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JAM - Courses & Projects

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
JAM - Courses & Projects App Poster Image
Turn on-screen videos into fun, offscreen STEAM projects.

Parents say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about building, engineering, art, music, photography, science, and more. If kids just watch the videos, they'll see lots of great demonstrations. But if they do the projects themselves, they can work on a number of STEAM-related skills as well as problem-solving, experimentation, and trial-and-error learning.

Ease of Play

Though there's lots of content, it's pretty easy to navigate, watch, create, and post. Offscreen projects can be complicated.

Violence & Scariness

Includes videos and posts from community members. Although there are clear community guidelines and all posts are moderated, it's possible that some content may slip through the cracks.

Sexy Stuff

Includes videos and posts from community members. Although there are clear community guidelines and all posts are moderated, it's possible that some content may slip through the cracks.

Language

Includes videos and posts from community members. Although there are clear community guidelines and all posts are moderated, it's possible that some content may slip through the cracks.

Consumerism

After free trial, parents must subscribe to continue using. Some brands feature prominently in videos. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Includes videos and posts from community members. Although there are clear community guidelines and all posts are moderated, it's possible that some content may slip through the cracks.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that JAM - Courses & Projects is an app and website that offers a subscription-based collection of STEAM how-to videos and challenges combined with a moderated social media platform. When signing up, parents need to provide a name and email address where they will receive updates on what their kids are doing. To create a kids' profile, provide name, avatar, and nickname. Kids can watch demonstrations on how to draw, cook, conduct strange science experiments, build machines, and more. Challenges are singular projects that inspire kids to try their hand at new things. If users allow access to their device's camera, camera roll, and microphone, kids can take photos or video of themselves doing the challenges and then post to the community. There are clear guidelines for appropriate content, and the developers claim that all posts are moderated. JAM - Courses & Projects is a subsidiary of the electronic coding building blocks Little Bits, and it features a set of videos showing how to use them in projects. There are also videos using other brand name products such as Lego. Other projects and challenges require the use of a variety of materials that are usually common household items -- but not always. Younger kids will require significant help to complete many of the projects. Tweens and teens will likely to able to do things on their own. After a 14-day free trial, parents need to subscribe for $19.99 per month. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

To use JAM - COURSES & PROJECTS, parents must provide a name and an email address, and create profiles with their kids' names, avatars, and nicknames. Once in, content is divided into Courses, Challenges, TV, and Activity. Browse through the courses to see a collection of videos and hands-on challenges that guide kids through activities like learning how to draw or cook, building with Little Bits or Lego, or doing science experiments. Challenges present brief text or video instructions for completing a single project. Kids can browse through and comment on photos or videos of other kids who have completed the project and take photos or video of their own completed project. The TV category automatically cycles through photos and videos posted by others in the community. In addition, you can choose to follow community members or create your own following. Parents receive notifications when their kids post content.

Is it any good?

This collection of videos and instructional how-tos is full of creative ideas to inspire kids to build things, experiment, explore, express themselves, or develop a skill. Kids who are even mildly interested in building, engineering, science, art, tinkering, and more will likely be mesmerized by the instructional videos, challenges, and ideas. There's a wide variety of challenges that, in theory, should be accessible for younger kids. However, many kids will need significant assistance from grown-ups to do the challenge, acquire the materials, or both. Parents should be ready to be intimately involved. There are some projects that need specialized parts like Little Bits, particular art tools, or other specific materials. And even if other materials are pretty common, it's not a given that you'll have string, straws, or Borax powder in your house, so some projects will require some planning. Then there's the social media component. Kids can choose to not participate in sharing, but if they do, as a moderated space, it's designed to be a safe, kid-appropriate, and positive environment. That said, as with any social component to a kid-focused platform, it's a good idea for parents to stay involved. Thankfully, parents are notified when their kids post something, but they'll still want to check out what their kids are seeing. Ultimately, JAM - Courses & Projects is a great intersection of technology and hands-on fun and learning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what projects in JAM - Courses & Projects look interesting. What are your kids drawn to and why? What do they want to try?

  • Do the projects with your kids for some fun family time. Just remember to let your kids take the lead!

  • Chats and posts are moderated, but it's still a good idea to talk to your kids about your family's rules and guidelines for using social media. What's OK to share and what's not? What's appropriate to say and what's not?

App details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love STEM and building

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