Common Sense Review
Updated November 2013

AdaptedMind

Slick on the surface math site missing important details
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Common Sense Rating 2
  • Practice page overview lists practice sets by topic and allows kids to access content in different ways.
  • Practice consists of problems or questions with input boxes stacked confusingly and earned badges displayed quite prominently.
  • Explanation following an incorrect answer provides details but doesn't necessarily target misunderstanding well. Not all explanations are laid out the same.
  • Worksheets can be printed out but not accessed directly online despite that appearance here.
  • Videos are "mostly from Khan Academy" with maybe 15 percent supplemented by AdaptedMind. Quality and accuracy vary.
  • Teacher account Progress page seems clear but options can be confusing especially the list by common core standards layout.
Pros
Visuals look great and the and the curriculum is very thorough.
Cons
Tons of nit-picky problems add up to a confusing experience.
Bottom Line
This math curriculum looks nice, but its learning experience lacks attention to detail.
Leslie Crenna
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 2
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 2

Design is colorful and cute, but the points-for-badges system may only scratch the surface of interest for kids when the actual math questions are pretty bare-bones.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Blackboard-style videos, worksheets, and explanations for mistakes support different learning styles, but lower grades may have a hard time following the blackboard lessons.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 2

Lots of small inconsistencies and layout problems make finding help confusing. There's an audio option, which is nice, but the voice is kind of stilted.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

AdapatedMind is intended to be a full pre-assessment, progress tracking, lesson, and practice product. However, you would be wise to carefully check out each and every lesson ahead of time to be sure that videos match practice sets and that explanations for incorrect answers are well targeted. While you can track progress, it would very difficult to pinpoint specific difficulties since success is reported only in percentages and total number correct. If you were to use it for homework practice, you would likely need to use it for in-class work as well to avoid "We didn't do that in class" situations.

Lower grade blackboard video lessons -- while not so great for native English speaking first graders -- could be quite useful for ELL or low literacy students to learn math vocabulary. Because pre-test results generate a percent of the whole curriculum mastered figure but don't seem to be available for comparison to any kind of post tests, their use is limited. You could use a random practice set as a post test, but results are not kept separate if the set is retried at a later date. 

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What's It Like?

AdaptedMind is a website that teaches kids math through a series of lessons. It assembles about 60 lessons per grade (for grades 1 through 6), each one with a 20-question practice set, at least one video clip, and multiple worksheets. Upon login, kids take a pre-test to generate a percentage of the curriculum mastered number, then move on to select any lesson in their grade, or any other grade if they wish. Kids earn cute visual badges and points towards mastery when they answer correctly and pop-up explanations when they make mistakes. Videos are about 85 percent from Khan Academy with native (original content from AdaptedMind) videos making up the remaining 15 percent.

You can assign lessons and register up to 35 students with email-free usernames and passwords. The student Progress page mostly provides a summary of percentage correct for lessons and the total number correct out of 20. The teacher Progress page shows an overview for all students plus provides access to that same student summary page for each student.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Despite looking pretty darn good, AdaptedMind could use some fine-tuning. The highlights: colors are vivid, badges are cute, points count up and inform users of progress continuously, and curriculum is somewhat thorough. However, there are a lot of drawbacks. Layout problems will confuse kids, and basic worksheets aren't very exciting (and some annoyingly displayed onscreen when they can't be completed there).

Explanations are offered for incorrect answers, but they're inconsistent and don't always address the particular problem the student's having. A third-grade single digit decimal multiplication mistake led to a supporting video that used four places. The presentation of questions can also create confusion. For example, place value questions alternate back and forth between "How many hundreds are in the number 568?" (5) and "What is the value of the hundreds digit in the number 568?" (500). Finally, though they claim to be fully standards-aligned, not all state standards are included (North Dakota and Alaska at least are missing) and the Common Core standards listed on the teacher's Progress page are difficult to relate to practice sets and don't necessarily map to the questions offered in the sets. While AdaptedMind makes a valiant effort, a fine tooth comb is needed to make this a fully useful product.

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