Review: EdTechLens Rainforest Journey

Our most recent Schoolhouse Review Crew opportunity was to check out EdTechLens' Rainforest Journey program.  With three children in various grade levels, I am always interested in trying out digital options that might give me the opportunity to have each child engaged, even if I need to be providing one-on-one support to another child.  Our science coop is studying animals this year, so I thought that the Rainforest Journey would be a great way for my second grader, especially, to dive deeper into learning about animals.  We also received the 4th grade version, but my son wasn't interested at all- he thought that it was "too young" for him, and so we focused on 2nd grade. 

She's really enjoyed exploring the different families and species this year, and the Rainforest has some of the coolest animals on the planet, in my humble opinion. 
Rainforest Journey comes with a teacher account and a student account, and we initially had a little bit of trouble figuring out how to navigate to the student account and I actually had to email tech support for assistance, but they were incredibly friendly and taught me the trick- which was to sign completely out of the teacher version and use the assigned student ID (which was not the ID I gave my child, but a randomly assigned name) and password.  This fixed the problem and we were able to log in successfully.  
The pictures and videos are really vibrant and engaging.  Each lesson is divided into very manageable pieces that took my second grader, Savannah, about 8 minutes to get through.  The course is divided up into 5 units, and each unit is then divided into chapters and each chapter into lessons.  Generally, the lessons start with a picture followed by some information, generally 1-2 sentences, which you can opt to have read to you by clicking on an audio button.  At the end of each lesson, there is the option to print out an enrichment activity.
I like that the program tracks your child's progress for you, so you know where they're at.  I feel like there could be more information provided, especially since there is the capacity for embedded video, so even readers that lack confidence could enjoy more information without struggling. The amount of information is really just a tidbit. 
We think that Rainforest Journey has a lot of potential.  It's definitely not a "use alone" course that my second grader could do without me because it requires a lot of clicking and scrolling.  On page one of the lesson, you have to click up to 6 times to get through the lesson, if you want the sentences read to you, and many of the "pages" end up being several screens.  Also, the enrichment activity isn't on the computer, which I think would be nicer.  If I’m going to use an online program, I would really like it to be an online program, not something that I have to prep for by printing and gathering materials.

At the same time, my daughter has really enjoyed the pictures and will ask to do "that science on the computer" when we have time in the afternoons.  I like that they included primary sources and scientists, and I love the idea of Rainforest Journey as a supplement, but I would invest in it after it’s made a little more user-friendly and requires far less clicking and includes a little more information.  
Rainforest Journey EdTechLens Review
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