student.
Kids learn about grade-specific concepts in science, math, social studies, health, art, music, and language arts. Several activities offer feedback, and students can save notes as they work.
The Extras section has games, clip art for illustrating reports, links to educator-approved websites, and the Curriculum Explorer tool, which helps search for videos by grade, topic, and curriculum standard.
Common Sense reviewer

Community Rating

Cosmeo- Out of this world "extra" resource for further learning!

Cosmeo is an extensive collection of free games and videos that could be found outside of this website, however, it is very convenient to have these child friendly resources right at your fingertips. Students can organize information they want to keep into a folder, which is helpful when they are conducting research or for future reference. In addition, Cosmeo lets the student explore at his or her own pace and with their own pathway of interest. As a teacher, I would have liked to see a report of what students did on Cosmeo and their scores, as a way to see if the resources on Cosmeo were a credible influence to improving their achievement in my classroom. I also would like the ability to assign certain topics as a way to reteach, provide practice or even test prep for particular students.

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