Graphite, a branch of Common Sense Education, is a website which provides excellent reviews of apps, games, and websites for educators and parents. Graphite’s main menu includes their top picks, connections to Common Core standards, a blog, and other teacher resources. My favorite section is their general “Reviews and Ratings” because of its excellent search filter. I can select my students’ grade range, desired content area, platform, price, and the type of digital resource I want (apps, console and PC games, and websites). Graphite’s reviews are thorough enough for me to make intelligent decisions about my selections.
Here’s an example of how I used Graphite to find an app related to elementary science. After entering my criteria, I was directed to an app called Brain Jump Pro, which helps educate kids on how the brain functions. Ned the Neuron guides kids through a variety of challenges, where perseverance is encouraged and kids learn the importance of challenging themselves, especially if they are initially unsuccessful. Graphite’s review lets me know that kids can earn badges (but only one student’s progress can be charted). A novel feature of this app are the videos explaining the science behind the activities. How serendipitous that was for me! I spend a lot of time talking to kids about how and why our work is brain-friendly. Brain Jump Pro seems like a perfect fit for me. I’ll give it a try and then I can add my review to Graphite.
Graphite is a winner for me!