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According to University Challenge star and maths teacher Bobby Seagull, we need a hook to encourage children to embrace maths. If we can find something interesting and engaging then that’s half the battle in helping children discover the magic, power and beauty of maths.
Online games are certainly one way of doing this and Sumdog could be the very hook you are looking for. This educational website motivates children to practise their maths and English skills through a variety of over 20 engaging games.
When used for the first time, the first few games make up a diagnostic test to determine their proficiency level so children are placed at the right level against the curriculum.
It doesn’t stop there though as Sumdog works using an adaptive learning engine which monitors children performance to ensure that the questions asked are continuously fine-tuned and appropriately matched to each pupil’s ability level.
To play Sumdog, children simply answer curriculum-aligned questions and play their selected game. The teacher chooses which skill the children needs to focus on but the child can choose the game.
Each child answers individually tailored questions, letting children of different abilities play together, boosting confidence in those that may traditionally struggle.
They can then opt to play against the computer or against fellow pupils from their class. Using their dashboards, teachers can also play along and join the action to compete with children too.
Sumdog is wired into engagement by giving coin rewards to pupils answering questions correctly which they can then spend on developing their “house”. And when they master a new skill, they can teach their digital pets new tricks.
To oil the joints and to get in the right frame of mind, Sumdog provides a warm-up game which are a bunch of quickfire revision questions. This gives children more practice time and gets their minds moving.
What I like about Sumdog is that it doesn’t leave children high and dry if they answer something incorrectly. At the end of the game they are shown corrections and for many of the skills they can then watch a Khan Academy video tutorial to help them understand the concept.
For teachers, the dashboard is the main working area and this is where you can customise and set work such as assessments, challenges and competitions as well as join free regional or national contests.
The reports feature is my favourite because it is here you can drill down into pupil performances and look at their specific strengths and weaknesses. You can view the progress they have made against the curriculum, view key stats and compare data between year groups and classes.
If you want to know how much time children are spending on Sumdog then you can. Their learning time report feature lets you see how much time children have spent engaging with Sumdog at school and at home.
Sumdog is particularly useful for parent-teacher meetings because it equips you with the evidence and the tools you need to demonstrate progress and what areas need to be developed.
This helps with setting challenges and sharing intervention strategies as well as engaging parents in monitoring progress more intimately.
Compelling evidence of a significant impact on standards has been seen in Glasgow’s most deprived primary schools where regular use of Sumdog by its pupils has contributed to a reduction in the attainment gap for numeracy between rich and poor of 20 per cent in 2017/18.
Far from being a distraction, this online platform has real power to transform maths learning and Sumdog is definitely top dog and perfect for class teachers and school leaders.
You are looking for an innovative and online platform with real teeth and plenty of bark that has a proven impact on pupils’ progress and can narrow attainment gaps.
Reviewed by John Dabell
Sumdog is delighted to be founding partners of Maths Week London, taking place 10-14 June. Join children from across London as they compete in a fun online maths contest from Sumdog to become the capital’s champions! Register for your free Sumdog account at sumdog.com
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