Wowzers

4/23/2013 By: Jamie Keller

wowzers.com • Retail Price: $25 per year, per student. School and district-wide pricing available

“Master the Core” is today’s battle cry and with an army of requirements out there, teachers are always on the prowl for some much-needed reinforcements. One of the best tools out there for Common Core math standards is Wowzers, a cloud-based learning platform for grades 3-5 (a new platform will be available for grades 6-8 next year). This platform adapts to the learning style of each student for a truly personalized learning experience.

Quality and Effectiveness: Wowzers provides teachers with assessments, lessons, practices, games, virtual quests, quizzes, and even printable homework correlated to national or individual state standards. A powerful dashboard tracks student improvement with data-driven analytics, giving teachers a real-time view of each student’s progress. This tool makes it easy to up the ante or dial it down, depending on individual results. Educators can focus on the standards but for students, it’s all about the fun. Personal avatars take them on animated, story-based adventures as they progress from math practice to math mastery. As a bonus, students can personalize their avatars and space ships called Buzzpods by using coins earned along the way.

Ease of Use: One of Wowzers’ strengths is its simplicity of use. This latest version has a new Wizard feature, which allows educators to choose the adaptive and assessment features that best fit the skill level of their individual students. From the Navigation toolbar, teachers can access the dashboard, add a classroom, see curriculum, create small groups, and design targeted, customized playlists. Also, for big picture planning, Wowzers allows teachers to plan an entire year’s curriculum in five-day increments, making it easy for teachers to assign units, track progress, and create reports. This feature helps keep both parents and administrators in the loop.

Creative Use of Technology: The new Wowzers is now more intuitive, with a continuously adaptive learning system that uses artificial intelligence. This system gives students targeted “nudges” when it senses they are having trouble and provides appropriate remediation. New for the 2013-2014 school year is a complete sound makeover. Highlights include sounds associated with visual cues (i.e. audio “markers”), audio features that link distinctive sounds to specific program components, and a better overall sound quality, including enhanced voice-to-speech recognition.

Suitability for Use in a School Environment: Wowzers, robust content is specifically designed to help teachers understand the standards and share them with their students. Each week’s curriculum offers a video preview of daily concepts and activities, plus additional downloadable homework and other supporting materials. Because today’s school environment extends beyond the classroom, Wowzers is now supported on any mobile device, including iOS and Android platforms. This accessibility gives students anytime, anywhere access to its extensive content.

TOP FEATURES

• Content automatically increases in difficulty based on the student’s performance. This allows students to work at their own pace while focusing on teacher-chosen priorities.
• Detailed, real-time reports allow teachers to see exactly how each student is doing every day. This also helps them to tailor their lessons to each individual student’s needs.
• Full-year math curriculum is displayed in easily digestible increments correlated to individual state or national standards, with downloadable supplemental materials available for each lesson.

OVERALL RATING: As states implement new standards, it’s important to realize that the best way to educate teachers and students isn’t to bombard them but to involve them in the process. This is a concept that Wowzers handily puts into action. Teachers gain flexibility, control, and comprehensive curriculum guidance. Students can personalize their adventures, enjoy interactive experiences, and proceed at their own pace. Wowzers motivates students and immerses them in an engaging world that they help to create. They are more open and eager to conquer new territory above and beyond where their Buzzpods will carry them.

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