Dreambox again…

Posted on December 18, 2012

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I took another look at teh lessons at dreambox.com and was impressed enough to dash off a quick email inquiring as to whether the lessons had their grade or level stamped on them.   I think it was just after I checked the pricing — $20/student per year, if in a school.

Within the hour, the phone rang.  Ergh, I thought, time for the sales rep thing to happen… I prepared myself for those scripted talks.  Mike had my interest, though, when he said that he’d noticed that I worked with students with dyslexia and, by the way, their lessons didn’t have any word problems.    He had to at least click on my signature link to my site to find that out. Hooray for signatures 😉

I briefly explained what I do, and we arranged a callback time … and the first thing he told me was that the minimum number of seats was 25… which does mean we need real money…

We had a good conversation and walk-through of the product (he also correctly assumed that I’d spent a fair amount of time on the site.

I played with more lessons. …   okay, I really want to see their Flash files 😉   I want to get on their development team and talk algebra… maybe talk about ways to enhance the transfer from visual/concrete to the abstract and the actual equations…

Most stuff out there has lots of lovely practice typing in numbers and hoping the answer is right.   These lessons ask what the factors of 24 are… and you can actually grab number rods and line ’em up next to 24 to see if divisibility happens.   Now, I’d want to extend that to the memorized rules, too, because you don’t have time to do that when you’re reducing fractions.  I’d want it set up so that eventually you were being asked about divisibility… and if you got it wrong, then you got to do more dragging and dropping to nail the idea in better (and to encourage being sure instead of guessing).

Update: showed it to somebody else who dragged fives and… yea, an “almost fit” looks like it fits. We really wanted the total to be available — yes, it’s mixing the visual with the symbols, but it would reinforce those multiplication facts, too, and I really doubt it would distract from the visual (it’s hard enough to get lots of students to focus on meaning instead of appearance!)

But no, I didn’t get any of my own dragging and dropping done.   I did figure out last night how to get rid of my “parameter can’t be null” problem … not to be confused with knowing why it’s a problem. And my next step is to let our local programming company VP  (who will also be running the Bicycling and Pedestrian Advisory Commission meeting tonight)  that I have a perfect and precise model — right there online at Dreambox.com — of the kinds of activities I want to write up the proposal to design.  Time to go to said meeting…

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Posted in: math, math anxiety