App Review
The Social Express Pro

Fabulous multimedia lessons boost social-awareness skills

  • Kids help each character resolve social situations.

  • Activities include following directions.

  • Helpful teaching tips are included in each lesson.

Quick Take
Pros: Interactive lessons connect to the real world; extensive teacher tools support learning.
Cons: Subscriptions can be pricey.
Bottom Line: Compelling webisodes help students learn to cope with real-life situations.
Learning Scores
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Exquisite graphics and animation -- kids will feel as if they are interacting with a character from their favorite animated movie. Each scenario is familiar to elementary and middle school kids, making this a go-to app.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4

Kids are actively involved in determining appropriate social cues as they help the characters make choices in a variety of real-life situations. These are skills kids can use while playing with friends and with classmates.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 5

The app contains a curriculum with teaching materials, including lesson pre-planning, lesson plans, worksheets, assessments, and more.

Our Review
What's It Like?

The Social Express Pro is an animated app for boosting kids' social-awareness skills. Each lesson presents daily interactive social situations using video modeling, "hidden rules," and suggestions for how to solve problems in daily life. Beginner lessons encourage kids to explore nonverbal cues and the importance of eye contact. Intermediate lessons help kids transfer social rules into real life. Each level includes teacher tips to help teachers guide students in resolving the intended social lesson.

After setting up or selecting a profile, teachers or kids choose a beginner or intermediate webisode. They'll see an introduction screen with the title of the webisode, the goal, and a summary. The fully animated lessons target many of the social skills kids encounter in their day-to-day lives. Kids help each character resolve social situations at locations around town including a cafe, a fire station, a music store, and a park. Every lesson offers the option to stop and replay.

Is It Good For Learning?

Using animated characters and real-life social situations captures kids' attention and offers them a natural way to understand and practice key social cues and skills that are needed for success in life. The app uses beautiful visuals and animation to present realistic day-to-day social scenarios. Each lesson offers kids the chance to make decisions about the choices the characters make, and kids can try again if they respond incorrectly. Repeating the lessons can help increase a child's social awareness. And kids' choices in the app can seed discussions about how to transfer these social skills to kids' personal lives. Printables allow kids to have a tangible reminder about coping strategies, feelings, and more; kids can carry these with them or post them on a wall.

Part of what makes the app shine is the guidance it gives teachers, from the "teaching tips" that appear during a lesson (tips can be turned off for students using the app independently) to the comprehensive Curriculum section with lesson plans, assessments, printables, and more. There aren't many downsides to the app, but the Clubhouse social network raises privacy concerns because kids can reveal personal information. It's optional, though, so teachers can simply choose not to allow students to participate. Additionally, subscriptions might be beyond the price range of some classroom budgets.

How Can Teachers Use It?

Depending on your students, The Social Express Pro can be great for whole-class, small-group, or one-to-one instruction. Using a Smart Board, you can show webisodes to your students and have them help characters make correct social choices. For the speaking component, have students role-play the given scenarios within each lesson to reinforce social concepts. As students become more involved with the lessons, you might even want to video or record students to help them evaluate their presentations. Have students discuss other social situations they may encounter in school, such as the locker room, the hallways, or recess.

This review of The Social Express Pro was written by

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