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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


K-2 Math Interactives - Utah Educational Network

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.75 stars
Content Quality: 4.75 stars
Effectiveness: 4.75 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 23, 2013 by Teacher Education
Overview: K-2 Math Interactives compiles a set of engaging and well-appointed games for children to utilize in learning various mathematical concepts. The site, a part of the rich collection of learning objects curated by the Utah Education Network, features a bevy of applications that will be sure to help achieve learning outcomes in the K-2 classroom. This site could be used at home or at school to help keep children learning while having fun playing animated, interactive games.
Learning Goals: Users will be able to integrate these learning objects into current standalone lessons on basic mathematics topics. Students will be able to practice basic math skills in a wide variety of fun and engaging games.
Target Student Population: K-2 Instructors, Math methods classes for pre-service teachers. Some of the games would work as well with preschoolers or with third graders who need extra help.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic computing skills such as drag and drop. Very basic math skills or parental guidance.
Type of Material: Drill & Practice; Interactive games
Recommended Uses: Many of the games could easily be demonstrated in class, and then given to students to play in teams, as individual assignments in a lab, or as homework.
Technical Requirements: The webpage only requires a browser, but the individual games have various plug-in requirements (Java, Shockwave or Adobe Flash), which are labeled under each game.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: The way in which the individual modules are presented are both engaging and useful to the target audience. Activities have been collected from across the web and compiled into a varied collection of resources that are sure to keep learners invested in the content both in and out of the classroom. Students can choose from a wide variety of games (28) on the math page. Most provide tips for parental guidance and help or hints for users who may be stuck. Most include animations and audio. Some include levels so a beginner can progress
Concerns: While the materials are presented in a clean and well-designed format, there is no other information each module other than the plug-in requirements. Having some sort of icon or short explanation of the mathematical theory presented would greatly improve this website.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.75 stars
Strengths: Students can choose the type of math they want or need to practice because the interactive games available cover many math skills including counting, sorting, shapes, patterns, addition, subtraction, and measuring. Learning objectives are clearly stated for each lesson and written in language geared toward the target learner.
Concerns: By making connections between the activity and the lesson to be learned, and then grouping the activities in a way that students can progress through the modules, learners will be able to see a clear path for how they should move through the material. In doing so, learners can build upon previous lessons and activate prior learning for better retention of the content.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: With minimal hangups or distractions, it is simple to get started using these lessons. The color palette, layout and presentation of content is mindful of the end user and supportive of the learning content. All 28 games are located on one page, each one easily recognizable as a separate game with its own fun icon. Each game opens in a separate browser window that that the user never loses the main page.
Concerns: Because these modules link out to external sites, the impetus of keeping the links fresh lies on the authors of K-2 Math Interactives. In fact, when visiting some of the links, the games were no longer there. Additionally, there is no explanation that the quality of the linked games and the instructional support for each varies with each item.

Other Issues and Comments: Having some way to save the progress of users completing modules would be excellent, particularly if it could be reformatted as game-based learning to encourage users to keep coming back for more. The K-2 interactive links which are are located on the Utah Education Network website, are not just for math practice. By clicking back one spot on the bread crumb trail the user will find interactives for all kinds of topics including reading, writing, listening, art & music http://www.uen.org/k-2interactives/ Also some of the game pages have advertisements which may be inappropriate or distracting for children of this age group.