For the past couple of months, we have been using Zane Education in our homeschool. Zane is one of those products that I am thrilled to have received free for review, because I likely would not have found out about it otherwise! Explaining Zane is a little difficult, but essentially, it is a website composed of 1,600 subtitled online educational videos accompanied by study guides, lesson plans, and online quizzes. Topics covered range from history to science to art. Each video is a few minutes long, but multiple videos are compiled under specific topics. For an idea of what the videos are like, see the free daily video here. The best way I can think of to describe the videos is that they are reminiscent of the film strips those of us in our 30s grew up with in school. In fact, they make me a little nostalgic!
What sets Zane apart from other websites that host educational videos is the subtitling. Recognizing that seeing words fixes them in children's minds, all of Zane's 1,600 videos are subtitled. Thus, as they are narrated, children actually see the words on the screen. Zane calls this innovation "The Missing Piece." Because children have different learning styles, unsubtitled videos that cater primarily to auditory learners miss the mark with more visual learners. Subtitles address that disparity.
Unlike many companies whose main focus is either homeschool or public school, Zane has arranged its website to fill the needs of all kinds of scholars. Although it covers topics that some Christian homeschoolers may be squeamish about (evolution), the Gold subscription includes a 420 page guide on Christian Home Learning which explains how the Zane videos can be used in way that is completely consonant with Christianity. This factor makes this one of my favorite programs: it is equally friendly to Catholic, Protestant, and secular homeschoolers alike. Parents are provided with the tools necessary to make the program work best for their families.
The best way to understand all that Zane offers is to read their "Getting Started Guide." It addresses all potential questions and concerns. It will also help to ensure that you get the most out of your Zane subscription.
Because the ways a family could use Zane are almost unlimited, I will just mention how our family is using it. So far, we are working our way through the Art History and Life Sciences sections of the site. I hook the computer up to the TV so that all of my kids can see, and then play a series of videos (the picture below shows some of the videos we have used, as indicated by the yellow stars).
After watching the videos, we would go through and do the quiz together. The quizzes do an excellent job of assessing whether or not we paid attention and learned! Videos are accompanied by lesson plans which are often short, but packed with relevant information such as glossary terms and discussion sections.
I could actually continue to rave about Zane, but you really have to experience it to believe it. Further, Zane's Facebook Page is an excellent place to find out more about how to use the program. Fortunately, they also have a free subscription option:
For those wanting the full subscription (and, trust me, you'll want the full subscription!), information on all the options is shown below.
If you're interested, though, time is of the essence! By using the code ZE725HSM you can get 35% off a 12 month bronze, silver, or gold membership. That adds up to some serious savings!
We absolutely love Zane. To see what other Crew members had to say, be sure to read the Crew blog.