Friday, October 17, 2014

Standard Deviants Accelerate (Schoolhouse Review)

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review
 
 

I’ve been familiar with Standard Deviants for a long time. We own several of their Spanish videos that teach concepts in a fun, fast-paced way. They have always offered videos for a variety of subjects, but now, the company has expanded into full online courses with videos, quizzes, and suggested classroom hands-on activities. This new program is called Standard Deviants Accelerate.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Homeschool Courses include these topics, primarily for middle and high school students:

Arithmetic - Grades 3+
Fundamental Math - Grades 4+
Earth Science - Grades 6+
Nutrition - Grades 6+
Algebra - Grades 7+
Biology - Grades 7+
Chemistry - Grades 9+
English Comp. - Grades 9+
U.S. History - Grades 9+
AP Biology - Grades 11+
AP Chemistry - Grades 11+
AP U.S. Government & Politics - Grades 11+
AP U.S. History - Grades 11+
AP Eng. Composition - Grades 11+

The program is actually designed for classroom use, so it was a little more complicated to set up than I expected. From my teacher’s login page, I had to set up a “class period” for each course I was using. Then, I was given an access code to give to my student. She was able to sign up for her own account and use the access code for each particular course to register for that course. The process is repeated for each course, so a student will see each course she is registered for on her home page.

Although the process is a bit complicated, the Standard Deviants staff are extremely helpful and are happy to set up a private webinar at any time to give direction and assistance.

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I registered Emily for 3 classes: Biology, English Composition, and Nutrition. She worked primarily in biology, and also did several lessons in English composition. We haven’t started Nutrition yet, but it is on her home page for now. When she signs in, she sees icons for all three courses. After selection one, she then sees a list of topics for that course and is able to choose one to work on.

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Each lesson has several components:image

  • Video—A 3 to 15 minute video that teaches the concept; Space is given to take notes and to save them in the student’s “locker.”
  • Vocab—A list of the target vocabulary or main concepts from the lesson
  • Diagram—A hands-on activity where the student drags appropriate terms to their definitionsimage
  • Quiz—This 5 question quiz is checked by the computer. For any errors, an option appears to watch just that portion of the video that pertains to that question. Then the student is given an opportunity to retake the quiz (although the original grade does not change.)
  • Written answer—The student answers the same thematic question as it applies to each lesson. (For English composition, the question is “How does learning to write affect thinking?”)

From my own teacher’s login page, I am able to see Emily’s scores on quizzes, see and/or grade her written responses and  receive “alerts” for areas she has not achieved a passing score in. I can also add students to classes and read any messages she may have sent me.

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Emily has been enjoying her Standard Deviants Accelerate courses. We’re finding this online supplement to be very useful  both for reviewing concepts she has already learned and for learning new information. The videos are fast paced, with speakers changing frequently and diagrams and pictures that illustrate concepts. They are a bit silly as well, making the learning process fun.

She is able to retake quizzes and watch the videos as often as needed to master the content. I love that feature. However, the first quiz she takes is the only one that shows up on her grade. The final test for each section includes all the questions that she missed in individual lessons. I find that Emily needs a lot of repetition to retain information, so having this course to use along with our other classes has been a blessing!

We haven’t used the class activities yet, partly because I have a class of one student, making most of the activities hard to do, and partly because we are using Standard Deviants Accelerate as a supplement to our main biology and English courses and, while the online, independent aspect is perfect for us, adding additional activities doesn’t fit in our schedule right now. However, they do look like beneficial activities and I will consider using some of them in the biology lab class that I teach.

Standard Deviants Accelerate classes are not full classes, but are excellent for review and supplementation. And my child thinks they are fun! 

Each subject costs $24.95 a month or $99 a year.

 
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I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

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