Review by Galen McQuillen, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2016

Redbird Mathematics

Excellent adaptive math for flipped or blended classrooms

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Math
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
K-7
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (10 Reviews)

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Pros: Excellent adaptive technology, powerful digital manipulatives to build conceptual understanding, great design, and cross-platform compatibility.

Cons: Still not great for kids who really struggle or really excel; most learning is a passive experience, and kids could use more hands-on or discovery work.

Bottom Line: If you're looking for courseware for your nontraditional classroom, this is based on solid research and proven technology.

There are two use cases that Redbird fits well: flipped and blended classrooms. Flipped learning is where students use online courseware at home and then work on projects in class, whereas blended learning gives over some instructional time to using courseware in a computer lab or with a set of laptops. In either case, students will mostly have an easy time self-pacing through Redbird, but the teacher will need to be on-call for occasional bailouts or intellectual pushes.

If a student is really lost, Redbird won't do much for them except kick them into a loop: working though an exercise, then practicing, then going back into learning after missing enough questions, then going back into practicing, and so on. These kids will need more hands-on support with alternate teaching methods and explanations, since Redbird presents most concepts in one or two specific ways. And for really advanced students, even the fastest pace might be a slight bore, so you'll need alternate content for those learners as well.

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Redbird Advanced Learning Mathematics is a digital curriculum platform (now part of McGraw-Hill Education) for in-class or blended learning use that incorporates robust, research-based adaptive technology. Teachers can assign students to grade-level learning tracks or let them sort themselves with a course placement activity. Students then work through a series of exercises to demonstrate prior mastery (Show What You Know), learn new concepts, and then practice what they learned. Along the way, students unlock math-based games and ultimately finish each section with a project to apply their new understanding. 

Redbird keeps a constant tally of student data to tailor the content that each kid sees. Advanced learners will spend less time practicing and more time applying, while kids who struggle will get more direct support and guided practice. Teachers can monitor everything through a dashboard. 

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While most of Redbird's content is still traditional instruction, most lessons have some kind of digital manipulatives, multiple solution methods, or multiple representations of math concepts. These research-based additions help students gain procedural fluency and conceptual intuition more than the typical textbook or lecture. The adaptive content is pretty impressive; in testing, most math concepts stayed right in the neighborhood of just-challenging-enough, seldom becoming overwhelming or too easy. 

Learning games sometimes seem a little unrelated to the concepts at hand, but they're a fun and intellectually stimulating break, if not totally exciting. The end-of-unit projects are really nice, and while not as comprehensive or tangible as an in-class PBL experience, they're favorable in every way to a summative assessment with tons of multiple-choice questions.

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Overall Rating

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

Lessons and activities are all nicely designed, with great digital manipulatives and plenty of interactivity. It's not exactly fun, but it's more engaging than your typical textbook or worksheet; videos and projects spice things up a bit.

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

The curriculum is presented in a pretty direct read-and-remember manner with some heavy vocabulary and occasional discovery tools. There are projects with each unit, but it's not quite full-on project-based 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?

A lot of good help is available for students who are a little stuck, with nice immediate feedback and pop-up tips. Most concepts, however, are only presented one way, so you may need to bail out some kids.


Teacher Reviews

(See all 10 reviews) (10 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
SaraRae H. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Findley Elementary School
Des Moines, IA
Student's couldn't wait for Math time. Redbird keep all students engaged and motivated.

I love redbird because it was able to meet my student at their math instructional level. In my 4th grade classroom, I had students working on first grade skill and 5th grade skills. I knew that my students were working on skills they needed. The stem projects at the end of each unit challenged my students and they loved the real life connection.

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