Review by Common Sense Editor, Common Sense Education | Updated May 2012


Multimedia lectures and simulations good for supplemental instruction

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Teachers say (5 Reviews)
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9-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Topics cover a wide range, including math, science, and social studies.

Cons: Some topics are not covered very well, and many of the resources are just pulled together from other sites.

Bottom Line: This one-stop shop for free distance learning resources is a reliable place for enrichment or remediation.

Teachers and students don't need an account to use the resources on HippoCampus. They can browse material by topic (organized in a hierarchy by subject) or by collection (the sources include Khan Academy and a clearinghouse of online courses). Alternatively, students and teachers can search for a particular topic.

Each topic offers a collection of related materials that include video lessons, entire online courses, and digital simulations. There isn't much guidance about how to move through these, but most of the activities are self-explanatory and appropriate for high school students. Assessment is built into the online courses, part of the NROC collection, but the other tools don't include it. Therefore, teachers should probably guide students by preselecting activities and providing pre- and/or post-tests.

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HippoCampus does a good job of partnering with several providers of online video lessons and simulations to bring together high-quality learning resources in one place. The fact that this tool is free is both surprising and understandable. The collections that HippoCampus draws from are all freely available, but this site organizes the resources in ways that make them much more useful together. Appropriate for high school students, the lessons and simulations cover a range of topics in math, science, and social studies.

Lessons are organized by topic, although students and teachers can browse by collection or by connected textbook. The site includes a powerful search feature to find just the right lessons for your needs. For each topic, there’s a wide assortment of video lessons and simulations powered by some of the big names in digital learning, such as Khan Academy and PhET. Students can also link from each topic to online study groups and blog entries.

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HippoCampus lessons would make a good supplement to high school classroom instruction. Advanced students could explore topics that interest them or find useful resources that might help others. HippoCampus is the perfect tool for a "flipped classroom," as teachers can assign lessons from the site and follow up with small group and hands-on activities in class. Many of the lessons are appropriate for remediating students who are struggling with grade-level material, as sometimes a student just needs to see the concepts in a new way in order to grasp them better.

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Overall Rating

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

Engaging interactive simulations provide live feedback to kids. On-screen educators present clear and compelling lectures in good-sized clips.

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

Some of the content is relatively direct and non-interactive, but simulations and visuals offer an effective learning experience for older kids.

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

There's ample access to supports, including troubleshooting help, and each collection has its own support system.

Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Lorita W. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Nyc, NY
Use Your Brain!! HippoCampus is a great resource for anyone who wants a dynamic learning experience for their classroom.

The feature I like best is the ability for the site to host just about any type of media.

PRO- Endless possibilities for publishing resources.

CON- Teacher may have to set up various "classes" to provide less options for struggling students; because may be a bit overwhelming with so many choices.

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