Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Algebra Champ

The first year I used iPads in my classroom, I used Algebra Champ.  At that point, I was just learning how to use certain apps in class and most students who played with this would just rush trough it, guessing on the answer and then complaining that the app was "Boring!", so I removed it.  Now with a couple years of use, I have a better idea of how to integrate it into the classroom.

Algebra Champ is designed to practice solving one, two or multi-step equations.  This does not help them learn the basics of the process.  It does not give feedback.  It gives the problem and students can punch buttons until they get the correct answer.  They are not allowed to move on until they have selected the correct answers

On the the application.  Students get to choose an avatar and a name.  As you can see, I chose a female avatar who looks kind of feisty.  Once that is taken care of, they are ready to play.  Algebra Champ has four levels with problems ranging from solving one step equations in level one to requiring use of the distributive property to solve in level four.

As stated earlier, this is an app designed for students to practice solving multi-step equations.  So the good things about this app are
1. Every time a student goes through a level, there are new problems.
2. There are only 5 problems in each level.
3. They cannot move on until they select the correct answer.
4. Gives a percentage of correct.
5. Keeps a score board.

The things I do not like about the app:
1.  No real feedback - does not state wrong, just won't let you move on until you select the correct answer.
2. Does not show how the problem should have been done.
3.  No place to work the problem in the app (or at least as far as I could find.)

 Now the question is, will I use it next year?
Maybe.  In order for this app to be used, I have to do one of two things or even both.
1.  Set the percent level for 80 percent before the student can change levels.
2. Use an app like zoodle pad and have students use that to show their work.  They could either send the work to me via e-mail, dropbox etc. 

Personally, I think I would do both, especially if I noticed students just pushing buttons to get the right answer.  I want them to slow down and really work the problems, otherwise they will not improve.