Monday, August 13, 2012

Crew Review: Vocab Videos



I know this may be premature because our TOS 2012 Review Crew is not even half over, but my son has already labeled Vocab Videos his Most Favorite Crew Review Product of All Time.  And I am not exaggerating.

Quirky.  Irreverent.  Funny.  Smart.  Clever.  Hilarious.  This is how he would describe Vocab Videos.

From the website:
Vocab Videos uses hilarious professionally produced short videos to illustrate the meanings of 500 essential vocabulary words. The platform is a highly effective system for learning words that appear on tests like the ISEE, SAT, ACT, GRE & TOEFL. Each video includes a representation of the meaning of a word in a way you can relate to and understand. Vocab Videos will expand your vocabulary--and you'll have fun along the way.
Each lesson teaches 20 vocabulary words presented in a 10 minute or so episode. Each vocabulary word is pronounced and defined by a narrator.  The characters act out the word or show its meaning in a short scene.  When the scene is over, the word is redefined in the context of the scene.  I encourage you to visit the website to view Vocab Video Segments and Clips.

It is a great presentation of auditory and visual cues to help students “see” and experience SAT-level vocabulary. 

Here’s what the screen looks like when you are working through one of the videos:
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The words being defined and used in the clip are below the screen (the video can pop-out to be a full screen movie) and when you are finished you can easily click on the additional learning tools (lower right side) to help your student practice using the words.

I usually have Ben download and print the crossword puzzle to help him practice knowing the definition more.  Then, a few days later, he takes an on-line quiz (you can download the quizzes and print them out).  So far, his quiz scores have been acceptable enough that I have not made him work through other learning tool activities:

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Students can create digital worksheets by typing up to 3 sentences on a template and save it for use as a crib sheet or to make digital flashcards.  Here’s what the student ‘home’ page looks like:

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The 20-question quizzes use typical multiple choice questions to test familiarity with the words and definitions.  There are two types of questions – one type asks the student to correctly insert one of the words into a sentence about the movie while the second type of question asks the student to match a short definition with the word.
 
The Teacher interface is very user friendly.  I can view each of my students’ activity to see what they’ve watched, when they watched it, and their quiz scores.  I can view which words he missed on quizzes and even print out the quiz with his answers.  I really appreciate the detail that Vocab Videos gives me about my student’s performance.

There is an optional workbook that is available for an additional cost.

My recommendations & thoughts: Ben absolutely loves this product.  It is definitely different from using “just” a written vocabulary workbook to improve skills.  Some of the videos have what I would consider PG ratings, mostly for language.  We have not viewed any videos in which I was concerned about compromising situations.  Given this, though, I do believe this is most appropriate for middle and high school level students.

It has been a couple years since we’ve used a vocabulary program – and those we’ve used in the past have been workbook-based.  This is a refreshing change and I know Ben will enjoy working through during this, his 8th grade year.

There are 25 videos to watch, each with 20 words, so you could easily work through this in a school year or less if you completed one video per week.  If I were to use the program this way, I would want to encourage Ben to do more with the words, such as writing sentences and reviewing them more – maybe with flashcards.

Student Accounts to Vocab Videos start at $24.99 for 6-months or $39.99 for 12-months.  If you have more than one student at a time who could use this, you can sign up for a teacher account.  That allows up to 20 students to use the program for $74.99 (this is what I received for this review).  You can sign up for a one-month free trial of Vocab Videos.

If you would like to see what other Crew Reviewers thought about this product, please click the box below:

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Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received a year long subscription to this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine

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