Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2012

Lumosity

Delightful mental workouts are sure to stretch brain power

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6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Games feel like games, not work or study, and the hard neuroscience behind the platform is very encouraging.

Cons: To get the full benefit of Lumosity's training, the free version won't cut it.

Bottom Line: Well-designed, science-backed brain games give kids a chance to expand their minds and have fun at the same time.

It would be extremely expensive to buy a subscription to Lumosity for each student in a class. However, tucked deep into its website, there is an application for the Lumosity Education Access Program (LEAP), which provides free use of Lumosity for schools in exchange for feedback on the program.

Playing a round of Lumosity games could help students settle in and focus before a quiz or challenging classroom activity -- there's research stating that Lumosity activities may help kids with ADD stay on track. You can also use the site as a reward for good behavior; kids will be happy to play fun games, while you can feel good about their learning potential. Some Lumosity activities are focused on memory and math, while others are word-based. To truly track cognitive improvement over time, kids should follow the suggested programs, which include daily use and a particular set of games. 

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Lumosity is a brain-training program that uses games and exercises to improve memory, attention, and processing skills. Based on extensive scientific and neurological studies, Lumosity helps people use their brains to the highest potential. The site offers games and activities that improve memory, attention, speed, flexibility, and problem-solving. Its cognitive training activities are designed for use by all ages, but it's probably going to be most helpful for older students who can stick with the program over time. Free access is limited to just a few games; users who pay get access to more than 30 games, plus additional resources.

It does require a commitment, though: Kids will learn only as long as they're dedicated to regular gameplay over time. They can focus on a certain discipline or play a personalized series of games offered as a daily program.

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It's no wonder Lumosity is used by more than 25 million people. Its activities are comprehensive, and they make it simple to get started with a training program. Best of all, it's fun. The daily program lasts between 10 and 15 minutes, and it goes quickly when students are super-focused on the games (which all require some serious concentration). Kids will love watching their skills improve, and while the games feel almost as mindless as Candy Crush, they're anything but time wasters. Using Lumosity, students won't just be improving game scores; they'll also improve their brain function across the board, making things like homework and focusing in class a little easier.

With practice, students can improve speed, mental flexibility, and concentration. Once you start to see progress, it gets a little addictive, and kids will want to keep playing to beat their previous scores. Some games, like Lost in Migration, help with concentration and productivity over time. Others, like Familiar Faces, focus on memory. In this game, the user is a restaurant server who is challenged to remember customers' orders and names in order to get the best tip possible. Students also have the opportunity to explore the science behind the brain games. 

While they don't teach a specific subject, these mental workouts will keep the brain active and agile. Lumosity's games are colorful, well-designed, and challenging. If they stick with it, students will be excited to watch their skills improve over time.

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Overall Rating
4

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
4

Lumosity keeps games short, light, and simple, so even if you don't love a particular activity, you'll be done before you know it. Design is lovely and adds warmth to sometimes austere brain training.  

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

This site does an excellent job of baking in real brain exercise into seemingly silly or simple games, and the focus skills that kids can learn here will transfer to their work and study future. 

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

A great video explains the science behind Lumosity's activities and method. Each game has a set of instructions that you can view before playing, and there's an FAQ addressing technical issues as well as general advice. 


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Andrew B. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Silver Spring International Middle School
Silver Spring, MD
4
Brain games that challenge students and teach them brain malleability

I have been playing Lumosity games since it first came out. When I started using it more regularly, I saw some of the skills I learned playing games translate over to common tasks that I did at work. I was able to sort things faster, complete work more efficiently, and I was able to remember things for a longer time. I think this tool is great not only for teaching young students how their brain is a muscle to be trained but also because they start learning skills that make them quicker and more efficient in other aspects of life. Part of being a teacher is empowering students to believe that the more work they put in, the better product they can create in the end. Lumosity is able to quantify the strides their brain makes with the scores. There are even more options for personalizing training if desired.

One drawback is that there is no platform where a teacher could log in to view students' progress. Students would have to share scores instead which may involve writing them down in order to track progress over time. I just wish their was a teacher variation of the program where one can load in the class and view everyone's scores.

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