Review by Emily Pohlonski, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2013

DigitWhiz

Practice math at your own pace with adaptive, free games

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Grades
3-7 This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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Pros: Kids will love personalizing their avatar and will find themselves feeling confident as they work through games at their own pace.

Cons: Games could be a little more fun; they're often repetitive.

Bottom Line: A fab free way to build foundational math skills by playing adaptive games.

Teachers can use DigitWhiz as practice once kids have been introduced to a topic. It has a well-organized student data tracker on the teacher dashboard; this makes an excellent tool for demonstrating student progress. Teachers can easily set up a class list by uploading a spreadsheet with the headings First, Last, User, and Pass. Make sure the passwords assigned to kids are at least six letters long. One way to launch DigitWhiz is by playing their one-minute introduction video. Teachers may also choose to walk students through the process themselves using a teacher computer and a digital projector. Teachers can also send a note to a kid’s task card by clicking on the envelope on the teacher dashboard. As kids work through the practice games, they are periodically prompted to take a Mastery Test. When they complete certain tasks, they earn stickers and other digital prizes.

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DigitWhiz is a free practice tool to build foundational math skills for third grade and up. Kids play games to practice multiplication, division, integer operations, combining like terms, and solving equations. Students begin using the site by taking a five-minute pre-assessment on multiplication. Then they customize their own avatar, named Digi, by adjusting his fur, antennae, hat, shirt, and shoes. Each kid will have a customized task card that shows them what games and skills they should be working on. Teachers, parents, and kids can track progress through time spent on the games and performance on online Mastery Tests.

"PrimeFactorWhiz" – Drag and drop numbers to build a factor tree.

"MultiBounce" - Click on moving balls in a particular multiple order (ex: 2, 4, 6, 8,…).

"EquationsWhiz" – Drag tiles around to solve single- or multi-step equations.

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DigitWhiz is one the of many online math practice programs that has popped up lately. It stands out because it's free and high-quality. There's an emphasis on identifying where each student is at and then doling out targeted games at their level. Kids'll play a variety of games to practice multiplication, division, integer operations, combining like terms, and solving equations. They're all a little different, and some are more fun than others; "EquationsWhiz" has you drag tiles around to complete equations, while others require speedy mental math skills. Some games let you choose whether you'd like the theme to be Animals, Sports, or Nature. It's best used for practice once kids have been introduced to a topic, as games move along pretty fast and don't really address the basics. Some of these games are a bit repetitive, but kids get to make a lot of choices, and Digi's sideline support is very encouraging.

Some of the other free math practice sites like Tutpup and XtraMath simply have kids use the computer to enter answers. DigitWhiz has games and incentives that add a little excitement for kids. No, they're not as fun as costlier sites like Reflex; however, the kids are manipulating tiles or numbers in a way that moves beyond simply typing numbers into a computer.

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Overall Rating
3

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?
3

Kids will have fun personalizing their own alien avatar named Digi. As they play, they can earn stickers and clothing items for Digi, who's pretty cute. Site design is colorful but not overwhelming.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?
4

Games are targeted to each student’s specific needs; as kids play and improve, games adapt and keep challenging. This kind of accuracy helps keeps kids on track and moving forward at their own pace.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
3

Regular data is available to show how kids are progressing. Within games, tips appear for kids who are struggling.


Common Sense Reviewer
Emily Pohlonski Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

3
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Featured review by
Kelly A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Ladue Middle School
St. Louis, MO
3
Engages but doesn't transform

Overall, there are better adaptive math programs on the market than DigitWhiz. While the game-based program is attractive to students, the games are relatively simple in concept, and students will lose interest quickly. The depth of knowledge addressed in the games is fairly shallow, and there doesn't appear to be any real-world connection made. The curriculum is not very extensive, so learners who are relatively far above or below grade level will be out of luck. Bottom line: have this in your toolkit, but leave it on the bottom shelf.

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