Software helps personalize math instruction

“We can blend great teachers and great technology and create an individualized adaptive educational environment to meet the needs of kids [in a way] that hasn’t been done before,” said Mickelle Weary, director of instructional design.

Formerly a teacher, Weary said the program responds to a child’s struggles or successes as a teacher would.

“When we actually sit down and plan the way lessons are going to behave, we take into consideration, ‘What would I be doing if I was sitting next to that child and [he or she was] struggling?’” Weary said. “In sitting shoulder to shoulder with our developers, we would talk to them about how we teach, how we would react to students in the classroom, and they would take that knowledge and they would build our platform.”

West Seattle Elementary special-education teacher Elizabeth Raymond said DreamBox offers huge benefits to instructors.

“What I like about it is it gives me immediate feedback. … I can go into the teacher reports and really see what specific concepts certain students are struggling with,” Raymond said.

DreamBox is unique in its ability to appeal to students, she said, adding: “I really think it can reach those students who have been resistant to traditional teaching styles. It’s a format they’re already familiar with from playing so many video games and things like that at home.”

Raymond said she has trouble keeping her students away from DreamBox.

“This is a program that I don’t have to coax students onto; they actually pester me during the day, [asking:] ‘When is it my turn to go on DreamBox?’ I only wish that I had more computers in the classroom, so I could have more [students] on at a time,” she said.

The results of consistent play on the software are staggering.

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