What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Brightstorm is a website that provides short videos that can complement and cement what your kid is learning in class. The lessons, which are offered in English, math, science, and test prep, are taught by seasoned teachers, who break the content into small pieces so kids don't get overwhelmed. If your kid is an extremely reluctant learner, these videos may not be the thing for them, as they seem geared toward kids who are already motivated but want to do better. Still, their quality is great, the subject matter is taught well, and Brightstorm could give some teens the boost they need.
What kids can learn
Language & Reading
Thinking & Reasoning
- problem solving
- thinking critically
- collecting data
- making conclusions
- academic development
- work to achieve goals
- working efficiently
Engagement, Approach, Support
All the teachers are enthusiastic and easy to listen to, even if they don't all have the most engaging on-camera presence. Design is teen-friendly without being distracting.
Each video is a short review of a topic given by an engaging teacher standing before a TV screen or whiteboard; if kids respond well to this kind of presentation, Brightstorm could help them truly grasp their lessons.
An FAQ list answers basic questions, and the site has a very active and engaging Facebook page with lots of giveaways.
What's it about?
BRIGHTSTORM is a website that offers short video lessons on various subjects within the categories of English, history, math, science, and test prep. Users can subscribe to one, two, or all 19 subjects; they can then watch all the video content on their chosen subject. Videos are broken down by topic, and some directly correspond to textbooks kids may be using in class. Each video is between five and 10 minutes long and covers a small piece of information related to a topic. For example, the section on Death of a Salesman has separate videos for exploring the play's theme, its meaning, and its symbolism. All these lessons are taught by educators with either master's degrees or PhDs.
Is it any good?
Although the company is based in Palo Alto, its founders and many of the staff are Estonian, and language on the site can be a bit choppy. It's understandable, though the translations aren't always perfect. The videos are generally great, and there's a diverse team of teachers, such as a chemistry teacher who's a woman of color. Another teacher, who has a gentle demeanor and a serious background in history, first engages kids by talking about his dog and then moves into learning strategies.
Kids who are having trouble at school or who are resistant to learning might feel that watching these videos is too much like being in class, only with a different teacher. There's also not much information about instructors' pedagogies, although all teachers have advanced degrees. If kids are suffering through a class with a horrible teacher at their schools, it's possible that they can get that same content through Brightstorm with a better teacher, if their textbook is supported. For kids who do well listening to lessons, this is helpful. For kids who do better by reading, some lesson's transcripts are available. Some of the teachers are outstanding, but they're not all equally engaging -- you need a lot of personality to teach well over video.
Families can talk about...
Take advantage of the chance to learn with your kids -- watch one of the videos with them.
Let your kids know that everybody struggles sometimes and that there are many different ways to learn.
|Pricing structure:||Free to Try, Paid|