First, let us preface this post by saying that we in no way endorse that a computer program can replace a living, breathing, warm-bodied teacher. However, we do believe that on-line learning tools can be a very beneficial addition to your classroom instruction. There are lots of on-line learning aides out there. We have used IXL, Study Island, and RAZ Kids to name a few. While our students have enjoyed and benefited from using all of them, there is one slight hitch.....they are not free! You have to pay to use them. Gotta have a subscription. $$$$$. Not a big deal for us as our school foots the bill, but not everyone is as lucky to have the available funds. Now, we are not saying that you have to have your students use an on-line learning tool, but it does help and we all have a few students who will balk at the idea of math or reading, but, put them on a computer program, and they can't get enough! We were fortunate enough to have a colleague discover MobyMax and she sent the website our way. THANK YOU!!!
While MobyMax does have a Pro subscription that you have to pay for, there is a free edition. I know what you are thinking, "2 Brainy Apples, free editions are junk compared to Pro editions!" Not so fast! Earlier this year I decided to give the free MobyMax edition a try, and, I gotta tell you, I loved it! So did my students....and so did the parents of my students. While the free edition doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the Pro, you do get 30 day access to these bells and whistles so you can see if you think splurging the $59 is worth it or not. Me, well, I didn't splurge because I felt like the free edition had enough bells for what I needed to use it for.
What is MobyMax, you ask? Well, it is an on-line learning tool that encompasses math (including fact fluency), vocabulary, grammar, and reading is coming soon. You sign up either as a school teacher or homeschool teacher, and after you create your account, you can watch a short tutorial on how to use the tool, or, you can be like me and skip the video and just start clicking on what you like :) It is easy to navigate and easy to begin using. You enter as many students as you would like (yes, even in the free edition), and then you have the option of modifying the settings if you would like (I didn't), then your students are ready to pre-test.
How does it work, you ask? Well, Once your students take the pre-test, it places them on their current grade level in that subject area (math, grammar, and soon-to-be reading are determined by mastery of the CCSS). Sound like some other on-line learning tools you have used before? Yep, sounds similar to Study Island.
But, here is the difference that we loved about MobyMax! It then determines upcoming lessons for students to complete. It places lessons in a sequential order from basic skills to more complex skills, so your students aren't just willy-nilly choosing lessons to complete. Yeah, we know you can assign lessons for students to complete in other on-line learning tools, but students and parents ultimately determine which lessons are completed. You can't restrict student access to certain lessons. They have the freedom to choose which ones they want to do. And we aren't saying that's a bad thing, but we know which lessons students need to work on, and it can be time consuming to assign students a lesson because not every student needs to work on the same lesson...but MobyMax makes it easy. If students are in 3rd grade, and they are still having trouble with addition and subtraction, they can't choose multiplication and division lessons because they aren't ready for those yet. MobyMax lists the upcoming lessons students will be working on. As students pass a lesson, they get to move on to the next one. What if you want students to work on a lesson that isn't listed at the top of the list? Well, one of the benefits of being a living, breathing, warm-bodied teacher is that YOU can override the program's decision. And it's very easy to do, we might add, if that is what you wish. We didn't, though.
We even love the way students practice those skills. MobyMax uses a Teach Me, Feedback, and Read Aloud cycle that our students greatly benefited from. Each lesson begins with an animated teaching bit, then students can practice with immediate feedback, and for students who may struggle with reading, there is an option for the computer to read aloud parts of the problem. Perfect for center time at school or independent practice at home.
Now while you do get the Progress Monitoring piece free for 30 days, you still get the scores from each of your students' lessons, so you can easily take those grades and plop them into Excel (or another program) to create your own graph if you decide not to upgrade. This is a great piece of data to have for the RTI process!
There are more great features with the Pro upgrade, but you will get them free to try out to decide if you think it's worth the splurge. Some of the upgrades I used for the 30 days included the Messenger (where you and your students can send secure messages back and forth to each other concerning their progress. I actually had one student ask me to "unlock" a lesson because he wanted extra practice.); badges (if you use Edmodo, then you are familiar with badges...basically the more a student participates, they earn more badges...great motivator for some students!); contests (either between students in your class or your class versus other classes in your school who use MobyMax...we know some students need competition to be motivated); parent portal so parents can see their child's progress and growth; goal setting with progress monitoring which is excellent for kiddos in the RTI process or students with IEPs; and there are many more.
Now, like I said, I didn't upgrade to Pro after 30 days, but it could have been because I found MobyMax so late in the school year I didn't see the benefit of doing so. Will I go Pro after 30 days next school, year..... if I had a Magic 8 ball, it would probably say, "Outlook Good"!
So why am I writing this post now, as so many schools are getting out for summer, and not at the beginning of next school year?
Summer learning opportunity!!!!!I wanted to let you all know about MobyMax so you could spend some time this summer navigating, but also since you have an unlimited number of students you can assign to your class (and an unlimited number of classes you can create to which you assign students), what better way (and motivator) for your current students to continue keeping their skills sharp over the summer and continue to grow??????? Just because school ends doesn't mean your account expires. If you set your students up now, they will have access to MobyMax over the summer months and you can continue to encourage them to keep improving. Parent letters are a snap to print out and send home, and many parents love to have something for their children to do over the summer so they don't regress (and we know most students will regress some over the break). And the best part is YOU don't have to look for practice pages to print, staple into packets, and send home. Too time consuming when MobyMax is ready and waiting. If a student doesn't have a computer or Internet access at home, most all public libraries allow patrons to use their computers and Internet as part of their library privileges.
What do you think about MobyMax? Will you be giving it a whirl? Have you already used MobyMax? What did you think? Let us know your thoughts and if you have used it before. And if you will be using it, please remember to come back and leave us a comment below about your experience!
And don't forget about our Free For All Linky tomorrow! Be sure to come back and link up some great FREEBIES to help everyone get through the rest of the school year!
Until next time!
2 Brainy Apples