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EDLAB REVIEW

Smart Sparrow

by Demetri Lales

October 22, 2013

Article Body

Smart Sparrow is an online course design platform that allows teachers or online instructors to create their own adaptive course and give customized responses to student actions. Educators have access to a plethora of customization options to make their course very interactive for their students. They can also control the flow of their lesson to ensure that students get a customized learning experience based on their inputs and activities. Students can interact with courses by exploring the sliders, drop-down boxes, and multiple choice questions. Instructors can also add simulations, Flash plugins, and YouTube videos. Using a collaborative feature called Loops, teachers can ask for help and work together to create better online courses.

Pros:

The fact that Smart Sparrow encourages teachers to create more active online courses sets it apart from more passive online and MOOC offerings. The simulations that can be plugged into the course provide a more engaging learning experience for students. Course creation is similar to authoring PowerPoint slides which could make design easier for teachers who have presentation experience.

Cons:

Smart Sparrow has many tools and options for creating courses but it may be overwhelming for first time users. There is definitely a high learning curve before users learn to take full advantage of the course design platform. Teachers might need to take their time to fully explore all options before distributing online courses. Examples of adaptive courses are provided to give users some ideas and inspirations for how to use the tools available.

Our Takeaway:

The option to create adaptive courses provides online students with a more active learning experience than most other online courses. Teachers will need to spend a lot of time learning how to take full advantage of the course editor. Teachers can use the adaptive features to personalize a course and give students help when they are struggling or a challenge when it seems like they are going through the course too quickly. Smart Sparrow could be especially useful for STEM courses. Though the sequential courses might be a good lecturing tool, using Smart Sparrow for active learning to complement the lecture shows the tool’s real strength.

The Bottom Line:

Smart Sparrow lets you create an online course that can adapt to students.

Image: Logo via Smart Sparrow