School of Dragons

Common Sense Media says

Train dragons, learn science in top-notch MMO for kids.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids will learn about the responsibility of keeping and raising a pet, since training a pet dragon is what this game is about. Lessons on the importance of friendship also will be imparted in the quests.

Positive role models

Role models are the same characters from the movies. Stoic, the village chief, Hiccup, and others all are positive models who work hard to look after their dragons and help their village.

Ease of play

The game is easy to pick up and learn. The user interface is intuitive, and the camera follows the player. There's quite a bit of reading involved, but the in-game tutorial is voiced, and dragon flying is very forgiving. Younger kids might need a little help to get through the flight training.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

The game is free to play, although perks are provided if you pay a monthly subscription. There are members-only areas, and items may be purchased for real money, yet there's no overt advertising. But, considering the game uses characters and environments from two movies, it's a form of advertising for the animated How to Train Your Dragon franchise.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

The game was created with kids in mind, so a slew of protections is in place. Parents can disable multiplayer if they want. An email is required to activate the account, and parents can set and change passwords at any time. Chat is filtered, and only a "white list" of words is allowed. Numbers -- both numeric and in word form -- are blocked from chat, as are proper names. Chat and the official forums are heavily moderated, and the developers are COPPA-compliant and have a KidSafe Certification.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that School of Dragons is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that's browser-based and requires the Unity plug-in. It's free to play, but a monthly subscription provides bonus advantages. A collaboration between JumpStart and DreamWorks, it's a safe title based on the How to Train Your Dragon films, with underlying educational themes, including the scientific method. Kids will train their dragons, hatching them from eggs and performing tasks such as playing mini-games to obtain food to help their pets grow big and strong.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Science

  • animals
  • biology
  • plants

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • work to achieve goals

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

School of Dragons imitates the colorful and fascinating movie worlds of How to Train Your Dragon and its sequel. Having a dragon to raise and train via different activities, games, and quests will keep kids engaged. This also is expanded by opportunities to interact with movie characters and other players. Kids can choose to raise more than one dragon with different powers and skills once their first dragon is fully grown.

Learning Approach

The Adventure Company, the developers of JumpStart educational software, is the developer of this game and has woven educational content in with the quests and gameplay. For example, kids actually get a mini biology lesson when they learn to raise animals and plants on their mini farms. Next Generation Science Standards were used to develop the exercises and quests in the game. Kids are encouraged to observe and record the results of each experiment in their journals so they can reproduce the same items in the future.

Support

There's plenty of support on the game's website, with How to Train your Dragon-themed worksheets that parents can print out for different grades and subjects. Kids also are encouraged to explore the game's site from its home page, which has section names such as "Hiccup's Science Workshop." This helps expand what kids learn in school and in the game. There also are well-moderated forums for kids to ask questions and on which they can interact. Players can show off artwork, stories, and screenshots of their dragons on these forums.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • following directions
  • reading
  • reading comprehension

Science

  • animals
  • biology
  • plants

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • achieving goals
  • work to achieve goals

Kids can learn creative and scientific lessons by School of Dragons, which uses the scientific method (systematic observation, measurement, and experimentation, along with the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses) to solve quests. These methods will also serve kids as they try out activities related to the story, such as keeping sheep, growing crops, blacksmithing, and -- of course -- training their dragons. School of Dragons may seem like another kids' game, but under all of its scales, it's packed with scientific lessons that will both entertain and educate.

This Learning Rating review was written by Carolyn Koh

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

SCHOOL OF DRAGONS follows the How to Train Your Dragon and How to Train Your Dragon 2 movies and is set in the world of Berk. Kids create a Viking character and can take a fun personality test to match them with a type of dragon (or ignore the test and select their own creature). Players take part in mini-games to earn coins and food for their pets and quests to help out other members of the village. Eventually, dragons will be grown enough to be ridden, further expanding the action as kids learn to fly and play aerial games.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Kids who are fans of the How to Train Your Dragon movies (and Cressida Cowell's books that they're based on) will love the chance to jump into the world of Berk, training the dragon that they'll eventually fly, race, and explore with. School of Dragons follows the movies closely, with all the key characters included in the game as quest givers. Graphics are superb for a browser-based game, and actions are simple; even flying is forgiving. Quests are varied to keep repetition low. Plus, educational aspects are subtly woven into the story, which shouldn't turn off educationally averse kids. (For example, the alchemist talks about using the scientific method to complete tasks.)

Kids observe and record the method and results in their in-game journals, which provides a sense of accomplishment instead of the usual one-click crafting recipes that are unlocked as a reward in many other games. There's a lot of reading, so younger kids may need sibling or parental help. Parents also have the ability to disable the game's multiplayer aspect so kids can't join clans or meet other players online. This does block some parts of the game, such as team-based dragon racing, but kids can still play against a computer-generated team. This is a small inconvenience for an engaging title that manages to educate at the same time.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about pets, including the responsibility of raising and training them, as shown in School of Dragons. Why do we train our pets? Do different animals need different types of food and care?

  • Talk about why games can be addictive and how much game time is appropriate. How long should kids be playing games each day? 

  • What made you want to play this game: the style or subject of the game or the fact that it's based on the How to Train Your Dragon characters and story? Would you have been interested if that tie-in wasn't there?

Game details

Platforms:Facebook, Google+, Mac, Windows, iPhone
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Not available online
Developer:JumpStart
Release date:July 17, 2013
Genre:Massively Multi-player Online Game (MMOG)
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Book characters, Friendship

This review of School of Dragons was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byhoneykira January 18, 2015
AGE
10
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

They want your money!

I came to the School of Dragons website through neopets.com which are currently both owned by JumpStart. Neopets was sold to JumpStart by Viacom in the spring of 2014. Both websites are plagued with glitches and lag, as well as hackers, which hamper game play. While paid membership to both sites is not mandatory, what is particularly perplexing is that JumpStart continues to solicit players on both sites by encouraging them to buy memberships and other virtual items for "enhanced" features to both games, yet both games still suffer with many in-game problems. There seemingly are not enough employees at JumpStart to deal with all the issues on both sites. Spare yourself the ongoing headaches, and keep your money and credit cards in your pockets. Stay away from these two JumpStart websites.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Parent Written byrobertl1 November 2, 2014
AGE
13
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Piss poor Programing ruins game

This game is very informative unfortunately it has so many glitches and stupid bugs that should be easy to fix that are not. Complaining to the technical support does nothing to fix anything. There is one but with the name of white pumpkins being instant white pumpkins when you raise them. a simple name fix would solve this problem but the programmers are to incompentent to fix such simple problems. Makes game play very tedious and frustrating trying to figure out which quest works and which quest you need to abandon!! Very very stupid game because of excessive bugs!!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old October 2, 2014
AGE
6
QUALITY
 
LEARNING

Just Meh

Believe it or not it actually has some learning. Yeah, even I learned stuff and I'm 12! You learn some science such as the scientific method and basic chemistry. Easy and simple to play. Problem: It's also easy to get stuck on a certain goal and then you have nothing else to do. Safety concern: CHAT IS NOT MONITORED! Kids can say anything! So be careful! If you like HTTYD, try it, maybe you'll like it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Easy to play/use
Safety and privacy concerns

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