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This project was submitted by an applicant to the Digital Media and Learning Competition.

BuzzMath

The learning content, programs, or activities that will be supported by badges.

BuzzMath seeks to provide engaging and rigorous content in an online learning environment that fosters inspiration and motivation in mathematics education. As an online program, the opportunity to learn exists 24 hours a day. The overall goal for learning is for students to master concepts based on the Common Core Mathematics Standards for Middle School students. Students will enhance their mathematical knowledge by completing concept specific documents, which contain a series of approximately 10 strategically designed pages that support scaffolding instruction. Each page provides practice problems, instant detailed solutions, examples, and dynamic values. These documents provide students with the practice and skills to complete standard based challenge documents and ultimately progress to the completion of problem solving missions. Each advancement students make will provide them with the opportunity to collect badges and access exclusive opportunities. Try one of our 275 documents: Integer Addition Using a Chip Model.

The skills, competencies and achievements badges will validate.

BuzzMath will provide three types of badges based on three components of mathematical competencies; content knowledge, process knowledge, and achievement.

  1. Content knowledge badges (refer to BM_Image01.jpg) will validate knowledge of specific content relating to numbers and operations, algebra, data analysis and probability, geometry, and measurement. As students complete a number of documents within one Common Core Standard, they will unlock a Challenge document that will provide an assessment of their content knowledge. Each of these challenge documents will incorporate learning techniques like retrieval practice (students will learn by doing), spaced repetition (upgradeable badges encourage review of concepts at different times), and interleaving (document design provides practice of a mixture of problems).
  2. Badges for process knowledge will highlight a student’s success in problem solving, reasoning and proof, mathematical communication, and ability to make connections and representations.
  3. Achievement can reward good behaviors, such as collecting 50 stars or completing 10 documents with perfect accuracy.

In BuzzMath any badge represents more than just a resulting score. Students are given the tools to successfully complete all documents. Thus the earned badge represents a student’s effort, persistence, and achievement in the learning process. A student’s collection of badges will provide a clear picture of their personal mathematical knowledge and understanding of middle school math based on the requirements of the Common Core Standards.

Identity and roles.

The story line behind BuzzMath is that all of BuzzCity’s mathematical knowledge has been lost during a terrible accident. Students must help the professor, Alfred Bowtie, recover this knowledge by collecting content badges and solving missions. They practice and enhance their skills as they attempt to save BuzzCity by playing a fictitious role as Alfred’s assistant.

Opportunities or Privileges.

Individual badges serve as symbols of accomplishment and pride for mathematical mastery of specific concepts. The accumulation of these individual badges leads to exclusive opportunities and privileges for students. After students complete practice documents they will be able to complete challenge documents that will earn them a badge related to the content of the challenge. As students collect challenge badges they will be granted access to missions. Theme-based missions include content specific puzzles, challenges, and games that are related to the lives of real life mathematicians. Try a mission document (select “I’m a Teacher”).

As students accumulate badges they will also receive exclusive entry into online math competitions. These competitions will consist of challenging problems that students will complete in a specified time period. The names of the top scorers will be posted on the BuzzMath website leaderboard.

As students demonstrate mastery of specific concepts and skills and accumulate badges, they will be given the privilege to enter various learning communities that foster online collaboration with other students. Within the community they will be able to assist other students with their learning as well as work collaboratively with students to solve challenging problems.

Existing assessments.

BuzzMath currently uses Class Tracking Reports to track and measure the performance of all students (refer to BM_Image02.jpg). These progress reports show the progress, time spent, and accuracy of each student for each concept. This current reporting system makes it easy to identify students who are successful and those who are struggling based on specific content strands. While the information from these reports could be used to identify students who are successful and deserving of badges, it is limited to the statistics generated from practice documents.

The implementation of a stronger assessment tool would be used to support the incorporation of content knowledge badges.

Partners and Organizations.

BuzzMath is made up of a team of math educators, computer programmers, a graphic designer, and an illustrator. Currently, there would be no need to partner with other teams or organizations for this badge implementation project. As BuzzMath expands, the possibility to partner with video game designers, video production organizations, and other content experts may present itself.

Administration of the badges.

Students’ badges will be displayed on their BuzzMath profile page which will be accessible to other students and teachers in their class. To share badges outside BuzzMath (Twitter, Facebook, e-Portfolios or other website) another service will be required like the Mozilla Open Badges system. BuzzMath will create a secure way to share information on badges to this external backpack.

Branding

Each badge will be made of three layers of information (See BM_Image03.jpg). The outer layer will determine the type of badge we have collected (knowledge, process knowledge, or achievement). The inner medallion or second layer will be an iconic representation of the skill or competency that has been measured. The third layer could include the BuzzMath branding, information on the level of the badge (for those that can be upgraded) or any state of the badge, and visual cue of the number of badges required to collect the entire family.

BuzzMath - Collecting a Content Knowledge Badge

BuzzMath - Detailed Results

BuzzMath - Badge Layers (Draft)

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