How I Use It
I introduced the Sumdog website to my groups of fifth graders and created accounts for them to be able to play each other online. Once they were given their login information, they played on this site as often as they could. I've never seen such engagement across all levels and personalities in a class. They absolutely loved that they could get into a game with other students in the class and didn't want to stop once the period was over. Creating user accounts was very useful (although you can play on the site without one) and didn't take much time at all to import. I wish we had full access to all the games (we don't have a paid subscription) but there are plenty of free games to choose from. You can also indicate the skill level you'd like each student (or class) to focus on, which would be great for a teacher who wants the class to practice a certain skill prior to a test. Subject teachers would most likely use the additional features, but I wanted to give students a fun place for a free time activity. It's definitely the students most popular educational website.
I love how the site combines dull, rote learning with awesome, fun games! The students don't think about how much skill practice they are getting because they are so focused on scoring higher than their opponents. The option to play the class or play the world or play a robot are all excellent for different reasons. Students love taking on their classmates, but they also enjoy playing other students world-wide, and sometimes even the robot player! Even dressing their avatars is a fun option (and buying the items at the store with coins earned by playing well is an added incentive.) Everything about this site is done to enhance learning and make it fun instead of tiresome. I would love to have a full subscription to the site, but with budgets the way they are, we can only enjoy the free features. Luckily, they are plentiful!