Website review by Pamela Brittain, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2020

Coolmath

Dated site with ads, simple games, limited resources

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 28 reviews
Privacy rating
34%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
1–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Math, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Quick-reference math facts, a glossary of terms, and explanations with examples.

Cons: Old-school interface, and simple games on ad-filled sister site are only loosely tied to math.

Bottom Line: Coolmath has some decent references and short explanations but is dated and uninspiring.

The Coolmath site is a collection of explanation cards that could be used in class to introduce or describe certain topics. It might be useful for students needing a refresher in various math concepts as a friendlier alternative to a textbook. There are some interactive elements that show concepts, but many of these require Flash, and some don't seem to work.

The site is also linked to a math games site (Coolmath Games) where some of the games could be used to teach strategy or practice concepts. However, many of the games aren't really math-focused -- they're described as "brain-training" --  and may be more useful as a reward or break for students. 

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Coolmath is part of a collection of websites that includes Coolmath Games and Coolmath4Kids. The main site -- Coolmath -- covers concepts for grades 6–12 including pre-algebra, algebra, and pre-calculus. Coolmath4Kids offers content for students from grades K–5, and the games there come from Arcademics. And Coolmath Games has a variety of "brain-training" games. The Coolmath4Teachers and Coolmath4Parents sites seem to be pages with links to the other sites.

The main site has lessons that cover a variety of concepts with explanations and creative ways to remember things. There's also a glossary and a "survival guide," which is a (long) pep talk in segments for students who dislike or struggle with math.

In terms of positives, the range of topics on Coolmath and Coolmath4Kids is impressive, and the reference tools could be useful. The lessons might also be helpful for kids who avoid using the textbook for explanations but could use an accessible reminder here and there. 

However, the main Coolmath site uses a very dated interface: a black screen with white and neon text, which could be difficult for some students to read. The content cards and tools and references sections are quite useful but lack any real interactivity, and most of the interactive elements no longer function properly. Students don't really get a chance to develop their own methods of understanding the materials and are required to follow the steps provided in the materials presented. The games are part of a separate website that requires a subscription to remove the numerous ads. Many of the games also require the students to install and use Flash within their browser. Most importantly, the games often don't reinforce math concepts, and if they do, it's rudimentary practice at best. So, if you're looking to offer students some fun, free math games, you might want to look to more current,  learning-focused options.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Coolmath's design is fairly outdated and visually busy. The games use very simple mechanics that most students won't find particularly interesting or challenging, though they might prefer them to written work.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

A collection of written lessons include examples and ways to remember concepts but are static and one-dimensional. The games on Coolmath Games are offered as "brain training," and most don't reinforce math skills.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

The sites for teachers and parents -- Coolmath4Teachers and Coolmath4Parents -- offer only links to the other sites. Games do include instructions for how to play. 


Common Sense reviewer
Pamela Brittain Researcher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Michael R. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
I.S. 34 Tottenville
Staten Island, United States
When in doubt, THROW IT OUT!
I would stay away from this site. It asks students to log-in and has multiple opportunities for mis-clicks which download adware and malware to the students devices. There are better sites available like physics.com that have all of the pro's of coolmath.com without the adware and malware. It's an IT educator's nightmare.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Unclear whether profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Unclear whether opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Unclear whether users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Unclear whether data are shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is displayed.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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