I have recently tested Explode The Code Online to see how kids react to my absolutely favorite program for phonics. My daughter grew up with the books. The online version was not available back then. In fact, she says that the books were better. For some reason the black and white make up of the hand-drawn pictures were so awful that it was just fun an comical. So much for the idea that books have to be full of colorful pictures. That’s just not true. The books were so well designed that the vocabulary growth for a second language learning kid was automatic and fun.
So, I was really curious how this translated into the online version. The fun pictures are gone and went professional, so the kids are missing out on that! 🙂

However, kids are enjoying themselves and moving forward, reportedly learning vocabulary in a very speedy manner. Association of written word with picture and pronunciation is fantastic and of course preferred over the book in that sense. But more than this, the tool automatically schedules the kids’ progress. Based on their performance they are set back or move forward. You can clearly see how they progress through the teacher view. Through color coding it is easily visible where they struggle, move past the struggle, and master the unit before moving on. There is a pattern of learning that emerges. The teacher view is beautiful.

When I shared my view with them, however, the kids are telling me that they want it, too!  They want to see their own progress. I can understand that. So that is our tiny feedback suggestion to improve to the makers of this program!

Let me show you some screen shots so you can see what I am talking about.

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Here you can see an overview of the kids progress within the class. They are all fourth graders. Note the large difference in interest, learning speed and endurance, as well as location within the books. How can these differences possibly be taken into account of if you did not supply your kids with the mechanics to become masters of their own learning! At the same time, as a teacher, you are still in charge of their learning. You can see who worked how much and when.

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This is your master view of the teacher possibilities to interact with and create classrooms and see your children at work.

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Here, I have a snapshot view of a child’s progress within a book. I can see the outline of the progress curve. Generally, I get an idea if there are problems or not.

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Looking into the progress plot in more detail I can see how learning has progressed and on which days. Red dots mark trouble spots and I can zoom in on the types of exercises that the kid was having problems with, in case I would like to know more. Generally though, I can see whether or not the problem spots were overcome as the system already noticed these and has dynamically adjusted the progress through the sections to make sure the kid has mastered the material.

The new role of the teacher is no longer a director of concerted action that all kids in a classroom have to follow at equal speed, but has instead become a learning coach. The technology has freed the student to follow a well-designed path through the material and the teacher to be there for the trouble spots and individual attention, where beforehand there was little time for that.

Thank you for letting us explore this wonderful support tool!

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