EdGems Research

EdGems is dedicated to research. We offer school districts updated findings and research of recommended middle school mathematics digital educational content, and then help those districts with their digital content selection. We work hard to insure that the content districts want is well-organized and efficiently accessed by their teachers and students.  While EdGems does not evaluate instructional materials, we provide research findings, where available, on curricular resources that measure, among other things: alignment to the depth of the CCSSM; instructional supports for students and teachers; and assessment.  

The EdGems research process includes careful review of grade-specific and subject-specific research and recommendations generated by a diverse cross-section of educational content research efforts. Some of the sources for this research include:


  • Educational research organizations and independent educational resource reviewers, such as: Achieve; the Charles A. Dana Center; Common Sense Education; edshelf; edSurge; Edutopia; EQuiP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products); IMET (Instructional Materials Evaluation Tool); the New Jersey Educators Resource Exchange; the Noyce Foundation; the Regional Education Laboratory at EDC; the Silicon Valley Education Foundation; Student Achievement Partners; and others;
  • State Departments of Education and their state-funded education initiatives, such as: the California Mathematics Project; NJ Core; the Ohio Department of Education; the State of Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction; the Utah Educational Network; and others;
  • Universities, such as Carnegie Mellon University; Columbia University; the University of California at Berkeley; the University of Georgia; Loyola University; the University of Maryland; Utah State University; the Worchester Polytechnic Institute, and others;
  • Curriculum agencies, such as the National Council of the Teachers of Mathematics; EduCore/ASCD; and others;
  • School districts, such as Howard County Public Schools, Maryland; the nine school districts of Washington State’s Learning Source; and others;
  • Federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation;
  • Teachers’ organizations, such as the American Federation of Teachers.

We help the districts by organizing their links to the digital content they have purchased or to free content that meets their needs for each standard. Ongoing feedback from the districts regarding usage helps us update linked content.

As part of our review, we use a scale to help our districts see where each of the content resources they might use falls on a spectrum of evaluation, and where that resource has been vetted for alignment to their state’s adopted standards.  It's important to note that the degree of research conducted by content providers or independent evaluators does not correlate to a particular level of improved learning outcomes.  EdGems bases its progression scale on available research.  Some content providers do not provide all of their research to the public.  

                                             The EdGems Review Scale


The chosen content is recommended by school districts as a Common Core-aligned resource they use. 


The chosen content has been aligned to the Common Core standards and reviewed and rated by educators according to a list of qualitative review criteria.


The chosen content has been aligned to the Common Core standards and reviewed by users, and clearly shows that there was a research basis for the various instructional strategies and content incorporated into the program.


The chosen content addresses Levels 1, 2, and 3, and an external evaluation of the content has been conducted.  This level also applies to independent, quasi-experimental studies of the linked content that addresses Levels 1, 2 and 3, but whose findings can't be generalized because of the size of the study's participants.


The chosen content's efficacy was proven by a wide team of teachers and mathematics educators prior to the content's publication.  

Always Updating:

As schools and districts continue to implement the use of digital content to meet their evolving needs, and as new research is conducted for aligned digital resources, EdGems is dedicated to helping content providers match their content to users and to helping users make choices about the types of content that meet their needs.  EdGems invites content providers to submit published research for review so that vetting criteria reflect the most accurate and current information.

Districts' Content Resources For 2016-2017:

For 2016-2017, EdGems links to the learning resource providers below, which are in addition to instructional resource providers selected by the district.  

Click on the name of resource provider for a description of the provider's content, corresponding published research or reviews, and where the content falls on the 1-to-5 Review Scale.

alt text The Actuarial Foundation

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The University of California, Berkeley (College & Career Academy Support Network)
  • The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Based in Illinois, the Actuarial Foundation, through a partnership with Scholastic Inc., provides instructional resources and activities aligned with the Common Core and NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards for students in grades 4-12. These resources are a part the foundation’s “Expect the Unexpected with Math” program, designed to support mathematical achievement in young people. The foundation also provides educational content for the “MathCounts” school handbook, an annual publication of over 300 math challenges that meet the NCTM standards in grades 6-8 to help prepare middle school students for the MathCounts national math competition

alt text Braining Camp

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • Plainville Public Schools, MA
  • Falmouth Public Schools, MA
  • Randolph Township School District, NJ

Brainingcamp is an online, visual and interactive technological tool that provides visual lessons, interactive virtual manipulatives, and other ways to help students to understand abstract concepts in a more concrete manner.

