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DreamBox Learning Math
Pros: Inquiry-based learning focuses on concepts rather than procedures.
Cons: K–2 students may need support with the interface and games, at least initially.
Bottom Line: It's an excellent all-in-one solution for extra math support and practice with solid adaptive tech.
DreamBox Learning Math suggests a very attainable five-lessons-per-week goal. Activities are short and repetitive enough to act as a warm-up or exit ticket from class. In the classroom, students can access their accounts from a lab or class set of computers, freeing the teacher up to work with a small group while providing the rest of the class with meaningful individualized practice.
Teachers have the option to change the K–2 interface to look like the intermediate. This is a lovely consideration for older students who have fallen behind. They can practice at their level alongside a peer without the stigma of participating in cartoon storylines geared for a younger audience.
Activities don't come with a traditional lesson component, but students can learn from mistakes. After an error, they are prompted by the hints that can deepen their understanding. Because of mode of instruction, teachers might hold off on assigning DreamBox activities as homework until students are ready to learn from their own mistakes. And classrooms that focus on inquiry or problem-based learning can feel free to assign a standard or concept to students without any prior instruction. Small groups can collaborate to complete a lesson, and can then share strategies and ideas with the whole class when they're finished.
DreamBox Learning Math is an interactive, adaptive, self-paced math program that provides engaging practice activities. It's available for both web-based and iPad platforms, and student progress is tracked across both. It creates a personalized pathway for students based on their demonstrated level of readiness and adapts this pathway as students learn. As students complete lessons, they earn coins, which can be used to play games or to customize their own avatars, wallpaper, and music.
Teachers and parents are able to create and customize accounts for individual students. Depending on the grade level selected, students are assigned to one of three versions: Primary (K-2), Intermediate (3-5), and Middle School (6-8). Each employs avatars that the players select for themselves and offers a game-like atmosphere to hold players' interest. Teachers can also assign specific concepts to students that are aligned to their in-class textbook. DreamBox is able to align with 10 different print-based curricula as well as standards for each state. These customized lessons can be assigned to the whole class or individual students and are mixed in with the individualized learning pathways.
The Insights Dashboard gives teachers, administrators, and parents access to reports on skill and standards progress and mastery for each student. Using real-time data, teachers can identify learning gaps to help them create differentiated long-term assignments for students.
Full Disclosure: DreamBox Learning and Common Sense Education share a funder; however, that relationship does not impact Common Sense Education's editorial independence and this learning rating.
DreamBox Learning Math is a comprehensive mathematics program that covers a wide range of subjects and skills for kindergarten through eighth grade. One of its strengths is that players can progress through the skills and activities of different grade levels, regardless of their actual grade level. Students who need review or a challenge may work at the appropriate level for their abilities, making this excellent for individual practice, remediation, or intervention.
There are many standout games and activities at each level, including the 10-frame lessons in the primary levels and the intermediate lessons on fractions in the real world. The various modeling tools (arrays, 10 frames, number lines) are perfect for concept building, and the narration exposes kids to a variety of math language. The Insights Dashboard is also a useful tool to help teachers spot struggling learners. It even includes links to professional development articles, teacher tools designed to enhance whole class or small group lessons, and resources for parents and families.
While teachers must remain mindful that DreamBox isn't meant to take the place of solid math instruction, they can be confident that it offers great practice and support for students. It's engaging and appealing and contains sound mathematical content and solid teaching strategies.