Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vocab Videos

Vocab Videos is an online educational tool designed to help students earn a higher SAT score by increasing their vocabulary knowledge.  And I have to say, I never would have imagined studying for the SAT could be quite so entertaining!

Vocab Videos have designed a series of short videos that teach the meanings of 500 essential SAT and high school level vocabulary words.  Yes, that's right ... 500!  Each video is approximately 20 seconds long and illustrate one vocabulary word each.  About 20 videos are grouped together to create a series of short skits.  Once your student has watched all 20 videos, they can take an online quiz reviewing the words.

You can see from the Student Dashboard pic above, that along with the videos students can access online worksheets and flashcards as well.  Educators have the ability to add students and monitor their progress and quiz scores. 
These videos are professionally made and are definitely entertaining.  Many of them are spoofs of popular nighttime t.v. shows like The Office, Gossip Girl, and Lost.  The engaging videos absolutely make the vocabulary more memorable.  I easily passed the quizzes after viewing the videos just once even though many of the words were not familiar to me.

I do not have high school age students, but did allow my 11 year old to watch a few of the first episodes.  However, I quickly realized that many of the videos contained content that we do not normally allow our children to watch or condone.  For example, "Oh my God" was used frequently.  The first episodes were centered around an office dating relationship and included rather sarcastic humor.  I actually found it quite funny (and so did my 11 year old), but some of it was simply not age appropriate for him.  He did retain more than half of the vocabulary knowledge when he completed the quiz, which I thought was pretty good considering his age and the fact that he had never before heard the words.

I was certainly glad that I previewed the next set of videos without him by my side as they were all set like a scary (somewhat gory) movie.  We don't allow our kids to watch scary movies at all, so some of these scenes would have been a little shocking to them.  In other videos I watched, there was mild cursing as well.

Overall, I have to say I love the idea of this product.  I love how well made the product is.  I'm just so disappointed with the some of the content.  And because my kids are not yet high school age, I'm just not sure if we would ever use it.  The content in these videos are really comparable to the sitcoms you see on night time television, though not as bad as many of the them.  It's just hard for me to say whether or not I will feel the crass content will be worth the educational benefit when the time comes.

I was given a one-year small educator subscription, which costs $74.99 to Vocab Videos.  This is a teacher's account and gave me the ability to add up to 20 students and view all student reports.  Vocab Videos also offers a single student account for $39.99 for a one-year subscription. I'm not the only one with an opinion.  Check out the Schoolhouse Review Blog for more reviews of this product. 

Disclaimer: I have been given the wonderful opportunity to review many homeschool products over the last few years. The only compensation that I receive for my review is the free product. I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in review groups and I have enjoyed trying out these products and giving you my honest opinion.
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