EdSurge.org Review

“Brainingcamp offers browser-based middle school math software (though subject-based apps are also being developed) that has been designed around the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics focal points and state math standards for grades 6-8. It can be used to introduce concepts or to make abstract concepts more concrete and visually understandable. Students start with short 5-10 minute lessons covering more than 50 topics, which introduce math concepts using animations and narrations. Then, students can explore the interactive models (“virtual manipulatives”), answer questions, and play games based on real-world scenarios. Teachers or parents can find activities according to standard, and also view real-time progress reports with detailed data showing what students have worked on and how well they have performed (though only on certain multiple-choice questions, not on open-ended problems)."

Common Sense Education Review

"At its core, Brainingcamp is a prerecorded direct-instruction curriculum that does a good job of teaching procedural math skills in a standardized-test-friendly way. It offers some features that give it a discovery-learning flavor, such as free-play digital manipulatives, but multiple-choice questions and easily reducible word problems promote just as much learning as needed for benchmark assessments.

Brainingcamp has a crisp, functional, but bare-bones design; a nicely animated lecture approach with limited interactivity; and sparse student feedback. This site works best as a supplement to inquiry-based curricula. It’s great direct instruction, but giving users more feedback beyond right/wrong and making separate exploration and discovery tools a more integrated part of the learning experience would push Brainingcamp into elite edtech territory."

alt text BrainPop

CCSS Alignment Vetted By:

  • The Cumberland County School System, NC
  • The Georgia Department of Education
  • OCM BOCES (Onondaga-Courtland-Madison Board of Cooperative Educational Services, NY)


"This site features animated videos and curricular content that engage students and support educators in grades 4-8. The animated characters help introduce new topics and illustrate complex concepts. The content is mapped to the Common Core, aligned to academic standards, and searchable with the online Standards Tool. BrainPOP is easy to use, with no downloading, installation, or special hardware required."

Common Sense Education Review

"BrainPOP's Math module includes a collection of videos and activities that are grouped into six content areas: algebra; data analysis; geometry & measurement; numbers & operations; probability; and ratio, proportion, & percent. Most videos cover middle school content, but some address content relevant in the upper-elementary grades. Other videos touch on some more advanced curriculum, as well. Overall, these resources are easy to incorporate into a lesson.

The videos on BrainPOP are surprisingly effective and engaging and simplify complex issues in a short amount of time. Students can take quizzes in Classic Mode or Review Mode, the latter requiring a correct answer to move ahead. The questions are of the standard multiple-choice variety, so there is very little critical thinking taking place. Students will more than likely skip the reading materials unless directed there by the teacher.

When available, games such as Sortify and Time Zone X allow students to apply some of the knowledge they learned in the video. The Make-A-Map activity lets students create custom concept maps with keywords, images, and their own writing. This sort of creation material can be powerful, but students will need guidelines and goals to make sense of their meaning. Overall, BrainPOP is logical, well-thought-out, and enriching."


In 2009, SEG Research conducted a multi-site efficacy study to evaluate the effectiveness of BrainPOP. The findings indicated that "students using BrainPOP in grades 3, 5, and 8 made significant improvement in Science, Reading Comprehension, Language, and Vocabulary Skills compared to students in classes that did not use BrainPOP."

  • It's important to note that the study did not address improvement in math, and in 2009, the Common Core State standards were not yet adopted by states.

alt text buzzMath

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • Richmond County School System, GA
  • Palo Alto School District, CA

buzzMath is a platform where middle school students develop mathematics competencies corresponding to the Common Core standards. The project issues Open Badges aligned to these standards as students complete activities.

It is one of 30 winning Badges for Lifelong Learning Competition projects, an initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and administered by HASTAC (the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) through Duke University and University of California-Irvine, in partnership with the Mozilla Foundation.

Common Sense Education Review: Is It Good For Learning?

You might consider adopting buzzMath as your middle school math curriculum for grades 6, 7, and 8, not just because of its complete and aligned content, but also for the monitoring tools it gives teachers. Just-in-time instruction gives kids what they need when they need it. Kids work at their own pace and can learn from their mistakes through multiple opportunities to master each question.

A digital calculator is always available, but most questions involve more than simple calculation asking kids to use number properties to calculate mentally or to select the proper unit as part of the answer. Skip the initial guides and explanations; the interface is quite simple and usable without the up front time investment.


