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Pros: The step-by-step help for kids is incredibly valuable, and detailed data reports for teachers allow for even more individualized learning.
Cons: While working through the steps is really helpful, there's no clear fun factor that appeals to kid sensibilities.
Bottom Line: It's a great tool for filling in learning gaps and for individualizing learning; kids get practice that really helps them grasp concepts.
This could become an invaluable classroom tool for teachers in many ways. Its developers tout LearnBop as a way to identify and fill in learning gaps from previous years so that kids are ready to learn at their own grade level. In fact, you can use LearnBop to identify and improve problem areas for each individual student. Alignment to Common Core standards for each step of each “bop” helps you identify exactly where kids are having problems, and class and individual data collection helps you know where to focus their efforts for maximum effect. Identifying stronger learners and weaker learners can also help you group kids together for effective peer tutoring. Assign problems for individuals to do in class or at home, or use a smart board to demonstrate problems to the class or small groups.
LearnBop is a virtual tutorial system that takes kids through math problems step by step, giving hints where kids need help and identifying gaps in the basic knowledge behind more complicated concepts. Helpful hints include pictures, graphs, and/or video explanations (courtesy of partner site LearnZillion). All problems are directly related to a specific Common Core State Standard, so kids and teachers easily identify the concept behind the problem and the relevant grade level. You can create classes, assign “bops,” and see detailed performance reports that include data on which problems kids answered correctly or incorrectly, which concepts posed problems, which students were strong or weak in which specific areas, and so on.
Wouldn’t it be nice if kids all had personal tutors who could help them work through difficult problems, fill in gaps in basic knowledge, and patiently provide hints and extra information to encourage comprehension? LearnBop may not be exactly that -- it's just a computer program, after all, and is thus limited by what it's been programmed to do -- but it does get pretty darn close. When kids answer a problem incorrectly (or choose the Ask for Help option), LearnBop starts in with a clear, purposeful breakdown of the different pieces of knowledge kids need to solve the problem. Each step of the way, kids can ask for more help, or answer the substeps and move on to eventually answering the target problem correctly. Teachers get an amazingly detailed view of what their students are doing, which can help them pinpoint problem areas. Ultimately, these details make LearnBop stand out among tutorial sites, and may really make a difference for kids who need to see every step for true understanding of concepts.
LearnBop does have a schoolwork vibe, so some kids may not feel totally engaged. But a friendly interface featuring two cute panda guides and, most of all, the empowering feeling of actually understanding math will be motivation enough for most. It would be great if content were expanded to tackle even more complex math concepts, making this a place where high school students could get step-by-step assistance on trickier advanced math topics.