How math games help level early learning variability

Personalizable programs can support the wide range of learning needs students will bring back to school
By: | April 29, 2021
(My Math Academy)

Students in Moises Vargas’ pre-K class in Harlingen Consolidated ISD are displaying math skills they would not have been expected to develop until later in elementary school.

“In previous years, we didn’t see students doing three-digit addition because don’t cover that,” Vargas said of students in his south Texas district. “Now we know kids have the ability to learn that far ahead.”

A program called My Math Academy, developed by Age of Learning, is helping Vargas address learning variability amongst students, some of whom have remained at home this entire school year.

The game-based platform allows Vargas to track data and adjust lessons to his students’ abilities. He can also determine which students would benefit from one-on-one and small-group interventions, he says.

When all students are using the same application, Vargas also knows they are getting equitable instruction, he adds.

“I also love it because students aren’t constantly getting up and telling me it’s too hard, and they also know they’re going to get feedback,” Vargas says.

Providing context for learning

Personalizable programs such as My Math Academy will be particularly useful as educators address the wide range of learning needs students will bring back to the classroom as more schools reopen, says Sunil Gunderia, Age of Learning’s head of mastery and adaptive products.

“Games provide a context for learning,” Gunderia says. “They take math and make it contextual for children. They’re learning underlying concepts or skills in situations they can relate to.”

Games also support mastery-based learning that allows students to advance more quickly or catch up at their own pace. Also, the platform doesn’t just tell students when they’re wrong; it guides them in applying other strategies to solve the problem, he says.

“Kids play games on other platforms, and they won’t accept something that’s not as robust and entertaining when they’re learning.”