How I Use It
I was introduced to MobyMax during the pandemic. As our school district flip-flopped between virtual learning, in-person school, and blended instruction, MobyMax flexed with us. I was initially underwhelmed by the basic interface and minimal graphics, but was won over immediately by how effective it was. (My students were, too!)
I primarily used MobyMax as a supplemental tool for math—but honestly, it has so much great content that it could easily serve as a stand-alone math curriculum. Every mini-lesson has a little instructional video and lots of practice problems. My advanced students took the placement test and worked on the recommended modules on their own time. Everyone else worked on topics I manually assigned. I usually picked topics that would offer some scaffolded review in advance of whole-group lessons or provide a little extra practice on the topics individual students had struggled with. It literally took seconds to find and assign math practice topics, and students could always work on facts if they finished all of their assignments and were waiting for me to assign more. Having the option to print out math "skill checker" questions saved me a ton of time when I needed quick formative assessments for my differentiated small groups. After I used these printed resources for mini-lessons or whiteboard quizzes, I could individually assign the online lessons to students who needed a little extra practice.
Unlike many of the other programs I've used in the classroom, I LOVED that MobyMax didn't restrict students to topics within their grade level or put a big number on the screen identifying their level to other students. This really took out the competitive aspect that other programs (IXL, Khan academy, Freckle.... the list goes on) tend to foster by over-emphasizing levels and points. Last year, my 5th graders worked on a huge range of differentiated math topics on MobyMax, including standards from Kindergarten, 8th grade and every grade in between. I never once saw any of the frustration from students who wanted to be working on "higher" levels that I've typically had to deal with with in other digital programs. My students felt successful when they were working independently on MobyMax. (And in the rare instance that someone did get stuck, they easily could move on to other topics until we had a moment to check in.) From my teacher account, I was always able to see how they were doing with various topics and assign related topics from higher or lower grade levels as needed.
My students loved racking up "game time" as they worked. I appreciated that the games were distinctly separate from the learning content and that students were typically on them for less than a minute at a time. Unlike other platforms (looking at you, Prodigy), when my students were on MobyMax didn't have time to piddle around in the land of games. Time runs out quickly; they had to spend the vast majority of their time actually working on math lessons in order to access the games at all.
Since I only used it for math, I can only speak to my experience in that subject area. Overall, I was extremely impressed with MobyMax and have recommended it to other teachers and families looking for digital alternatives. (Due to the pandemic, it's currently free to sign up!)
So, how does MobyMax stack up against the other programs we've all used for K-8 math? Here's my take:
- IXL has a vast library of math topics at every grade level. Like MobyMax, it has a clean, simple interface that keeps the content at the focus. However, it offers little to no instructional support for independent practice. MobyMax has instructional videos (basic, but effective) for every single topic.
- Zearn has some exceptional, standards-aligned content and kids love how it looks and feels. But, Zearn is designed for a hybrid online/in-person model that requires a minimum use of almost an hour per day, even at the Kindergarten level. MobyMax actually works as a tool for self-paced, differentiated math practice in classrooms where teachers are using offline curriculum and students can't afford spend an entire math block on the program.
- Prodigy is super engaging, but pushes rigor in some grade levels more than others. It also has some very confusing on-screen "manipulatives" that can easily turn into toys or art boards. MobyMax is not as fun or flashy as prodigy. However, it's consistently rigorous without being too hard for students to use independently, and the simple interface keeps kids focused in a non-competitive way.
- Khan Academy might be the most similar product to MobyMax I've seen (at least for math). It's easier to navigate from the student interface than MobyMax and some of the instructional videos do seem stronger. However, it isn't really designed to be the kind of classroom tool that MobyMax is. As a teacher, I feel like MobyMax is a tool for both my students and me, with an understated but easy-to-use teacher account where I could really customize my students' experience on the platform. Additionally, MobyMax is strong at every grade level. Unlike Khan Academy, which is most robust in the upper grades, MobyMax has standards-aligned content—for every topic imaginable—from Kindergarten through 8th grade.