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In EdSurge Case Studies, educators share their real-life experiences with edtech in their schools and classrooms.
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Jill, @lifeofjill
Math K-12 Learning and Instruction Specialist, Eagle County Schools, Colorado
Project-based classroom, Special education students, High ELL population, and Low income population

Teachers were struggling with understanding how to intervene and fill gaps in mathematical understanding. We were using a test to determine grade level equivalence as a benchmarking tool but then doing nothing as an intervention. There was an expectation that students would grow just from being in class and being a part of the universal instruction. Teachers needed to see what conceptually based instruction looks like while also being provided an opportunity to do some small group instruction (we have teachers trained in Add+Vantage Math Recovery). The goal is for Dreambox to be used as a "supplemental intervention". We want teachers to design instruction that meets students' needs based on the Add+Vantage Math Recovery diagnostic assessments and then use Dreambox as an additional support (not the only support).
Dreambox is conceptually based instruction that provides students numerous visuals/models for thinking about operations. It follows the Concrete-Representational-Abstract method of presenting new content. Combine this with no timer, wrong answers accepted as part of the learning process, and fun and math suddenly doesn't have such a bad connotation!

Product Use: So far we introduced Dreambox at our summer "camps" which reaches around 1/8 of our K-8 students. This will allow these students to be the "experts" and support the roll out during August when our schools are back in session. We felt that this was a great way to get students excited about using it and have a portion of our teachers see the product in a relaxed environment. Some teachers have already asked if students could use Dreambox for (optional) homework instead of what they have been doing in the past.

What Worked and What Didn't: The choice to use it with our summer "camp" kids and schools first seems to be working. Teachers are not overwhelmed with how to incorporate it in their camp day and kids are having fun.

Age Group: N/A (I am an administrator), Middle school students, College students / adult learners, and Elementary school students

Jul 7, 2016 Provide Feedback
Renée Jordan, @missus_jay
Learning Specialist, Yellin Center for Mind, Brain and Education, New York

I had a student with a complex educational history. By seventh grade had moved schools and states several times leaving unique gaps in his mathematics knowledge. He had his basic numeracy and foundational algorithms in tact, as well as several grade level skills. Yet due to the disjointed nature of his school experience there were several logarithms he still had yet to master.

Product Use: Since my student still needed to be working on grade level mathematics and complete all of the current math assignments as well I used Dreambox as a free-time activity as well as gave him access at home and assigned it as his homework. The goal was to use the program to fill in the gaps he was missing in a fun, engaging way that didn't feel like too large of an extra burden.

What Worked and What Didn't: The program does an initial assessment which evaluates a student's skill level across math areas and scans for gaps. The program then will provide games for the child to play that targets their specific gaps. This was perfect for my student since he didn't need to build every single math skill, but he needed a targets approach to close some gaps in his fund of knowledge. The games were also "fun" so my student was receptive to practicing his skills in this manner over doing work sheets or other rote math tasks. The reporting and tracking features were incredibly helpful for both the student, myself and his parents. It was encouraging to see him progress. The student enjoyed seeing his reporting charts and felt a sense of accomplishment seeing that he was actually making progress in the skills that had been so difficult for him to master.

The one downside I found was more an instructional approach on my end and not a problem with the program. Since I had also assigned Dreambox at home as "homework" it began to feel like an extra chore for my student. In hindsight I don't think I would have labeled it as "homework".

Age Group: Pre-K students, Middle school students, and Elementary school students

Jul 7, 2016 Provide Feedback
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