How did you first hear about BuzzMath?
I first heard about BuzzMath through Dan Meyer on twitter.
How do you use BuzzMath with your students?
I have a total of 130 students. I use BuzzMath for practice all year long with my pre-algebra (90 students) students. I also use BuzzMath for review and remediation for my Algebra students. BuzzMath was voted as the second favorite tech tool by my students. The class favorite was the Livescribe Smart Pen.
Use varied per week depending on the concept. Typically, my students completed 3 activities each week. I would assign 2 assignments and then the students would choose their third. The students then had the freedom to schedule their own time to complete the assignments. Some students completed them at home, some on the classroom computers, and some students would complete assignments in the computer lab.
How do your students respond to BuzzMath?
“They really, really like it.” It was amazing to see how much the struggling 8th graders enjoyed the program. They loved the show me an example feature. These students are used to always having to ask for help. With BuzzMath they can use the show me an example button and the calculator for assistance. They loved that it was self directed.
What is motivating for them?
The activity design consisting of 10 problems was manageable for each student. This program really tapped into the students’ intrinsic motivation. Even though they would get something wrong they were able to go back and redo it. If they missed something it wasn’t the end. They didn’t get to the end of an activity and have a result posted on the screen saying they got 3 out of 10 correct. They always had the opportunity to get 10 out of 10 correct.
Have you used other math practice programs with your students in the past? How do they compare to BuzzMath?
We have used Accelerated Math. I found that the students can game the system. They would simply guess multiple choice answers and not think. They have also used the Prentice Hall-Algebra Textbook Supplement. The students didn’t like the interaction and it was not visually appealing or motivating. Both programs also did not allow students to go back and retry. When it was wrong it was wrong. The students found this discouraging.
What results have you experienced this year?
There was definitely a general improvement in confidence in their own math abilities. Instead of looking around aimlessly when given an assignment they would enter the classroom and start working because they had built up the confidence to try.
How do you use the Teacher Reports?
I use the reports to track my students’ achievements. I love that there is no need to grade. I get immediate results. With these immediate results I am able to identify student strengths and weaknesses right away and assign them appropriate activities for their ability. This makes practice more valuable for each student. Each student practices what they need to practice. This has built confidence in all students and it transferred to the whole class. The ability to see a student’s accuracy is a great way to show real improvement.
Do you have any additional comments?
The Common Core Alignment makes it really easy to track where students are and where they need to be.
The students also loved the missions. Students demonstrated such perseverance as they attempted each mission. Students that excel in math loved BuzzMath as well as struggling students. It showed math in a different way for them. For example, the intervals on the number line activities are not what students are used to seeing, so sometimes the students get the wrong answer at first. This challenges them. It is great.
BuzzMath is so good for differentiating. I love the ability to assign the same concept with varying abilities to different students.