Common Sense Review
Updated May 2016

MobyMax

Track progress, play games with CCSS-aligned multi-subject lessons
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Common Sense Rating 4
  • The student dashboard lets kids access lessons, games, contests, and goals.
  • Audio features let students hear questions and potential responses as they read.
  • Some questions, such as this one on photosynthesis, are not accurate and can cause misconceptions.
  • Students have access to immediate feedback and can always try again when they miss a question.
  • Assign lessons, set goals, and monitor student growth from the teacher dashboard.
Pros
Easy-to-use, standards-based assessment tool monitors student growth as students try and retry questions from multiple subjects.
Cons
Students learn only through simple guided practice, and assessments could demand broader skills-building rather than direct standardized test prep.
Bottom Line
Use these standards-based lessons to promote independent, self-driven learning and monitor student growth.
Jason Shiroff
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 4
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

The easy-to-navigate student dashboard lets students move independently through lessons, games, and communication features. Kids will feel motivated to master tiered lessons to earn time in the game area.

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

Although the lessons and test questions aren't especially inventive, features for differentiation, progress self-monitoring, and goal-setting make this a good tool for meaningful learning.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4

The design and layout make for easy use. Both students and teachers can monitor progress; there's also a portal for parents. Audio is available for on-screen text.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

MobyMax lends itself to independent practice whether at school or at home. Instead of using a worksheet, use the platform to design a contest for homework. After a daily session on the site, use the poll feature on the wall as a means of formative assessment. Be sure to plan regular sessions throughout the year to monitor growth; you can print reports and let your students reflect on their own learning (the charts, graphs, and short responses will be helpful). These results and reflections can also be useful to share with parents.

For middle school students, consider setting up stations and utilize a lesson as a stop in the rotation of activities. For elementary school students, use the lessons in small reading or math groups as you target students who have similar goals or learning growth rates. For any class, practice active reading strategies, such as annotating, using the texts located in the site's curriculum library. The site's printable worksheets can support guided practice during class warm-ups.

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What's It Like?

MobyMax is a K-8 learning platform (and Chrome app) for math, literacy, science, and social studies equipped with adaptive tests, test-prep lessons, and motivational tools such as games and badges. The app claims that all sections (from Fact Fluency to Informational Reading Skills) are explicitly aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. MobyMax also features specific state test-prep activities. Unique features include teachers' ability to assign badges for performance, student goal-setting, student-teacher messaging, and teacher-created class contests. The site also has a Wall feature where teachers can post class messages, assignments, events, and polls.

Based on an initial adaptive test, teachers can select lessons for each student. Subsequent adaptive tests monitor students' skill growth and "learning velocity," the tool's term for the rate at which each student learns. Students work through lessons to achieve proficiency, which earns them playing time in the site's game area. Teachers can customize the features and content for students, and parents can monitor their children's scores via a parent portal.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Teachers can customize lessons for each student, making MobyMax a great fit for matching learning to individual students' needs. Lessons are mostly composed of multiple-choice or constructed-response prompts; some teachers might balk at a tool that's so explicitly linked to test prep, but lessons are solid enough to promote some meaningful learning and conceptual understanding. Some of the science questions, however, are not accurate and may lead to student misconceptions in the future. While it's fun that kids can earn game time, the games aren't always explicitly linked to learning. It would be great if games reinforced learning rather than serving solely as a break. 

Ultimately, this is a solid tool for guided practice and progress monitoring. It's great that teachers, parents, and students all have access to tracking a student's progress. As a result, MobyMax's feedback and reports can empower students to become more accountable for their own learning. A paid subscription is needed to access many features including unlimited placement tests, progress monitoring, badges, games, and contests.

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