How I Use It
I use Sumdog as a Math and ELA enrichment tool. We use a lot of online Math games and apps in my Special Ed. classroom and Sumdog is the all time favorite of my students. They get to design and dress their avatar as they "level-up" while playing an ever expanding number of games. There is a "store" where students get to "buy" clothes and accessories for their avatar with money earned through points for correct answers. Students can collaborate or compete against, and with, their classmates or other students across the globe in regularly held competions on the site. Sumdog is a dream site differentiating and personalizing instruction for students with different learning styles and pace of knowledge acquisition because they are able to play at their own pace. What works is the student engagement of this site and the ability to compete and collaborate any where there is an internet connection. Also the built in reporting tools. About the only thing that doesn't work is the fact that the students have so much "fun" doing Math on Sumdog that they don't want to work on other Math sites like MobyMax or Khan Academy that present Math in a more traditional manner.
I am a huge fan of Sumdog in the classroom and not just for Special Ed. students. I think all students Elementary through Middle School ( and high school Special Ed. like myself) can benefit from "playing" this game. It is a good tool for remediation also. It is so much fun that it could be used for homework or as a "reward". For instance, I sometimes assign 20 minutes on Khan Academy or iXL and the reward is being able to get on Sumdog and play against their friends after applying themselves diligently for those 20 minutes. The engagement factor of Sumdog is huge for me as a teacher. If your students actually "want" to use an educational website then they are more likely to use it out of school as well as in school. My students actually go home and "play" Sumdog for fun at night. Assigning Sumdog for homework means that my students will do the homework and have fun while learning. I think having fun and learning are an awesome combination. My students are completing 1000's of Math problems in a school year with an average of 83% accuracy and I couldn't get those results from traditional methods if I tried. Sumdog is a tool teachers need in their toolbox and I highly recommend it.