How I Use It
Our district just started using the product and I watched first graders totally engaged with it today. They were so excited about the options and choices they could make throughout. We are using it as a purely supplemental tool for all learners. The adaptiveness of Dreambox can be seen early on. Where most game-like learning tools have students wanting to choose the same activity as the person next to them, Dreambox's high engagement level had students dialed in to their own activities. It was interesting to watch how the program adapted to students depending on how they answered, or didn't answer, certain questions. Students got very excited to earn coins and other tokens.
What was difficult for kindergartners and first graders was the amount of clicking they needed to do to get to their login. Since it's a district subscription, they had to find our school, then their teacher, then their name, then choose a picture password. The school names are written, which is difficult for kindergartners. The teacher icons all look the same (there may be a way to change that, but we haven't gotten that far). Each time it will get easier, for sure. Additionally, some of the introductions to each of the "lands" in Adventureland seemed long. Finally, since it is adaptive, teachers might have a hard time with the idea they cannot check a box or select specific activities for what was taught in class that day. Adaptive means the students work at their own pace and on concepts for which they are ready.
For upper grade students the reviews are mixed. Some of the activities are more confusing and difficult to determine a proper strategy for solving. Some problems seem "old school" or algorithmic and others are more open-ended. The graphics and format are appropriate for upper elementary students and students are engaged in the rewards.
Our primary students are so excited. It's going to be a great way for teachers to identify strengths and weaknesses in math. I liked that once students were logged in, navigating around the areas was predictable and easy for young students. I also liked how many choices students had to make once they were in. As a supplemental tool, it will be a great addition to our classrooms.