by Rob Rossi | January 2017
Dreambox is Seward’s digital math program for kids in K-8. It offers a way to help kids understand math, and for many it also helps them enjoy math more, however they feel about it when they start with Dreambox. If your kids get screen time, this is a truly worthwhile form thereof, and one worth prioritizing over many other options.
Early in the year a printed letter should have made it home with instructions on how to get your child set up on Dreambox. But such sheets of paper are easily lost, so if you do not have the letter or if you have had any trouble setting up your student’s account, please email dreambox@ sewardmontessori.org, and I will be happy to help! You can also use this email address for questions, problems, or other requests related to Dreambox.
There are a few important things to know about Dreambox. First, it is an adaptive learning program, meaning that it takes into account how a specific student does with given subject matter in determining what to present them with in the future. So if a student has a lot of trouble with a given topic, they might get more practice and more review on it in the future, while if they breeze through a topic, they might get less practice and less review on that particular subject matter.
For this reason, it is important that others do not try out Dreambox while logged in as a given student—be those others friends, siblings, or parents. The Family Dashboard you see when you log into a parent account offers a “demo” column in the “What is currently working on?” section at the bottom, if you want to try out any of the lessons for yourself.
The “Play Dreambox–Student Account” link will have Dreambox assuming that it is your student on the other end, and shape their future content accordingly, so don’t use that for a test drive! You should also be judicious in the help you give your child with Dreambox. It is very important that their answers reflect their own level of understanding. For more details about this, read the blog posting at http://www. dreambox.com/blog/why-a-little-help-can-go-a-wrong-way.
Second, Dreambox is best “played” (it really is structured as a game, for the most part) on a desktop or laptop computer, or a Chromebook. The browser-based version of Dreambox uses Adobe Flash Player. The good news is that means it can be used from most computers without installing special software—just log in, and off you go. Unfortunately, Adobe
Flash does not work on the common mobile operating systems (unless you are a something of a hacker and do something special), so to use Dreambox on a mobile device (a phone or a tablet) you need a dedicated app—and the only one available is for the iPad.
Further, Dreambox requires a constant internet connection and so is not easily used on the road, or even with a spotty internet connection at home (you will find yourself having to constantly log back in again).
On the up side, your student does not have to stick to one device to use Dreambox. They can log in and continue wherever they left off, from any compatible device: be it a public library computer, a friend’s computer, or a school iPad.