IXL Learning (Website)
[IXL Learning (855) 255-8800]
         IXL Learning is a well-designed, technology-driven online learning solution that provides extensive practice and drills in Math, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies in order to improve skills for students from Pre-K to High School. The website offers a fresh, clean interface, and content can be viewed by grade level or subject. Mouse-over balloons containing sample questions are a plus, helping students identify concepts they would like to practice. For young children, auditory instruction is available by clicking the audio icon. Once the child selects from multiple-choice answers and clicks the Submit button, there is instant feedback.
         The company's motto is, "Practice that feels like play - dynamic, adaptive learning." All of
IXL's dynamic skills are fully aligned to educational standards, including the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, and all US State Standards.
         Among the program's strengths are the step-by-step tutorials/explanations when incorrect answers are given. The website offers thousands of topics/drills for all grade levels and subjects. By selecting 3rd Grade Math, there are 359 drill topics such as Numbers and Comparing, Division Fluency, Understanding Fractions,  Place Values, Addition, Division, Equivalent Fractions, Mixed Operations, Compare Fractions, Subtracting, Understanding Multiplication, Equations & Variables, Decimals, Triangles and Quadrilaterals...and on and on; impressive, indeed!
         The easy-to-use reporting tools help parents and teachers identify target areas. By selecting the Analytics tab, there are reports such as Views by Usage, Trouble Spots, Scores, Questions Log, and Progress. Many videos are provided to show how other teachers are using IXL in classrooms, professional learning services, webinars, and more.
         Membership is required for complete access, but free online skills exercises are available for nonmembers, limited to a small number of problems a day. We might mention that Pre-K and young kids may, at times, need support and verbal directions from a parent or teacher.

ExoTrex (Website)
[Dig-It! Games (877) 213-4448]

         As educators and reviewers, we approach 'interactive educational games' with more than a grain of salt. Too much fun, not enough learning.  Usually.  But this is the second time (the first was
Mayan Mysteries) Dig It! Games has surprised (and humbled) us--ExoTrex is flat-out terrific.
         Based on the premise that earthlings have finally fouled the planet so much that a new life-sustaining planet must be found, each student must pass a series of tests to qualify for that task.  While the content is thematically-based, science is the primary subject, with a healthy dose of math and reading thrown in - all in a kind of
anime cartoon style.  And none of the content is easy-breezy.
         Parents - buy this game for your kids and we guarantee that that poster of Kanye or Beyonce will be replaced with a Table of Elements.  We guarantee that they will be searching Google for information about molecular structure.  We guarantee they will begin reading more closely and with better comprehension.  They will
willingly do math.
         And teachers - have this game in your classroom. Use it any way you can, and you just might become the most popular teacher in your school...students racing to get to class, peppering you with questions about science, arguing about scientific concepts...  Whew, it's just too heady to think about!
         Nitty-gritty: Developed for the 8th to 10th grade crowd, younger and older students can still have fun and learn some new concepts.  Winner of the
2016 EDDIES for Middle School Science, if ExoTrex is an example of what Dig-It! Games has planned for the future, we can't wait for the next one.

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