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Friday, June 12, 2015

Lower School THINK Math Tech Programs: Launch Grant 2015

My launch grant explored various math programs to use as a supplement to our first grade Think Math curriculum.  I was looking for a program that was easy to manage, had an at-home component, and was fun for the students.  I explored several programs including IXL, Symphony Math Adapted Mind Math, and Splash Math. 

This was the first program I explored.  It was easy to use and navigate as a teacher.  The graphics and quality to the activities were not great.  Kids found it boring since the activities are basic math sheets that look like worksheets they would complete in class. 

2.  Symphony Math -
            This program provides targeted instruction as well as benchmarks for students to meet.  It is similar to Lexia (phonics program we use) and has an at-home component.  The program was geared towards students who are high-risk math students.  Would look into purchasing singe subscriptions, if available, for students who were in need of targeted math support.
3. Adapted Mind Math -                                                        
            This program provided a free month trial, which I explored as an individual.  There were many categories of math topics to choose from which correlates well with our Think Math curriculum.  The games were fun and there were activities for the different levels so it is appealing to kids.  There is also the opportunity to choose from different levels so it meets the needs of all students from those who need support to those who need extension work.  I came across this program later in the year and wasn’t able to get all the information , but I plan to look into this program for future use in the classroom and at home.

4.  Splash Math -
            This program was the best that I looked at as far as accessibility for teachers to navigate and track student progress.  I could set up a class list and monitor kids work at various levels both at home and in school.  It provides categories for students to select which topic they would like to work on and the topics align with the Think Math curriculum we use.  Under each topic there are various levels, for example, under addition, students can do math facts to ten or work on addition problems using two digit numbers.  The games are fun and the students reported that they enjoyed the games for practice.  There is opportunity for students to move to the different sections with ease while playing so they have a variety during their time in the program.  The student reports the teacher can access are clear and provide accurate information about student progress within each section along with information about whether they have mastered the skill or need additional practice.    

I piloted Splash Math in my classroom for several weeks, having the children use the app during morning choice time.  The positives were that it was fun to play, easy to use, and covered a wide range of topics, which matched well with our Think Math curriculum.  The one negative was the difficulty using the program on an ipad with just a trial subscription.  Moving forward I would like to explore more about Splash Math versus Adapted Mind Math to see which would better suit the needs of first graders at BB&N.  I will also consider the cost of each program versus the quality of the program and the purpose for the use of the program.  I plan to continue this work into next year with help from Jen to pilot programs and compare positives and negatives of the programs being considered. 

Rachel Stevens

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