How I Use It
My third graders were extremely excited about this program. We've tried other game-based learning programs with math focuses, but this one really seemed to capture their interest. They enjoyed earning points to spend on upgrading their avatars and travel pods. Being able to assign customized paths for students kept them in their instructional zone--not too easy, but also pushing them into practice of newer learning. I appreciated that ability to see data and student progress from a number of different perspectives. I also liked that students could receive extra assistance with video explanations and that lessons were structured into introductory concepts, time for practice and quizzes. Instant feedback was helpful for both teacher and student. One thing both my students and I missed was a social gaming experience found in some other similar math game-based learning programs. I can see how this product could really be an effective addition to concept practice and home learning, but it ended up being too cost prohibitive for us to use a viable resource.
This product has two really great things going for it---it is engaging for students (especially those in grades 3-5, older students found the format a little childish) and it provides teachers with excellent data of student progress and concept understanding, even down to single question error analysis. It also suggests student groupings (in an RtI tier-type model) for teachers to provide targeted instruction in areas where students need extra support or enrichment. The program is pretty easy to set up and assign students to learning paths. However, while there is a 30 day free trial, the cost of the program is pretty steep. Approximately $30 per student per year was too costly to sustain.