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


Multimedia lectures and simulations good for supplemental instruction

Subjects & skills
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (5 Reviews)

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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

(See all 5 reviews) (5 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Teresa B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Anthony Spangler Elementary School
Milpitas, CA
Looks like a good resource for teachers, but may be difficult for younger students to navigate.
I have not used this website in my classroom, however I can invision how HippoCampus could be useful in my instruction. It appears that you can easily create an account with HippoCampus to help organize your videos into a playlist. Then, you can share your lists with other users. This is a great way to organize helpful videos. However, to simply watch videos, it does not appear that you need to sign up for an account. After exploring the site, I would imagine that this website was designed for older students rather than younger ones. Perhaps middle school or high school students would find the most this website most helpful. My elementary students would likely have some difficulty navigating the site. When I most recently explored this site, I found video content to be organized into four categories: Math, Natural Science, Social Science, and Humanities. The majority of videos that I watched provided solid explanation, but little if any actual practice for students. Also, some videos required users to download them. This extra step could be less inviting for some students. Finally, I found some of the videos to be outdated and dry. These videos quickly lost my interest, as they would students' interests. Read full review