From 2012-2013, buzzMath was piloted by two teachers at a public middle school in New York City. The teachers used the program with 180 sixth grade students every Friday for 12 weeks. The study, by the John Hopkins Center for Research and Reform in Education, involved a student survey, a teacher survey, classroom observation, a developer survey, a developer interview, and product usage data.

Among the pilot test findings were:

  • Both teachers felt the program was effective at increasing student learning over and above regular teaching practices and promoted higher-order learning such as critical thinking or problem solving
  • The majority of students indicated that the program helped them understand the math material (89.3% agreed) and helped them do better on tests (76.3% agreed)
  • Both teachers reported they felt that the program was easy to use, relevant to their class' instructional needs, and enhanced their ability as teachers to achieve lesson goals
  • Teachers felt the program worked well in helping students practice and reinforce skills they had already learned.
  • Both students and teachers perceived buzzMath to be a valuable tool to reinforce concepts learned during classroom instruction, encourage a deeper understanding of content, and allow for the practice of knowledge acquired. An important finding from this study was that students felt the product was helpful to provide clarification on topics they may not have fully understood during classroom lessons. Similarly, teachers found that the product allowed them to more easily determine gaps in individual or whole class knowledge based on data provided to them through student performance within the program.

alt text Dan Meyer Three-Act Math Tasks

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Regional Education Laboratory at EDC
  • The Georgia Department of Education
  • The Annenberg Foundation
  • The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

A Three-Act Task is a whole group challenging task consisting of 3 distinct parts: an engaging and perplexing Act One, an information and solution seeking Act Two, and a solution discussion and solution revealing Act Three.

The Three-Act Tasks in EdGems have been created by Dan Meyer and align to a particular standard. They follow this sequencing:

The initial Act 1 set-up video tells a brief, perplexing mathematical story and allows students to see the situation unfolding. The video inspires curiosity or perplexity which will be resolved in Act 3 via the mathematical big idea(s) used by students to answer their questions.

Regional Education Laboratory review:

"This site provides approximately 70 lessons that are each linked to one or more grade 3 through high school Common Core math standards and one or more Standards for Mathematical Practice. Nearly all the lessons, launched with a video or graphical hook that invites students into the relevant mathematics, balance procedure and conceptual understanding as students work in teams and individually to resolve the mathematical problem posed."

alt text EngageNY

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • EQuiP
  • Achieve

EngageNY.org is developed and maintained by the New York State Education Department. In order to assist schools and districts with the implementation of the Common Core, they have provided curricular modules and units in PreK-12 ELA and Math that can be adopted or adapted for local purposes. Algebra 1 consists of a high-level outline (curriculum map and module overview/assessment bundle) for instruction and a set of curriculum materials following that outline – including topic overviews, daily lesson plans, extensive problem sets, guiding questions, examples of proficient student work, and other materials.

EngageNY used the following criteria to insure alignment with the Common Core State Standards:

Publishers’ Criteria;

Tri-State Quality Review Rubric and Rating Process (composed of educators from New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and facilitated by Achieve);

Math Content Emphasis (featured in the PARCC Model Content Frameworks for Mathematics)

The Math Toolkit (based on research from Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study; the Institution of Education Sciences, and the Math Department of UC Berkeley).

EngageNY’s Algebra curriculum at the high school level was independently researched by the State of Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction using review criteria from EQuiP, Achieve OER, and IMET.

alt text GeoGebra

CCSS Alignment Vetted By:

  • OER Commons

Geogebra was designed to enhance the extent to which a student can visualize mathematical concepts and enables them to represent mathematical models in various ways. Geogebra is used throughout the world, and continues to be developed at the University of Florida through a National Science Foundation project.

Common Sense Education Review “What’s GeoGebra Like?

GeoGebra offers kids and teachers the option of using existing math explorations or building their own. The existing pool of explorations is vast, so it covers most high school Common Core math expectations, especially those involving graphing or geometry. Activities are built and shared by anyone who wants to be an author, so quality varies greatly. Many, like “Calculating Mean, Standard Deviation, 5-Number Summary, IQR,” do not provide specific directions for kids.

However, GeoGebra gives kids a way to access math that moves beyond straightforward pencil-and-paper computations. Traditional methods of performing constructions with a compass and a ruler can be time-consuming and frustrating for kids. GeoGebra makes it quick, easy, and fun as long as the kids have clear directions.

