Review by Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013

JumpStart Academy Math

Adaptive classroom math tool offers individualized lessons, fun games

Subjects & skills
  • Math

  • 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 (3 Reviews)

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Pros: It's both adaptive and fun.

Cons: Some graphics may be too small for kids to count properly.

Bottom Line: JumpStart Academy is an individualized game-based curriculum that can take the work out of indvidualized instruction.

JumpStart Academy Math is best if integrated regularly into students’ math curriculum. Younger students especially will need assistance as they begin using the games, but once kids get the hang of it they can work more independently with the program. Some students may not be interested in their avatar; those students may be motivated by competition. If they finish their independent lessons then they can participate in real time team based games online. Students form 2 or more teams within their class to compete against each other.   

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JumpStart Academy Math (formerly Sokikom) is a website and Chrome app that offers individualized math programs for the classroom. Students begin by taking a diagnostic assessment; the results are used to determine their skill level and allow the program to create a unique set of lessons for each kid. The lessons are interactive, with online manipulatives. Themes include  pirates, sharks, and more fun characters that make lessons very game-like and fun for kids. Kids choose an avatar, and they're rewarded by fun personalization options: as they play games they can earn points, letting them individualize their avatar accessory by accessory.

JumpStart Academy's greatest strength is its adaptability. All students will be working at their own pace, and each lesson moves along based on their responses. If a student finishes the lesson without earning 80% competency, they're given a one-minute help video. After watching it, kids get a chance to retry the lesson. The program is too diagnostic for a kid to slip by without understanding a concept -- that's really helpful.

The games are pedagogically sound. They build on each other: as kids gain one skill, they'll use it to master the next. One quibble: lots of games rely on a digital version of math tiles. Unfortunately, the tiles are very small, making it difficult to count them. As a result, a student who actually understands a concept may get it wrong just because they can't see the tiles properly. This means that some games will not be an option for kids with even minor visual challenges.

Overall Rating

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

Well-designed, fun math games let kids compete against themselves and others. However, some of the visuals aren't very clear (tiny number tiles that are hard to see, for example).

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

Each student’s math curriculum is personalized in this very responsive program. Different levels allow kids to grow every day, building on skills they learned the day before.

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

Clear data reports allow kids, teachers, and parents to see progress. Help videos are readily available when kids need assistance.

Common Sense Reviewer
Emily Pohlonski Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 3 reviews) (3 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
DeAnn K. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Kids love to "play" and teacher reports help guide student learning
This is one of the best products that I have tried and I consistently used it in class both in a situation with limited technology and in a 1:1 environment. The personal avatar that students create and continue to modify based on the points earned in playing the games is extremely motivating. Also the team play aspect has been a huge hit with the students and contributed to the collaborative learning environment. I appreciate the extensive reports that I use to inform instruction. The teacher can select lessons to be shown in group instruction, but the one wish I have with Sokikom is to be able to assign game play at an individual level to coordinate with the lessons being taught in class at the time. This is small relative to the power of the differentiating for each student.
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