Website review by Carrie Garges, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2020

DreamBox Learning Math

Individualized, game-based math adapts to kids' needs

Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
Community rating
Based on 155 reviews
Privacy rating
85%| Pass Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Grades
K–8 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
Math, Character & SEL, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Inquiry-based teaching strategies focus on conceptual understanding rather than procedures, and adaptive technology is strong.

Cons: K–2 students may need support with the interface and games, at least initially.

Bottom Line: Excellent all-in-one solution for extra math support and practice, with solid adaptive tech that supplements, but doesn't replace, curriculum.

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.

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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. 

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?

Game-like features and engaging characters create a fun environment, while learning experiences keep the focus on the material. Accessible goals and rewards encourage daily practice.

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?

Pairing automated adaptability and the ability for teachers to assign individual lessons creates a dual approach to differentiation, though there's no direct instruction.

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?

Customization -- language and closed-captioning -- enhance accessibility. Some hints are limited to repeating directions; however, the program adapts if material becomes too difficult.


Common Sense reviewer
Carrie Garges Classroom teacher

Community Rating

(See all 155 reviews) (155 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Daniel W. , Homeschooling parent
Homeschooling parent
Games are fun but there is not a lot of instruction, just repetition and memorization.
From our perspective this program is not actually teaching them much. It uses a lot of repetition and seems more focused on memorizing answers. My 6th grader prefers Khan Academy since he feels he is actually learning math concepts there, With DreamBox he feels he is just clicking through games and has to get things wrong first before it gives any clues on what to do. And even then it just gives him the answer so he can get it right next time. He is frustrated that it doesn't ever explain what he i ...
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Users cannot interact with trusted users and/or students.
Users cannot interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Profile information is not shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are displayed.
Behavioral or targeted advertising is not displayed.

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

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