Schooled by 5-8 year olds: Make Changes to Student Status that Students Can See

I’ve talked before about all the beta testing we completed before launching the product to the public. A significant portion of the beta testing took place in schools where the Academic Team (all certified elementary teachers with 75% having earned National Board Certification) could watch kids playing. We watched for signs of confusion and boredom, as well as excitement and learning. We listened carefully to their questions and statements muttered throughout the play. Kindergartners especially are known for talking aloud as they play. On the other hand, second and third graders can more easily express their misconception and “aha: moments.

Making A DreamBox Math Game That Kids Can Really Use

I’ll never forget the day we realized our users didn’t “see” the differences in their game maps. How could they? We’d show them a map with some circular icons glowing, and they would choose one to play. The next time they saw their map, some of the icons were the same and some were different. A check mark indicating a game was successfully played was ignored. We needed to do a better job of telling the student, “Yay! You passed this game. Here are some new games to play.” The next time your child plays DreamBox, watch the map in the Adventure Park closely. When you return to a map, changes take place in front of the user. Lesson icons appear and disappear. Check marks appear. Reward backpacks fall onto the screen. When kids see their progress, it’s more meaningful and engaging. Whew! A minor tweak with huge results.

Did we learn our lesson the first time? No! Unfortunately, we repeated this mistake in the Carnival. But rest assured we are currently working to correct this behavior!