Is GeoGebra Good For Learning?

Teachers will need to spend some time with the extensive tutorials in order to familiarize themselves with the program and its capabilities. The administer tutorials provide options to let teachers incorporate GeoGebra into their existing class sites using Moodle, WordPress, and other options.

How Can Teachers Use It?

GeoGebra is a free software program that lets kids create mathematical constructions and models. They drag objects and adjust parameters to explore algebra and geometry simultaneously. GeoGebra also lets teachers make their own interactive worksheets or use free materials created by others.

After you click on Download from the homepage, the site gives you the option to use WebStart or Applet Start. WebStart downloads a program using your computer, requires Java, and gives you an icon on your desktop. Applet Start is fully functional and just uses your browser window.


It takes time for teachers and kids to learn how to use the software, and user-generated content varies in quality. GeoGebra is interactive and challenging, but kids might get frustrated and give up if they don't get clear direction


A number of independent studies have been conducted on the efficacy of Geogebra’s instructional resources at the high school level. Several of those studies (listed below) correlate the use of Geogebra to increased test scores in transformations, coordinate geometry, and trigonometry.”

Bakar, K. A., Ayub, A. F. M., & Tarmizi, R. A. (2002). “Exploring the effectiveness of using GeoGebra and e-transformation in teaching and learning Mathematics”. Proc. of Intl. Conf. of Advanced Educational Technologies EDUTE, 2, 19-23.

Saha, R., Ayubb, A., & Tarmizi, R. (2010). ” Procedia Social and Behavioral Science, 8, 686-693.

Zengin, Y., Furkan, H., & Kutluca, T. (2012). “The effect of dynamics mathematics software geogebra on student achievement in teaching of trigonometry”. Procedia Social and Behavorial Sciences, 31 , 183-187.

alt text Illuminations

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Ohio Department of Education
  • New York City Department of Education
  • Los Angeles Unified School District

From the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM):

"Illuminations provides standards-based resources and materials that illuminate the vision of NCTM for school mathematics and improve the teaching and learning of mathematics for all students. Lessons and activities on the Illuminations Web site have been developed in alignment with NCTM’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics and the Common Core State Standards of Mathematics.

Each of Illumination’s web resources has been reviewed and approved by a panel of experts. Links to Exemplary Sites must meet the following three criteria:

  1. The mathematics is accurate
  2. The website fosters understanding or supports implementation of the NCTM Principals and Standards for School Mathematics.
  3. The website is well organized, easy to navigate, and well maintained.

Each of the web resources has been reviewed and approved by a panel of experts. Sites are chosen based on review and approval by the Illuminations Advisory Panel.”

alt text Illustrative Mathematics

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • Student Achievement Partners
  • The National Science Digital Library
  • The Delaware Department of Education
  • The New Hampshire Department of Education
  • The Oregon Department of Education
  • The State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
  • The Utah Education Network
  • The Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Illustrative Mathematics represents a community of educators directed by Dr. Bill McCallum — one of the lead authors for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics — dedicated to the coherent learning of mathematics. Its materials provide guidance to educators by illustrating the range and types of mathematical work that students experience in a faithful implementation of the CCSS. The Illustrative Mathematics examples are vetted problems that serve in illustrating and clarifying the CCSSM, but more importantly give both teachers and teacher leaders an understanding of mathematics and skills in using it. The example problems are linked as teacher intervention resources on the Illustrative Mathematics website (www.illustrativemathematics.org).

alt text IXL

CCSS Alignment Vetted By:

  • Indian River Central School District, NY
  • The Parkland School District, PA
  • Jefferson County Schools, TN

Learning List Review

IXL Learning is an online program that enables students to practice mathematics skills in an individualized learning environment. Mathematics resources are available for grades K-12 and address the grade-level Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). IXL resources support guided and independent practice. Students work at their own pace to complete interactive problems tailored to individual learning needs. Independent work is encouraged through a system of points and rewards. IXL’s mathematics content is organized by overarching skill categories (e.g., Division) and specific skills (e.g., Estimate quotients). For each skill, students work through problem sets that adapt to address gaps in learning and gradually increase in difficulty. Student dashboards display the number of problems attempted, the time elapsed during the current session, and the student’s “SmartScore.” The SmartScore is IXL’s proprietary, algorithm-based measure of student proficiency. SmartScores range from 0 to 100 and are broken into seven proficiency levels ranging from “Not Practiced” to “Mastered. Students earn ribbons and rewards for achieving SmartScore levels that require a score of 70 or higher. Students also earn “virtual prizes” (e.g., a scooter) for achieving specific goals, such as practicing for an hour or mastering specific skills. SmartScore data and other information collected through IXL’s reporting tools help teacher identify and address learning gaps.

