Common Sense Review
Updated October 2013

PowerMyLearning

Lots of quality educational content wrapped up in a tidy website
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Common Sense Rating 4
Pros
The breadth of learning material is almost staggering, especially for a free resource.
Cons
There's no original content here, just media pulled from other educational sites.
Bottom Line
The site has curated some of the best educational content on the Web and made it easily accessible, both for students and teachers.
Polly Conway
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Nearly all of the games and activities compiled here are bright, fun, and well designed. Because of the good quality and breadth of content, kids should stay engaged over time.

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

Teachers can direct students to sites using the Playlist feature. Playlist activities give teachers basic data on students' site visits, but not much else. Learning will depend a lot on how teachers scaffold the activities.

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

All data is kept safe, and navigational help within the site is available. Although all the external sites curated here will help extend learning, the level of support and accessibility within each linked site may vary greatly.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Power My Learning has so much content to offer, at first it might be tricky to figure out how to integrate it into your existing curriculum. However, with some careful planning you'll be able to create lessons based on some of the site's better offerings. The preexisting playlists can be very helpful; they're compilations of related content that other teachers have put together -- anyone can use these to supplement to their own lessons. From "Elements of a Story and Poetry" to "Represent and Interpret Data Using Scaled Pictographs and Line Plots," there are more than 200 lists to choose from.

You can also create your own Playlists and and assign them to students within the site, tracking their usage. And, with the Playlists feature, applications abound for use in a flipped-classroom setting.

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What's It Like?

Power My Learning is a website that brings together free, curated educational content and activities from all over the Web. Teachers can find academic games, videos, and interactive content aligned to the Common Core State Standards across a range of subjects, from language arts, math, science, and social studies to technology and other subjects. Activities are tagged by subject, grade, Common Core State Standards, and type (video, interactive, etc.).

As an example, if you scroll over an activity like Slinkyball, the intended grade level will appear (6-8), as will the category and subcategory (science/physics), any technical requirements, the Common Core standards, and a brief description. Teachers can use the site to curate a list of websites and Web-based resources, and then assign students the task of visiting and viewing them.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Power My Learning has done a solid job of picking and choosing a lot of the best educational content from all over the web. Sources like TedEd, Annenberg, and PBS (among others) truly are the cream of the crop, and it's handy to have them all in one place. Everything is well-organized, and the design is both kid-friendly and detailed enough for adults to navigate. Tutors, parents, and teachers working in a more individualized setting may find this site especially helpful.

As a free resource, Power My Learning's greatest asset is how it simplifies teachers' ability to organize online learning opportunities from different parts of the Web. However, while teachers can track which of the assigned sites students have visited, there's no guarantee about what students have done there or what they've learned. A tool that allowed better tracking, or even embedded assessments, would be a nice touch. Nevertheless, the site makes it simple for teachers to put specific, subject area-focused Web content in front of students' eyes.

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