Skoolbo, by Skoolbo Limited, offers personalized game-based skill practice for numeracy, literacy and English language learning allowing both teachers and parents to monitor and track a child’s progress. It’s also FREE!!! It is compatible with a variety of platforms including PC, Mac, and iPad (iOS) and Android devices a web version is available for older machines and Chromebooks. The skills covered in Skoolbo range from the number and letter recognition to calculating percentages and reading comprehension. This wide variety of skills (60,000 questions and 200 learning outcomes) make this app appropriate for a wide range of children. In my opinion, it is obvious that teachers played a vital role in the development of Skoolbo as it is both engaging and appropriate for children, as well as a valuable tool for both teachers and parents. Teachers or parents can create accounts. After logging into Skoolbo for the first time, children create an avatar. Then, math and language assessments are given (in a game-format where the students fly airplanes or dragons). Answers on these assessments dictate the content of the games children play. For example, if an assessment shows several wrong letter sounds, the games would focus on letter sounds. As the child demonstrates proficiency in the current skills, new skills are slowly introduced. As children proceed, mastered skills are included creating an educational spiral to keep the material fresh in a child’s mind. The teacher portal allows teachers to monitor the educational content in students’ games. Skoolbo color codes the skills in each child’s portfolio to help teachers quickly identify which skills the child has mastered. Additionally, teachers can assign specific content to her students ensuring students have an opportunity to practice the specific skills covered in class. Parents were also considered in the making of Skoolbo as one of the features that set this app apart is that parents also have access to their child’s account. They too can monitor and track their child’s learning. Sharing student accounts with parents allow parents to play a more active role in their child’s education and open a line of communication between home and school. Children love this app. I created accounts for all of my third-grade students. Hesitantly, I created accounts for my kindergarten students too. I knew teaching them to log in to an account of any type would be a task worthy of a Nobel Prize. I am happy to say I was wrong. Skoolbo has created a unique password system. Instead of typing, a passWORD children choose a color block and an image of an animal. There are enough color and animal blocks to create a large variety of password combinations. The ease of this system reduces login error frustrations for adults and children alike. Once logged in, the colorful, friendly graphics instantly engaged my students but the friendly competition and the game-based format embedded throughout the program maintained their interest. Children can choose to play against other classmates, the “computer”, or other children from around the world. My students loved matching wits and competing. A few of them become frustrated during game-play but (they wanted to win EVERY time) they soon joined back in after watching their friends having fun. Skoolbo is an all-encompassing educational tool for students, teachers, and parents. TWA highly recommends this program due to its ease of use, quality content, and engaging nature--a rare find.
Written by Katie Chirhart
Katie Chirhart is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been teaching for sixteen years. She began her career in College Station, TX teaching a full inclusion pre-kindergarten class.