Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Visual Learners Will Love This Online Science Program {A Digital Online Science Review}

Have you ever heard of Visual Learning Systems?  I never had until I was offered a chance to review their one year subscription to Digital Science Online: Elementary Edition (Grades K-5) and Secondary Edition (Grades 6-12).

Now, I am glad I have.

What is Digital Science Online?

Digital Science Online is an online annual subscription service that offers K-12 students and teachers 24/7 access to a vast video collection of science videos, images, animations, quizzes and printables.  

Visual Learning Systems Review
NOTE:  Don't let the pricing column in the screenshot above scare you off.  They have special homeschool pricing.
As we have been experiencing Digital Science Online, we have noted how well done its different features are.  These include:

  • Videos -  The core of this visual science program is its huge collection of the streaming videos.  These are available in English, Spanish and closed-caption.  They average 10-15 minutes in length and are purposefully designed to target specific grade levels.  Each covers a focused topic within the following larger areas of science:
  • Physical Science (primary, elementary and secondary)
  • Earth Science (primary, elementary and secondary)
  • Life Science (primary, elementary and secondary)
  • Health Science (primary and secondary)
  • Integrated Science (secondary)
  • Biology (secondary)

  •  Animations - These 10-30 second video clips are pulled from the larger videos and provide a quick and convenient way to preview or review target information without reviewing entire videos.
  • Images - These are isolated still, captioned graphics from the videos that help target key concepts from the lessons.
  • Student and Teacher Contents - Student content includes a large collection of printable worksheets.  These are typically traditional pre-tests, post-tests and activity sheets that ask students to label, write characteristics, find key words in word searches, etc.  Teacher content comes in the form of complete printable lesson guide packs that offer an array of tools to help parents and teachers flesh out specific science units.  Information within the guides includes: 
  • Student learning objectives
  • Introductory questions and activities
  • Literature connections.
  • Video scripts with key vocabulary highlighted
  • Pre- and post-tests
  • Video reviews and quizzes
  • Activity and experiment suggestions
  • Plus masters and answer keys for all student printables

Easily Key into Science Concepts to Extend Learning

Digital Science Online gears its videos to specific grade levels, but does not prescribe any order to complete lessons in.  This was perfect for our home education style since we tend to "us"school, or to live and learn freely without following rigid preset plans.
To use Digital Science Online, we basically went about our usual homeschool happenings and then snuggled in around our computer to explore topics further through the vast collection of Digital Science Online videos.  We paused videos at appropriate times to chat and to touch upon some of the printable pre-test, post-test, vocabulary and worksheet questions orally.   We also, sometimes, created our own hands-on activities inspired by the videos.

This all proved perfect for us at this moment in our home education journey.  After a simple log-in, we could easily search the video library to find online materials that connected to our real-life activities.  Then, while viewing and discussing the videos and worksheets, we could expand the children's vocabulary, deepen their understanding of specific topics, and enjoy time extending our science learning.
We also got a kick out of the fact that the easy-to-understand video narrator has the same name as my daughter.  (Yep, it's the little, random things that offer additional connection, sometimes, with my crew).  And, I found the kids sometimes ending our online sessions wanting to know more - not because the videos did not offer complete treatments of topics at hand (which they did), but because my children's scientific curiosity was ignited (which I think is an awesome thing!)
Is Digital Science Online Right for You?
Visual Learning Systems Review

If, like me, you have visual learners who enjoy finding out more about science topics they've already been exploring by tapping into a huge online library of short, focused, engaging videos, then, absolutely, Digital Science Online could be right for your family! 
Likewise,  if you approach science learning in more traditional, with regular reading, writing and viewing sessions, the Digital Science Online program would likely suit you, too. As I mentioned already, it is standards-correlated and includes many "school"y things like pre-tests, post-tests, worksheets and teachers guides that would lend themselves well to traditional lesson approaches.
If, however, you prefer an experiential, hands-on approach to science, Digital Science Online may not be the program for you.  For, although videos include prompts and pauses for student interaction and printables include some activity and experiment suggestions, the majority of the program is geared toward visual learners.  The program would, though, make an excellent supplementary resource for hands-on explorations.  Indeed, it did for us!
Truly, having go-to library of short online science videos on just about every topic, with related lesson plans, activity sheets, etc. has proven a helpful bonus to our family's homeschool happenings.

What is Learn More

Visual Learning Systems Review

  • Want to try Digital Science Online yourself?  Request a trial.

Visual Learning Systems Review 

How can you envision Digital Science Online helping your homeschool endeavors?  How do you weave science learning and fun into your experiences?

Crew Disclaimer


Related Posts with Thumbnails