BELLEVUE, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DreamBox Learning® today announced a new, personalized approach to professional learning for educators developed with a research grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. By using real-time student progress and proficiency data, DreamBox built a prototype that guides math educators to self-directed, on-demand professional development modules that relate to the specific mathematics topics their students are learning in class, empowering educators to improve student outcomes.
“Educators have always focused on meeting students right where they are so that we can engage them in differentiated learning experiences and provide a safe space to learn and grow,” said Tim Hudson, vice president of Learning at DreamBox. “But there hasn’t always been that same commitment when it comes to personalizing professional development for teachers. We hope to improve the achievement of all students by making easily accessible, job-embedded professional development highly relevant to the mathematics concepts that are most important in each teacher’s classroom.”
Research and publications from leading organizations such as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and Learning Forward have suggested that when educators have a deeper understanding of the mathematics concepts they’re teaching, their students have higher achievement.
To study the impact of seamless integration of real-time student data with job-embedded professional development for teachers, DreamBox leveraged its Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ engine to create a prototype platform and compare how teacher usage correlated with student progress and proficiency. Teachers using this prototype were able to access recommended, math-specific professional development modules on specific topics where a student or group of students were learning, growing, or struggling with at that moment.
In addition to the challenge of finding time and funding for professional development, math leaders and administrators have always had difficulty providing relevant professional development opportunities that can reach every teacher. Given that elementary teachers generally have less pre-service and in-service training in mathematics than in literacy, there is a greater need to provide ongoing opportunities for teachers to learn mathematics to ensure equity for all students.
Jesse Hiett, the 21st Century Numeracy Coordinator for the Springfield Public Schools in Missouri, is keenly aware of this need. He appreciates the design of DreamBox’s new approach because “it provides teachers with a safe environment to access the information they need to explore topics they may be unfamiliar with.”
The initial phase of the study focused on grades three, four and five, and yielded encouraging research results. For example, in all three grade levels, the correlations suggest that when teachers accessed DreamBox’s professional development modules, their students showed greater growth in proficiency of grade-level concepts. In addition, greater frequency of professional development usage was associated with greater student growth overall, including proficiency below, at, or above grade level. Furthermore, teacher usage of the professional development modules appears to have had a “catch-up” effect because there were correlations between teacher usage and students’ proficiency growth in math topics from prior grade levels.
“These early findings are exciting and deserve additional exploration and research,” Hudson said. “DreamBox Learning is deeply committed to innovations like this that empower teachers and help them be more confident in mathematics and effective in the classroom.”
DreamBox will launch a new professional development tool based on the researched prototype later this year.
About DreamBox Learning
DreamBox Learning® was founded in 2006 in Bellevue, Washington. The company’s pioneering Intelligent Adaptive Learning™ platform has won more than 40 top education and technology industry awards and is in use in all 50 states and throughout Canada. The DreamBox Learning® Math difference is the combination of a rigorous K-8 math curriculum and a motivating learning environment that work seamlessly with the Intelligent Adaptive technology, which adapts to provide feedback and scaffolding in the moment of learning and over time. DreamBox is available for PC and iPad. For more information, visit http://www.dreambox.com/.