Product Review: Pearson digits

3/21/2011 6:00:00 AM

By MaryAnn Karre 

Product: Pearson digits (http://digitsmath.com)

Retail Price: Districts can subscribe to digits for their students for under $12 per year, depending on subscription length. Extension years can be purchased for only $7.97 per student.

Pearson's digits is a comprehensive middle grades math curriculum program that is completely written to the Common Core State Standards, and which integrates lesson planning, homework management, intervention, and assessment, all within a user-friendly design that encourages class collaboration via interactive whiteboards.

Quality and Effectiveness         

Pearson uses a student-centric approach of integrated assessment, instruction, and practice, called the “InterACTIVE Learning Cycle™”, to address student needs and offer differentiated study plans, lessons, and homework that support grade-level proficiency.  Teachers present engaging, interactive lessons that are based on real-world applications of mathematics, then students receive the individual lesson and assessment that is tailored to their needs.  Each content-rich lesson consists of three parts: launch, dynamic examples, and close and check, for comprehensive instructional support and student engagement. Struggling students are offered support and scaffolding activities, while accelerated students are challenged to learn beyond the basic grade-level material. The program contains a yearlong curriculum with 15 or more topics per grade level, and six or more lessons per topic. 

Ease of Use                 

Lessons flow logically, in English or Spanish, with or without audio presentation, and with access to a helpful dictionary, so that students can independently follow from instruction, through practice, to assessment.  Each lesson is accompanied by Teacher Support materials which help effectively pace the lesson, and which provide support questions and materials to boost understanding.  Some of these materials can be edited to support local requirements or to include additional materials.  Since homework is personalized and auto-scored, it is effective and saves time, allowing the teacher to use data-driven reports provided by the homework to focus her next lesson.  

Creative Use of Technology                  

The technology behind digits allows auto-differentiation, a minimization of teacher administrative tasks, embedded  formative assessments, and visual presentations of the mathematics.  Digits' lessons are specifically designed to be delivered via an interactive whiteboard for whole-group presentation and collaborative learning, while  individual students receive feedback and support  in the form of personalized coursework, study plans, and homework.  The effective use of  technology allows digits to deliver a multi-layered approach to mathematics instruction; there is point-of-need intervention to get students back on track, to prevent on-level students from falling behind, and scaffolded homework with immediate feedback and grading, to help students monitor progress.  While some of the assessments are designed to be printed, most of the resources mesh digitally, providing a complete instruction-assessment-support-reporting circle.  The videos and interactive lessons  are designed to keep learners motivated; using technology provides them with individualized learning paths and self-guided exploration options.  Because it is Web-based, digits provides anytime-anywhere access to instruction and feedback, and extends learning beyond the classroom.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment       

Designed to be used in a technology-rich middle grade environment, digits could successfully replace traditional math instruction, and enable teachers to easily blend data-driven instruction, assessment and intervention into an effective teaching tool.   It is aligned to the Common Core Standards, and meets state requirements for on-level content in classes made up of students of widely varying abilities.       

OVERALL RATING                              

Top features:

  • Having digits in the classroom is like having personalized textbooks for each student, which assess the individual's progress, support deficiencies, and extend learning for those who excel.
  • Personalized study plans and homework assignments which are auto-corrected and reported provide an effective school-to-home-to-school connection which streamlines teacher preparation and allows for increased and more targeted instruction time.
  • Digits  allows teachers and districts to adapt to revisions of the Common Core Standards as they move towards implementation; digits will be able to roll out content updates, and will offer standardized test practice appropriate to each state’s assessment system.
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