During elementary school, I used to struggle to get up for school every morning, preferring instead to say within the warm confines of my bed. But I never had a problem waking up early on Saturday mornings. The reason for my intrinsic motivation was simple – Saturday Morning Cartoons.
My favorite Saturday morning cartoon was GI Joe, a cartoon about the American military. Today, I cannot recall a single story line from the show, but I do remember that they always ended each episode with a public service announcement and the phrase, “And knowing is half the battle.”
I always liked the phrase because it implies that through knowledge and education, one’s potential or abilities will certainly increase. It is similar to the phrase “Knowledge is power.”
Brain Chase was designed as a summer enrichment program for kids, to help them retain and increase the knowledge they gained during the school year. This is accomplished through regular and consistent practice of reading, writing, and mathematics.
In order to provide this practice, Brain Chase has partnered with Capstone, creators of the myOn digital library, and Khan Academy. Below is a brief explanation of the potential learning that will take place with each partner:
myOn Digial Library
MyOn is the world’s largest interactive digital library with over 6,000 books for readers to lose themselves in. Books are delivered digitally to any internet-connected device including tablets, PCs, and smartphones. Alternatively, up to 20 books at a time can be downloaded for offline access through the myOn app, available for Android, iPad, or Kindle Fire devices.
When readers first log-in, they are asked a series of questions regarding their interests. It also asks a series of assessment questions in order to judge their reading level. The site uses this information to generate a list of book recommendations that the reader will be interested in viewing. It also recommends books that will slightly challenge the reader.
Approximately 70% of the books on the site are nonfiction titles based on topics including dinosaurs, animals, sports, and science. The other 30% are fiction books, including the new James Patterson book entitled Treasure Hunters. Very appropriate for the Brain Chase treasure hunt!
Most importantly, myOn digitally tracks the time our children spend actively reading. Students won’t be able to progress in Brain Chase unless they’ve put in the full reading time. And since myOn tracks reading time instead of pages read or books completed, students are free to take on more challenging material and take the time to find a topic that’s truly interesting to them.
Brain Chase chose a digital reading partner because digital reading is the future and myOn, with its growing library of digital books, is the perfect partner for the Brain Chase Summer Learning Challenge.
When we sat down to design Brain Chase, we listed all of the potential curriculum partners we could work with to provide a best-in-class experience to our students. There were many fantastic math partners to choose from. But at the top of the list was Khan Academy.
Khan Academy was created in 2004 when Salman Khan, a former Wall Street hedge fund manager, created a series of YouTube tutorials for his niece, who was having trouble in math. The explanations in the videos were detailed and clear, and his niece began sharing them with others. Soon, philanthropists like Bill Gates began to see the vision and provided funding for expansion.
The site currently holds over 4800 videos covering such topics as math, science, chemistry, physics, finance, entrepreneurship, and the humanities. Khan academy also has practice test questions and answer explanations for the SAT and AP Art History.
To sample Khan Academy’s lesson quality, watch one of their video tutorials. This one has been viewed by over 1.6 million people. Pretty impressive for a math lesson.
Khan Academy has created a measure of student effort called “energy points.” These can be earned by reviewing older material, practicing new skills, or watching videos. We love the energy point system because students are free to focus on the topics they are most interested in. But kids aren’t left entirely on their own – Khan continually serves up content recommendations based on an initial pre-test. Brain Chase tracks these energy points as part of the Summer Challenge. Each student must earn 10,000 points each week (that’s about 15 minutes on Khan Academy each weekday) in order to advance.
If “knowledge is power,” then we need to help our children put forth the effort to gain knowledge – even during the summer. This will help them to win the battle against the summer slide. Brain Chase can help through our partners myOn and Khan Academy. There are only a few days left before the program begins. Sign your children up today and help them continue to gain knowledge.