What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Agnitus – Personal Learning Program is a collection of math and literacy games that increase in difficulty as kids progress. In addition to teaching academic skills, a few games address other topics, from tooth brushing to career choices. Once kids are in the game cycle, they can play indefinitely, without stopping, so parents may want to set and enforce time limits.
Agnitus is available through a monthly subscription; kids can access all available games, and parents get detailed progress reports (including weekly emails). For parents, there also are numerous opportunities to post information about your kids' progress on Facebook (though parents can always choose not to). There is a free version that allows limited access, and parents and kids can try out the full version with a seven-day free trial.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
- letter or word recognition
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
Engagement, Approach, Support
The games are fun with an engaging design, despite the main character's lack of appeal. With so many games and constantly advancing levels, kids are likely to stay interested.
There's solid learning content within most games. Difficulty grows to target learning. Some usability and design issues get in the way of the learning experience, though.
There's good in-activity support for kids looking for the right answer, but little support for using the program overall. Although grown-ups can get reports, kids can't really see their own progress as they play.
What's it about?
Kids practice math and language skills like counting, tracing letters, patterns, and letter recognition, among others. Kids can choose where to start, but the games are presented at random and continue indefinitely, until kids click themselves out. As they progress, the material gets more difficult. Kids can collect stars by playing games, although the larger purpose of the stars is unclear. Parents can see very detailed progress reports, which describe what their kids are playing and suggest areas of strength and opportunities for growth.
Is it any good?
AGNITUS- PERSONAL LEARNING PROGRAM has lots of well-designed games that provide great practice and opportunities for skill building. The app's biggest strength is the way the challenge level grows, so each student is continuously challenged at his or her level. There's also nice in-game support for kids having trouble choosing the right answer. Detailed progress reports give parents valuable information about what their kids are learning.
However, there are also a few games that are either poorly explained or that present information witout enough context. For example, the purpose of a counting game with different types of food might be confusing to some kids. Also, when a letter-tracing game announces that "L is the shape your left hand makes," more explanation could help kids connect this concept with other knowledge. The app's overall functionality and design leaves something to be desired; games jump from one topic to another, there are "posters" for unrelated games during transitions, and the audio directions sound unnatural.
Families can talk about...
Help your kids keep track of progress by showing them the reports.
Play along with your kids -- help them bridge what they're learning to off-screen experiences.
With so many games, it's easy to lose track of time. Talk about setting screen time limits.