Wowzers provides online game-based math lessons and assessments that are adaptive and geared toward students in grades K-8. Teachers are able to monitor student progress and assign individualized content to students based on need. Wowzers offers a free two-week trial to all new users, and teachers/administrators who are interested in purchasing full licenses must contact a representative for more details.
Every grade level has its own list of curriculum content, known as a curriculum path. Teachers can choose to follow the pre-set path of topics and content, or they can fully customize the path by removing content, adding content (from any grade level), or reordering the provided content. Every topic in the curriculum path is made up of several days of activities. For example, one of the 33 topics in the third grade curriculum path is Comparing and Rounding Numbers, and it consists of 5 days of activities: Comparing Numbers, Ordering Numbers, Introduction to Rounding, Concepts of Rounding, and Assessment. All sections conclude with an assessment day, in which students complete a series of items modeled after those found on standardized assessments.
Students are given their own accounts and automatically placed on the classroom curriculum path. However, teachers can opt to create subgroups of students and place them on their own customized path or even move individual students to a temporary path for remediation on a given topic.
The way in which content is delivered to students through Wowzers differs based on grade band: K-2, 3-5, or 6-8.
The content in grades K-2 is limited to interactive practice activities in which students answer math questions that are wrapped into a story. Students play as a sea horse and navigate around different environments, interacting with various characters and helping them with a number of tasks. Students answer various types of assessment items, including multiple choice, sorting, and identification tasks.
For students in grades 3-5, the daily interactive activities are much more involved, as each one includes a Tryout, Lesson, Practice, Game, Quest, and Quiz. The Tryout serves as a pre-assessment for the day’s content; depending on how students perform on it, they might be skipped over some of the subsequent content. In the Lesson phase of the activity, students view an interactive presentation and must answer questions throughout. Feedback is provided to students as they incorrectly answer questions. Students then move into the Practice portion of the activity, in which they are given more questions to practice. Much like the Lesson phase, students receive feedback with their incorrect responses. Students who score below a teacher-designated threshold on the Practice move into Remediation, in which they will watch a video that covers a different approach to the Lesson content. After the Practice/Remediation, students play a mathematical game associated with the day’s content. Upon completion of the game, students go on a Quest, which takes them into an interactive world with characters and real world scenarios. During the Quest students are provided with an opportunity to see the content used in context, as they move their character around an on-screen environment. The final portion of the daily activity is the Quiz, which is modeled after standardized test questions on the day’s content. Upon completion of the daily activity, students are given Free Time which allows them to explore the interactive environment with their character and purchase avatar upgrades using coins earned during activities.
Middle school students have a slightly different experience than students in grades 3-5. Rather than have their activities chunked into separate phases, students in grades 6-8 spend the entirety of the daily activity immersed in the interactive world with their characters. All of the portions of the activities for grade 3-5 students are wrapped into a series of interactions that the students make while exploring their environment. The activity is still guided, however, as students must move from one character, store, or location to the next to continue the story. Just like students in younger grades, middle school students answer math assessment items aligned to the day’s content as they advance the story. The day ends with a Quiz and an allotted amount of Free Time, as well.
Once students begin completing activities in Wowzers, regardless of grade level, teachers are able to monitor progress on multiple levels. Teachers can view a quick visual snapshot of where each student in their class is on the curriculum path. In this view they can also see the percentage scores of each student on each completed quiz. More details are provided for each section; teachers can review progress on each day of a given section or even each portion of a given day’s activity (i.e. Tryout, Lesson, Practice, etc.).
New users can try out Wowzers for free, with unlimited student licenses, for two weeks. However, there is a charge for anyone who wants to continue the trial beyond two weeks. Teachers or administrators must contact a Wowzers representative for more details regarding pricing plans.
An independent study conducted by The University of Memphis Center for Research in Educational Policy reviewed state test scores of 97 fourth grade students. Students who spent over 3 hours per week using Wowzers showed significantly improved test scores than those who used textbooks.
Another student conducted by three universities collected data from approximately 2,400 students in grades 3-8. Again, it was found that students who regularly used Wowzers had larger than average positive effects on their state assessment scores.
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