What if you had grown up with math lessons specifically designed for you? What if every day you signed in to a program that accentuated your strengths and was ready to support you through challenges? What if it used of 48,000 data points to help create a customized math experience just for you? It may seem futuristic, but since 2009, Getting Smart Advocacy Partner, DreamBox Learning has been providing an adaptive math product that captures every decision a student makes while learning (not only between lessons, but within lessons) and adjusts the student’s learning path in real time, keeping students in their optimal learning zone while filling conceptual gaps in understanding
The company has taken its own unique adaptive path to EdTech success. It was started by a couple of Seattle software entrepreneurs in 2006 with an initial focus on the consumer space, but in the 2009 – 2010 school year, they found success with Rocketship Education, a high performing charter network and has since continued to work with schools and districts in all 50 states and 10 Canadian provinces, to support the development of “unstoppable mathematicians.”
In April 2010, in a unique transaction, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings sponsored the acquisition of DreamBox through a Program Related Investment by the Charter School Growth Fund. Seeking the potential to personalize K-12 learning Hastings followed up on the acquisition with an additional equity investment in 2011 along with Kleiner partner and New Schools benefactor John Doerr. Charter School Growth Fund’s Kevin Hall, Foundation Capital’s Paul Holland and Hastings sit on the DreamBox board along with President and CEO, Jessie Woolley-Wilson.
A Vision Guided by Core Beliefs
DreamBox Learning is on a mission “to radically transform the way the world learns,” and their student centered focus is designed to support students in a better understanding of math by challenging, encouraging, and engaging them in a personalized way. These are the core beliefs that guide their vision:
- Children persist in learning when they are engaged, challenged, and having fun
- Students are teachers as well as learners who can drive their own progress
- Teachers need support for differentiating instruction to a broad range of learners
Watch | “What do Students Think About When they Learn DreamBox.”
New in 2014 – 2015
Each subscription includes all content in both Spanish and English to ensure that more students can learn in the language most familiar to them and integrates best practices for teaching mathematics concepts to ELL students. Paying special attention to the Middle School Mind, they have also grown from the original K – 5 content. They have carefully designed curriculum customized for middle school students (both in user experience and content).
The online math software combines a rigorous, research-based, pedagogically sound curriculum that is aligned to the CCSS, TEKS, SOL, WNCP, and Ontario Curriculum. It utilizes interactive, virtual manipulatives that help students make sense of what they are learning and develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts. The data visualization developed to communicate math progress is exactly the kind of tool that should be part of frequent communication between educators, students, and families. And, the standards-based reporting provides both teachers and administrators with actionable data regarding understanding and progress.
Whether in a station-rotation, flipped, or pull out model he software is most powerful used as an integrated component of a district or schools blended learning strategy, and in support of instructional strategies. Content is also available through the iPad app. It has been proven effective in accelerating student progression in early mathematics when used 60 minutes per week. You can see a wide range of implementation models from schools and districts in the form of case studies and videos.
DreamBox is breaking down the distinction between assessment and instruction—it delivers both simultaneously on a personal pathway tailored for each student. Until you see an adaptive product like DreamBox in action, you don’t really appreciate the benefits of personal digital learning including how assessment will move into the background, learning will be customized for every student, and motivating content and feedback systems.
With engaging content driven by a smart engine and actionable progress reports, DreamBox Learning Math serves as a benchmark of how we can personalize the learning experience for students in order to delight, motivate, and captivate— all while increasing the number of students who enter high school with a confidence in and a love of mathematics.
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