Review by Polly Conway, Common Sense Education | Updated August 2013

Power League

Site asks you to vote on issues and consider others' views

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Teachers say (1 Review)
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Grades
6-12 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Really fosters critical thinking and discussion on questions big and small.

Cons: Some of the premade leagues are pretty heavy on British culture, and sharing options are a little confusing.

Bottom Line: A nicely formatted tool that encourages kids to get serious about the big issues while having fun.

Teachers can ask students to create their own leagues based on pertinent subjects; once they're set up, the rest of the class can vote. Each student's league results can lead to a short (or long!) classroom discussion.

Teachers can also set up leagues for kids to vote on based on what they're currently studying. In a discussion on technology, for example, students could vote on which item they think is more useful: mobile phones or MP3 players. In a discussion on leadership, they could vote on who they think ought to lead the world: Mahatma Gandhi or Bono.

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Power League is a website that allows students to create polls and cast votes on a range of issues. Called "leagues," these competitions encourage users to share their opinions and consider others' viewpoints. Clicking on a league takes them to a voting page where they're presented with a question such as, "Who's the most heroic Disney prince?" Two items are presented to choose from. By clicking the View This League button, users can see the results as they come in.

To create a new league, students simply click the Make New Leagues button and follow the steps. They can choose between a ready-made league that they can alter, or they can create their own. They then name their league and pose the question they'd like to ask. The next step is to add "items," which are the two things competing against each other -- for example, Bellatrix Lestrange vs. Lucius Malfoy. The league is now complete; users can share it by email (no social media options) and watch the votes roll in. Leagues are kind of like ping-pong tournaments; they start with everyone but slowly eliminate characters until there's a winner.

 

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The site is well-designed, with just enough cool factor to keep tweens interested. Creating a new league is really easy, and students will appreciate the ability to add photos to illustrate each side of an argument. A good chunk of the figures users can vote on in the public leagues are from British popular culture, so not all kids will get the references. Leagues offer concrete, crowd-sourced answers to lots of questions, but they also help kids ask deeper questions: What makes Gandhi the most powerful peacemaker? Why do you think global warming is the world's biggest problem? The site also shares many helpful prompts for further discussion; there's a real understanding of what these simple quizzes can lead to.

There don't seem to be any ways to share leagues through social media; this seems odd but could be a benefit in that it gives users greater privacy.  

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Overall Rating
3

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

The photos that accompany each side of a question make leagues visually appealing. Depending on questions' content, answering them can be pretty fun, and the format is designed for maximum engagement.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
3

Learning goes beyond simply deciding between two things; kids will analyze their own opinions as they figure out why one is better or worse than another. Leagues may spur discussions that could help kids develop debate skills. 

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Idea prompts, lesson plans, and links to sources of interesting material are well laid out on the site. Creating a league is easy, as you're guided step by step through the process.


Common Sense Reviewer
Polly Conway Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

4
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Featured review by
Jenny A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Casita Center for Science/Math/Technology
Vista, CA
4
A rich topic-based discussion and debate

This is a great tool but something to definitely think about is the management piece. How will teachers ensure that the are reading through more information if they don't quite understand the topic just yet. I can see kids just quickly clicking and voting instead of taking their time to understand the topics. But I do like how this is quick to set up and show the kids and then get them up and running.

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