Review by Chad Sansing, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2016

Admongo

Media-literacy site has strong material, weak gameplay

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Social Studies
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
5-8
Great for:
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (1 Review)

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Pros: Introduces solid critical consumer concepts and vocabulary in an easily digestible format.

Cons: Mini-games are repetitive and superfluous to learning material.

Bottom Line: There's some useful, unique learning that'll help kids be savvy media consumers, but don't expect them to be hooked.

Teachers can use Admongo to introduce media literacy and critical thinking about advertisements to their classes. The site and its games deliver the vocabulary and basics of media messaging, and Admongo's ad library does a good job of representing the advertising techniques covered on the site. Teachers can begin by checking out the unlocked version of the game and looking at the HTML version of the content. They can also watch the teacher-training videos to make sure they have a solid background in the material themselves. Then teachers can have students play the levels of the game, following up with the site's printables and other supporting materials. Encourage parents to get involved with the lessons, reinforcing learning at home and on the go, with the downloadable lesson plans. Have students share their original advertisements in small groups, then use what they've learned as a jumping-off point for bigger discussions about how the media influences consumers and how to make wise financial decisions in the midst of a consumer culture.

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Admongo is a website about advertising that matches media-literacy content with mini-games. The fairly robust curriculum includes student materials, a video-training series for teachers, parent resources, and a library of sample ads created for the site that showcase different advertising methods. Learning materials offer educators a one-stop solution for introducing media literacy through advertising, but the games are a time-consuming add-on to the curriculum. The HTML-based lessons demonstrate the same material in a fraction of the time.

For the game, players make their way through four levels, platformer-style, each with two to four stages. On each level, students navigate a maze of the Admongo Tower, following along on the mini map, and learn about a different aspect of advertising, including how to identify ads, analyzing ads, evaluating claims and clever ad tricks, and how advertisers target their ads. Finally, in the last level, players design their own ads from included media libraries. When they're complete, students can print a diploma certificate of completion.

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While the gameplay seems layered on top of the educational material, the material itself is quality. Admongo teaches vocabulary, advertising techniques, different types of ads, why it's important to be a smart consumer, how not to be misled by ads, and how to read, question, and understand what they've read. Students also apply their new knowledge, creating their own ads. There are many extension activities in the teacher lesson plans, and teachers are highly encouraged to involve parents in these lessons to reinforce lessons learned, discuss concepts with their children, and educate themselves about what their children are learning. The materials would benefit from some additional, more ambiguous ads that really get kids thinking and discussing the content, but Admongo is a great introduction for most students.

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Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Never really succeeds as a game, as the game elements seem placed on top of the material. Levels are repetitive and not engaging. Players can design their own ads, but they must first get through several levels of bland platforming.

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

While the gameplay will be fun for some, the quality curriculum material feels placed on top. Students will learn more quickly from teachers and parents following the HTML version and utilizing the printable extension materials.

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

Scores in the game are ambiguous and irrelevant, but the collection of curricular material within the game and in all the extension activities really provides an ample experience to learn about how advertising works.


Common Sense Reviewer
Chad Sansing Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 1 reviews) (1 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Miriam K. , Media specialist/librarian
Media specialist/librarian
Cornell Elementary School
Coraopolis, PA
Tech Tool to Teach Advertising

Before having the students work on this site, I sent away for the resources that they offer. I received bookmarks, handouts for families, and a couple of lessons that go along with the site. The resources came pretty quickly. Some important things are missing for me with this site. While there is a lot of student interaction with the game, all of the questions are multiple choice and the answers are pretty basic. The game does a good job with the basic vocabulary. This site does not allow students the option of a deeper kind of thinking. The game is a little hard to control with the buttons used on the keypad.

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