Thursday, August 16, 2012

Vocab Videos (Schoolhouse Crew Review)


When I talk to other parents of elementary students, I often hear parents comparing the best ways to learn multiplication facts. When it comes to parents of high schoolers, I often find parents comparing various products that claim to help students get higher SAT or ACT test scores. A big portion of the college entrance exams is the vocabulary section. Apparently, vocabulary is now worth up to 150 points on the SAT exam. Vocab Videos works to increase a high school student's vocabulary and thereby increase test scores.

What is VocabVideos?
Vocab Videos uses short, entertaining videos to illustrate the meanings of vocabulary words that are often found on college entrance exams. Each of the 25 videos is approximately 10 minutes long and covers 20 vocabulary words. In addition, Vocab Videos pairs the video segments with quizzes, worksheets, crossword puzzles, and other study tools.

What did I think?
I have very mixed feelings about this product. I can see where it would definitely help students learn the meanings of a lot of vocabulary words. I can also see where the videos would appeal to many students. The somewhat conservative parent in me hesitates to recommend them for all families. They are definitely geared towards a high school audience, and I chose not to show them to my sixth grader. I objected to one video segment in particular because the main character muttered, "Oh my God!" throughout the video. Otherwise, I felt like the rest of the videos were roughly in line with what you might see on a prime time network television show.

What did Addison think?
I should start by saying that Addison isn't a visual learner and doesn't normally watch much TV at all (her choice). She watched some of the videos and thought they were merely "ok." She was upset that she had to watch the videos in sets of ten. When she looked at the words, she noted that she already knew at least half of the words. The storyline in the video is dependent on watching all ten clips in a row, though, and it wouldn't work for her to just watch a few individual clips. Her bottom line was that she was spending too much time watching the videos and that it was taking away from the time that she could be spending reading her new stack of books from the library.

The nitty-gritty details:
A student subscription to Vocab Videos costs $24.99 for six months or $39.99 for twelve months. This includes access to the videos and the study tools. I've been using an educator account, which is available for $74.99 per year and allows me to track the progress for up to 20 students. Each student has their own account with full access to the videos and learning tools (digital flashcards, worksheets, and quizzes). If you'd like to try Vocab Videos, they do offer a one month free educator trial.

Disclaimer: I received an Educator account to Vocab Videos (for up to 20 students) as a member of the 2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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