App review by Caryn Lix, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2014
DimensionU

DimensionU

ELA and math games alternate between play and practice

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 1 review
Privacy rating
62%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
2–10 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
English Language Arts, Math, Communication & Collaboration, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Fast-paced multiplayer gaming gives kids a fun way to review concepts together.

Cons: At its heart, this is basically a multiple choice quiz with game elements layered on top.

Bottom Line: DimensionU is a fun way for kids to review basic concepts, but there are other opportunities to get the same practice for free.

DimensionU lends itself to practice and homework after a lesson, or as a skills brush-up. Teachers can keep tabs on their class' progress through reporting tools like emails, a teacher dashboard, progress reports, etc.. If everyone in a class has the game, it could be fun to organize class tournaments and competitions, and would help get students to play on their own time as well. As an extension activity, teachers might also challenge students to think of their own low-tech games that cover similar concepts as DimensionU.

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DimensionU is a collection of four games -- single or multiplayer -- that feature practice problems reviewing a variety of Common Core (CCSS) Math and ELA concepts:

  • In Meltdown, students try to collect colored balls in sequence before time runs out. Each ball gives them a shot at answering subsequent multiple choice questions. Both balls and correct answers award points.
  • In Swarm, students work with teammates to capture "nodes" by answering questions correctly. Playing with others definitely increases speed and engagement.
  • In Tower Storm, students earn balls by answer multiple choice questions. They then throw the ball through matching hoops to create a tower.
  • In Velocity, kids answer questions to earn items like jet packs or super jumps then use these abilities to compete in a race. This is probably the most fun of the games, and also the one that covers the least amount of content.

DimensionU covers a huge number of CCSS outcomes. It does offer "codes" -- chunks of text teaching concepts -- but students are unlikely to use them, so it works best as a review game. Following the traditional edutainment model, the game elements are often at odds with the multiple choice style review questions. So playing the game is something that precedes or directly follows doing the practice problems rather than the two being fully intertwined. It's more fun than a worksheet, and should encourage students who don't normally enjoy (or do) homework to spend some voluntary time on review. But it's not a compelling enough mixture of playful activity and learning to make it a great standalone learning tool for students to explore and dig deep into concepts.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

Playing with peers should keep kids interested for a bit, but the games themselves aren't inventive.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Covers tons of content, but it's taught through multiple choice questions and not baked-into play.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

The website is supportive and instructions precede each game, but there's no way for a slow reader to pause the instructions before they leave the screen.


Common Sense reviewer
Caryn Lix Classroom teacher

Community Rating

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Featured review by
Isabell A. , Other
Other
Waste of time for the child in front of the screen. Music during the app is exhausting. Interface is beyond tiring
what a waste of time for an 11 yr old child trying to figure out one app that did not deliver more than frustration. Not a good start at all for a first time online lerner
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether this product displays personal information publicly.
Unclear whether user-created content is filtered for personal information before being made publicly visible.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Unclear whether users can create or upload content.
Processes to access and review user data are available.
Processes to modify inaccurate data are available.
Ads & Tracking
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Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted advertising.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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