Common Sense Review
Updated November 2015


Competent test prep with minimal teacher dashboard gets the job done
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Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Test-friendly multiple-choice questions
  • Animated word problems add some engaging flair
  • Spartan dashboard gives teachers some administrative control
  • Adding students is a one-at-a-time affair, unless students add themselves.
  • Reports on completion times and percent correct are available.
A nice option for individualized, self-paced test prep that requires very little teacher work and generates helpful student data.
Gives little meaningful feedback and doesn’t promote deep learning, as discovery features are voluntary and separate from direct instruction lessons.
Bottom Line
A good option for students who need a little more practice at their own pace or for those heavy note-takers who crave a good worksheet in an inquiry-heavy classroom.
Galen McQuillen
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Experience is similar to a standards-heavy, direct-instruction math classroom. It’s nicely presented and self-paced with some discovery-oriented tools, but there's not much to encourage deep engagement beyond the content.

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

The direct instruction style used isn’t necessarily bad; in fact, some guided practice and digital manipulatives make it about as good as a lecture can get. Independent practice will be familiar to standardized test-takers.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

Students and teachers get data on progress, but little help available outside of lessons. Feedback of the right/wrong variety. Could work fine for test prep with teacher support, but students may struggle using as a standalone product.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

This would work well for at-home test prep or additional individual student practice for teachers who would rather devote class time to rich conceptual understanding. The testing-style questions and procedural lessons help build student familiarity with common state assessments, and the self-paced, semi-interactive, narrative lectures will serve the needs of those heavy-note-taking mastery learners who crave worksheets.

Most students will likely need some live guidance to see the value of the separate open-ended digital manipulatives and to decide when to move on to practice and assessment. As such, it would be tough to see Brainingcamp working well as a standalone curriculum or tool for a flipped classroom, so those uses are not recommended.

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What's It Like?

Brainingcamp may be the answer to two common questions many math teachers grapple with: “How can I individualize test prep for each student?” and “How can I support mastery learners when my classroom is inquiry-based and guided by constructivist principles?” Featuring Flash-based interactive slide decks with a Smartboard-like interface, students click through lessons on many middle school math topics, then complete standardized-test-style practice questions and assessments.

On the administration side of things, a spartan dashboard allows teachers to create classes, assign learning activities and assessments to classes (but not individuals), and generate very simple reports. Students must be entered one by one or may set up their own accounts; a full-class import feature is sadly nowhere to be found.

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Is It Good For Learning?

At its core, Brainingcamp is a prerecorded direct-instruction curriculum that does a good job of teaching procedural math skills in a standardized-test-friendly way. It offers some features that give it a discovery-learning flavor, such as free-play digital manipulatives, but multiple-choice questions and easily reducible word problems promote just as much learning as needed for benchmark assessments.

Brainingcamp has a crisp, functional, but bare-bones design; a nicely animated lecture approach with limited interactivity; and sparse student feedback. This site works best as a supplement to inquiry-based curricula. It’s great direct instruction, but giving users more feedback beyond right/wrong and making separate exploration and discovery tools a more integrated part of the learning experience would push Brainingcamp into elite edtech territory.

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