Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vocab Videos: A Review

Vocab Videos in an online learning tool that uses videos to illustrate over 500 SAT level vocabulary words.  It is compiled of several ongoing series, broken apart into segments.  Each segment contains 20 vocabulary words that are illustrated in about 20 seconds.  The program utilizes auditory and visual aspects of learning as the narrator says the word and the meaning, the actors participate in a scene that illustrates the word, and then the narrator recaps how the definition relates to what the student just saw in the video.  It is all very fast-paced and modern--not drudgery at all.  I wish Vocab Videos would have existed when I was in high school, studying sheets of paper with defintions on them.  Ugh. 

The videos are humorous, sometimes hilarious, and really help solidify these sometimes-tricky words into your brain for good. Some of the series are TV show parodies of shows like Lost, The Office, Gossip Girl, etc.  If your student doesn't watch these shows, the satire might go over their heads, but nevertheless, they will still learn the meaning of the vocabulary words.

Click here to see samples of some of the Vocab Videos.

In addition to the videos, there is an opportunity to print activity sheets for the words, take online quizzes, and even make your own set of digital flashcards using your own definitions and even your own images!  I liked this part of the program, as it does exactly what I used to do last year by hand with our history curriculum.  I used to hunt down images for each word and then print them out for my kids to use as flashcards.  This will save me so much ink!  The flashcard feature also brings more value to the product, as you can use it with your younger kids as a tie-in with their curriculum, and use it as it was designed (with the pre-loaded SAT vocab videos) with your high schoolers.

And I say that because it really is designed for older students, not just because the words are upper-level, but the subject matter (dating and so forth) is more mature.  Also, in one of the Lost parodies that I watched, the words "pissed", "what the hell", "sucks" "Oh my God" and "are we lovers?" were uttered, and not just once. Granted, the character has amnesia and is frustrated when his attempts to survive are a miserable failure, AND the company is trying to appeal to today's teenagers by setting itself apart from other boring drill-style programs, so I see where they are coming from.  But conservative families need to be aware of this before purchasing.

Teachers and educators are able to add students to their "class" and monitor each student's indivdual progress as they take the online quizzes.  There is also a glossary that lists all 500 words alphabetically for ease of use or reference.

I think this is a program that I would use with my kids when they are a little older.  I have enjoyed watching the videos and brushing up on some of those forgotten words myself.  I aced a few of the quizzes, but got an 18/20 on another.  I still have some stuff to learn :)  But just for the sheer sake of the language and situations, I wouldn't make it a part of my 5th and 7th graders' daily assignments. 

Student Memberships to Vocab Videos are $24.99 for  6 months and $39.99 for 12 months.  This gives access to all 500 videos, online quizzes, worksheets, downloadable crossword puzzles and the online flashcard maker.

Teacher Memberships include all of these features, as well as the classroom management functions to monitor student progress. These are the costs per year:

1 Month Educator Trial is FREE
Small Educator Account (up to 20 students) is $74.00
Medium Educator Account (up to 40 students) is $134.99
and a Large Educator Account (up to 100 students) is $254.99.
If you have more than 100 students, you will need to contact the company for pricing. 

And now, there is a Vocab Videos Workbook that you can purchase for $11.99 to use as a supplement with your online subscription.  Click here to order the workbook.

Check out other reviews of Vocab Videos by clicking right here.

**Disclaimer:  I was provided access to Vocab Videos in exchange for an honest review, which I have provided here. 


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