Common Sense Education Review

Is IXL Good For Learning? The targeted activities — pretty much drill and practice in format and approach — can provide extensive opportunities for independent practice. For example, at sixth grade you get an impressive 277 types of math-skill practice activities. Unlike many sites where students do drills, though, this one gives feedback on how to get better. Overall, IXL’s limit is its drill and practice. However, it gives students the tools they need to improve in math and build confidence.

Note: In EdGems, links to IXL are for the free version of the resource, which provides 20 free practice questions per day per computer. IXL's premium version allows teachers to track student performance and provides an unlimited amount of questions.


In 2011, IXL Learning partnered with Empirical Education to study the effectiveness of IXL Math in Beaverton School District in Oregon. During the 2011-2012 year, IXL Math was used to supplement instruction in two elementary/middle schools. The study focused on 4th and 5th grade students in Title I schools and examined the relationship between being in an IXL Math classroom and performance on the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) math test. As a secondary focus, the study looked at perceived changes in students’ attitudes towards math since using IXL Math. Importantly, this study was a small, non-experimental evaluation, and, according to the authors of the study, the results should be considered “exploratory.”

Result highlights (published in 2013)

  • The mathematics performance for students in IXL Math classrooms versus comparison students corresponds to a 5-percentile gain on the test.
  • An increase in the average IXL session duration by just one minute increases the effectiveness of IXL Math by 6.3% over an average year, as assessed through the OAKS math test.
  • 100% of teachers surveyed said that their students’ confidence in learning math increased.
  • 77% of teachers said that their students’ level of effort increased.

In 2013, a graduate student at Siena Heights University in Michigan designed an independent study that measured the effectiveness of IXL within an affiliated middle and high school in Addison, Michigan (Addison Community Schools) during the 2013-2014 school year. The math teachers and students in the middle school were surveyed at the end of the study. All teachers strongly agreed that IXL's practice, questions and feedback were appropriate and valuable to their students' learning. They also agreed that IXL encouraged decision-making and calculation rather than just guessing. Among the students, 92% agreed or strongly agreed that IXL provides a variety of practices at learning level to enhance learning, while 4% remained neutral and 4% disagreed. 76% of students either strongly agreed or agreed to being active participants in the learning process when using IXL, with 20% remaining neutral. In response to student enjoyment with the program, 60% agreed or strongly agreed to enjoying the program, while 24% remained neutral, and 20% either disagreed or strongly disagreed to using enjoying the program. 72% recommended continued use of IXL as a program, 12% did not recommend continued use, and 12% remained neutral.

In terms of improved scores; the study found that at the high school level (the middle school was not tested for improved scores); a 41% positive correlation between student scores and and IXL practice completion for one test; and a 37.3% positive correlation for another test.

alt text Khan Academy

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Regional Education Laboratory at EDC
  • SRI Education
  • Delaware Center for Teacher Education

EdSurge Review

“Khan Academy’s Common Core math resources have been developed in collaboration with Smarter Balanced, Illustrative Mathematics, and 40 educators to provide thousands of new, interactive math problems fully aligned to every Common Core State Standard (CCSS) for mathematics. Students can work at their own pace through grade-level “missions” and track their progress through personalized dashboards. All problems are accompanied by step-by-step solutions specific to each problem. Successful completion of missions is charted on a progress report on the student’s dashboard while “coaches”—whether teachers, tutors, or parents—can see a student’s progress with access through a class code or coach ID.”

Common Sense Education Review

“Is Khan Academy Good For Learning? Whether students are exploring on their own, using the site in class, or using it as a resource for homework and test prep, Khan Academy can be a very useful supplement to classroom instruction and discussion. If used as a primary source of instruction, it’s important to note that the videos tend to be more procedural than conceptual. Nevertheless, the site’s math missions aim to promote more conceptual understanding, as they challenge kids to practice and master skills on their own, using hints and videos as support rather than as the main source of instruction. And nearly every Common Core math standard is addressed at each grade level, making the website a rich resource for standards coverage.

