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Firstly, I'd like to make it clear that my review is about Quia Web and not Quia Books or IXL Maths as I have not used these. I discovered Quia a few years ago when I was looking for ways to help with revision for my GCSE's. It quickly became my favourite website as a learning aide due to the amount and variety of activities available.
~What is it?~
Quia is a website that allows people to create and upload activites for other people to use. This means that it is a favourite with teacher's who can create one quiz online which students can easily find at home. It is free to use any of the shared activites on the site but there is a cost to join. In order to create and modify activites you have to join and this is really aimed at educators who know about the subject they wish to set tests on. The cost of membership is $49 a year and the site claims to have members from over 70 countries.
The subjects on here range from basic academic subjects such as english,maths, geography and history to the more unusual such as naval science, zoology, Samoan and speech therapy. This shows that the site isn't just aimed at school children and is suitable for anyone up to and beyond degree level.
There are 16 different activities that can be created to help in learning. They are as follows.
Matching game -Simply matching two cards e.g. word and definition
Flash cards - Same as the originalse.g. word on one side definition on other
Concentration game-As with matching but the cards are covered so memory skills are needed too.
Word search puzzle -Simple word search
Battleship - Again like the original game, different settings of difficulty can be used
Challenge board- A quiz that can be played by one or two people
Columns activity- Two columns that require matching up e.g. word in one column and definition in the other
Hangman game- Simple hangman game
Jumbled words - Reorder words to form sentences
Ordered list activity - Put a list of things (e.g. events or multiplications) in order using numbers 1-20
Picture perfect activity- Put terms in the correct order to uncover a picture
Pop-ups - A quiz that has multiple choice answers using drop down boxes.
Rags-to-riches game -In the style of Who Wants to be a Millionaire
Scavenger hunt -You are provided with internet links that you use to find the answers to a quiz
Cloze activity - Exercises where you fill in the missing word in order to collect "coins."
Patterns-Complete a pattern either mathematical or grammatical etc.
I find these activites very useful particularly challenge board, pop-ups and matching cards. Clearly some of these activites are aimed more at children but I think adults can get something out of the activities that have more of a quiz format. There are 16 different types of activity so, in my opinion, there is something for everyone.
~Design and Layout~
The website layout is very simple with the main colours being blues and white. This gives it a very relaxed atmosphere and again makes it suitable for older teenagers and adults as there are not hundreds of animations flying around. However, because there is so little colour it can appear boring and I think it's design may put some people (particularly younger ones) off.
The list of subjects is in alphabetical order and clearly displayed on the home page. Also on the home page is a search function where students can search for a teachers name. This is extremely useful if you want to find just the activities set by your teacher.
Everything is well layed out and easy to find and you are able to view FAQ's, testimonials and information about subscribing which is very useful. The website isn't patronising or condescending in tone and treats everyone who uses it as though they have half a brain(which some websites do not!)
I also like that after you choose an activity it appears in a new window so you can keep searching through the site at the same time.
I use Quia frequently particularly for working on my French vocabulary and tenses. Despite having done so for over 2 years I have nowhere near run out of activites to complete. There are simply thousands and many more are added each day.
However, there are a few negative points to the site as well. The fact that activites are uploaded from all over the world can occasionally cause a problem. Firstly, due to spelling differences e.g. between USA and UK so I advise you check the nationality of the educator who uploaded your chosen activity.
My second problem is specifically with the language subjects as they can cause confusion. For example, french is spoken in several countries and sometimes I have found slang or words used that are specific to Canada, Switzerland, Belgium etc rather than the French spoken in France which is what I'm focusing on. Again just pay attention to the teacher's nationality and you can generally work out if they're using country specific french or not.
Some content can be repeated and generally this is because teachers have used textbooks to create the quizzes. This isn't really a problem for me but could annoy some people especially if you've already done the work once at school, college or university.
All in all I think this is a great site and will continue to use it. It may be too boring or simple for some or too childlike for others butfor me it works. I have found it very useful and would recommend people give it a go. It's a fun way to revise or even to see if you can remember what you were taught at school all those years ago!