Common Sense Review
Updated May 2012

HippoCampus

Multimedia lectures and simulations good for supplemental instruction
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Common Sense Rating 3
  • The main page lets students browse lessons by topic or by source.
  • Creating an account on the site isn't necessary, but does allow for creating shareable playlists of resources.
  • Online courses are presented as multimedia lectures.
  • Interactive simulations from PhET are linked to each topic.
  • Each topic also includes links to online study groups and blog entries.
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.
Graphite Staff
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

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? 3

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? 4

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

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

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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What's It Like?

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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Is It Good For Learning?

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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See how teachers are using HippoCampus

Lesson Plans