Tract

Student creators show what they know on video-based learning platform

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Expert evaluation by Common Sense

Grades

3–12

Subjects & Skills

Communication & Collaboration, Creativity

Great for

Creating Media, Differentiation, Digital Citizenship, Instructional Design, Media Literacy, PBL

Price: Free
Platforms: Web

Pros: Learning paths put students in the creator’s seat from the start, allowing students to design content and challenges for others.

Cons: There are only 3rd-party accessibility and multilingual supports, and the seven-week lesson plan might feel daunting.

Bottom Line: Teachers who want to encourage inquiry, PBL, and student-led lessons will find Tract has all the bases covered.

How Can I Teach with This Tool?

In an era of content creation via sites like YouTube and TikTok, Tract provides teachers and students with a safe platform that’s dedicated to teaching and learning. In a video-based format a bit like Zigazoo, students teach each other about a wide range of topics. As they learn and create, they earn coins. Teachers can assign and keep track of student progress in a dashboard, and there's an embedded community.

A great place for teachers to start is to simply explore the projects - you can find challenges on nearly any topic and share them with your students to introduce them to the platform. Note that some creators have made a lot of videos, so quality varies. It definitely won’t be long before students want to design their own content. Maybe you want kids to create a learning path about the impact of plastic on the ocean’s ecosystem and require them to complete two or three challenges created by their peers (bonus if they earn enough coins to donate to an environmental cause). Or perhaps you’re teaching students an algebraic concept and would like them to explain it via video presentation and then see how others engage with their lessons. 

There are plenty of opportunities to have students to complete learning paths on the same topic in this way. However, the site it set up so that kids can learn from one another, so giving them time to explore and interact with others’ challenges can be just as effective as having them create their own. Teachers can take on the role of guide or facilitator while allowing kids the freedom to explore, engage, and create. Whether it’s a passion project, a PBL challenge, or a genius hour initiative, letting kids teach concepts their way and engage with other students doing the same will make the experience all the more meaningful. The seven-week Learn Through Teaching Lesson Plan can help you get started. Note that the tips for students only come in video form. Also, make sure students only use coins as they're intended, since it's possible to use them for digital and physical prizes. Teachers may want to provide opportunities for students to reflect on their process, their collection of videos, what makes an effective video, and more.

Learning Rating

Overall Rating
Engagement

With thoughtful teacher guidance and facilitation, kids will love making their own challenges and interacting with others on the site.

Pedagogy

Teachers can provide opportunities for active learning experiences, encouraging kids to both create and participate in challenges and think critically about content.

Support

The site is a natural fit for differentiating instruction since students are able to create content. Whether kids are explaining how to make a bookmark or giving a lesson on DNA, there are learning opportunities at all levels.

Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

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