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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Online Learning Made Fun, a review of Miacademy

Looking for fun, educational games and online social interaction for your kids, but without any threat of scary or inappropriate content? Miacademy is a brand new interactive website designed with kids and their safety in mind. I recently had the opportunity to try out and review this subscription-based program with three of my kids, ages 8, 11, and 13.

Miacademy Review

What is Miacademy?

It’s a safe little world on the web where your child can watch educational videos, practice math and language arts skills, learn new vocabulary, become familiar with other languages, race dragons, practice typing, create and decorate their own castle, earn and care for virtual pets,  interact with fellow players (if you choose to allow this option), team up for challenges, and more.

Activities are divided into two main types: educational activities and just for fun activities. There is some overlap, but basically children can do the educational activities to earn gold to use in order to buy the opportunity to do the fun extras. 

Kids earn ranks in each of the learning activities by successfully completing levels. They earn gold by watching lessons, completing quizzes, gaining ranks, etc. Then they can spend their gold to care for their pets, buy furniture and accessories for their castles, play just for fun games and so forth.

Parents can also “deposit” gold into their children’s accounts for completing chores or homework or any other reason.

miacademy students 1

While Miacademy does have videos that explain things like phonics, parts of speech, math concepts, and so on, it is not meant to be a complete curriculum, but a fun way to review, to reteach, or to give extra reinforcement to concepts already learned. I like the foreign language, and word root activities, as these are things that I sometimes don’t fit into our formal studies.

Parents can set grade levels for students in various areas and control whether or not they can interact with other players. With a premium account, you can also assign particular assessments, learning activities, and even allow or block access to particular games.

miacademy subject access

 

Your parent dashboard shows you want your kids have been up to and how they are doing:

 

miacademy students 2

miacademy reports details

My kids had no trouble finding their way around Miacademy.

You can navigate using the tabs at the top of the screen or by going to the My World page.

miacademy my world page

After logging in, your will be greeted with a set of “challenges” to complete within three days to earn some bonus gold. One of those challenges is creating a Mini Me:

miacademy mini me

 

They’ll be introduced to an individualize learning path that either you’ve assigned or the site has chosen for them based upon their learning level:

miacademy childs learning path

 

But they’ll also have access to all the games, videos, and community features (that you’ve allowed):

miacademy main games screen

miacademy community

 

The community is moderated. You can see that my daughter, Emma, is friends with her siblings, Mary and Peter, so they can see each other’s progress on the site.

miacademy community 2

Games Format

Learning games that earn gold are denoted by a gold symbol. Other games cost gold to play. Some of the learning games have teaching videos that you can watch prior to playing (you can skip the videos, also).

miacademy science games

 

Most of the learning games have a multiple choice format.

miacademy math game

But there are also typing games that require direct typing input and foreign language games that have you click on items to match them with vocabulary words.

miacademy beginning typing

miacademy french boutique

Games are adaptive. If your child finds that after completing a level the game is too easy, they have the option of skipping levels. If it was too difficult, they can try an easier level.

There are other learning games with a more “game-like” format, including:

  • Typing Guardian---you shoot up enemy spaceships by correctly typing words
  • Dragon Race Track---you play against another player or the mystery dragon
  • Spelling Fire

So, what can you do with all that gold?

You can upgrade and outfit your castle, buy templates in the design shop and customize them, take care of your pets, and play fun games like Dragon Fire.

miacademy emmas castle

miacademy pets

miacademy design shop

You can sell things you’ve made in your shop.

miacademy marys shop 3

miacademy marys shop

 

Go to the My Business page to find out how well your wares are selling.

miacademy my business

So, what do we think of Miacademy?

As it’s a relatively new site, occasionally we’ve run into something that could have a better explanation, an assessment that had issues, or a game that could work a little better, but the developers are very open and appreciative to feedback and are continually improving the site.  I’m already impressed with the variety of activities available and I have a feeling it’s only going to get better and better.

I worried when we first tried this program that only my 8-year-old would like it, but you know what? All three kids have found parts of the program that they genuinely enjoy. 

My 13-year-old likes the Typing Guardian program, as it helps her improve her typing speed in a fun (and not annoying way---why are so many typing games for kids annoying?). She also likes practicing her Spanish and French with the foreign language games. And she loves the design studio and has been playing around with the cool features in that.

I think the 8-year-old hasn’t found a game she hasn’t liked.

The 11-year-old likes the games that teach him the names of things (like instruments and exotic animals). Both of the younger kids like to “take care of their pets.” And play Dragon Fire.

We’ll definitely be using the math games to keep those concepts fresh over the summer and there are some activities we haven’t even tried, yet.

If Miacademy sounds like something your kids would enjoy, try 7 levels of any game for free, make a Mini Me, and more.

If you like what you see, the monthly subscription rate is very reasonable and a great way to try out the program’s full features.

Current pricing options can be found here, including monthly, annual, lifetime, and family options.

Miacademy Review

Disclosure: Miacademy provided me with free access to this site in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

2 comments:

  1. We love this site! I have 3 kids that use it. I have them write for the newspaper as their weekly writing assignment for our homeschool and they like to do math games on here instead of doing drills with me. :-) They also LOVE running their own stores!

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    Replies
    1. That's great! We haven't even checked out the newspaper, yet---there is so much available on Miacademy that it takes a bit to find all the goodies in the nooks and crannies. Thank you for sharing. :)

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