The platform, with its vastly expanded learning content, is a helpful addition for math teachers; think of it as a new way to deliver Khan’s grade-level math lessons. Using the missions, teachers can better focus students’ instruction. Students get a nice balance between the freedom to explore and the benefit of a teacher’s guidance. Overall, students’ experience in math is more personalized — teachers can help them hone in on what’s most relevant to their learning. That said, it would be nice to see the missions expanded beyond only math, as having this type of instructional platform across the site would be a huge plus. Also, while the lessons are generally interactive, more of an experiential focus could help kids connect more intrinsically.

Some great features on the site include the ability to turn on subtitles within each video, and Spanish-language users can also enable a site-wide translation option. Students can also use the companion iPad app that allows downloads for offline viewing. The Coach and Classroom Resources section offers helpful tutorials on how teachers, parents, and tutors can best use the site.

How Can Teachers Use Khan Academy? For classroom teachers, Khan Academy is probably best used to teach, practice, and review Common Core-focused math skills. The site’s other videos can also serve as great supplemental resources in a variety of subjects. The missions are organized by grade level, and an interactive knowledge map has direct links to standards-focused exercises; it’s easy to target students’ instruction for a particular grade level and skill. If you’re new to the site, a great place to start is the Coach and Classroom Resources section under the Learn menu. Here, you’ll find great information about how to blend the missions into your classroom instruction.

Once you’ve got your classroom and student accounts set up, simply find the content that’s relevant to an upcoming unit. From there, assign your students recommended skills so they can review and practice the material. Using the site’s powerful analytical and adaptive program, you can track students’ progress and identify those who may be struggling in certain areas. Use the reports to view the skills your students need to practice more; you could even find and recommend a peer tutor for someone. Challenge your students to complete lessons within a given time frame, or even to complete their grade-level mission by the end of the school year.”


In the fall of 2011, Khan Academy began a two-year formal pilot program in a number of California school districts, charter schools, and independent schools serving diverse student populations. At the same time, the foundation contracted SRI Education’s Center for Technology in Learning to study the implementation of Khan Academy resources and tools in those schools during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years. The study involved the participation of 20 public, charter, and independent schools; more than 70 teachers; and approximately 2000 students in each study year.

The primary goal of SRI’s research was to learn how Khan Academy, and by implication other similar digital learning tools and resources, could be used to support personalized math learning (i.e., learning that tailors what is taught, when it is taught, and how it is taught to the needs of students working individually and with others).

On March 10, 2014, SRI released its study, with the following highlights:

A positive association was found between more Khan Academy use and more problem sets completed and two outcomes: (1) improvements in student test scores, and (2) improvements in three of the four self- reported non-achievement outcomes – math anxiety, math self-concept, and academic efficacy (i.e., belief in one’s ability to succeed in academic endeavors).

Evidence from exploratory analyses of data available from two sites suggested that students who spent more time on Khan Academy and successfully completed more Khan Academy problem sets to proficiency experienced more positive than expected outcomes in terms of math test scores, reduced math anxiety, and had higher surveyed reported that students liked the time they spent working on Khan Academy and, across all grade levels, that students were moderately (62%) or highly (25%) engaged when using Khan Academy.

Students perceived that use of Khan Academy encouraged greater independence in learning.

Immediate feedback, hints, and access to videos meant that if students were struggling with a particular problem, they were not stuck for long and could experience success even when the content became challenging: 45% of student respondents said that with Khan Academy they were able to learn new things about math on their own without the help of a teacher.

Another study, funded by the Albertson Family Foundation for Khan Academy in 2013, tracked students in 47 schools in Idaho who used Khan Academy throughout the school year. In grades 6,7 and 8, approximately 4,000 students' math scores were measured at the start of the school year and at its conclusion. The study, titled "Let's Get Personal: How Idaho Students and Teachers are Embracing Personalized Learning Through Khan Academy", found that students who completed 40% of their "mission" assignments (viewing recommended videos and taking recommended quizzes) grew 1.5 times more than their expected growth in the year; while students who completed 60% or more of their mission grew 1.8 times their expected growth in the year. For this study, growth was defined by average actual growth divided by targeted growth -- the degree of achievement that would have occurred in the year without Khan Academy.

In 2018, the results of the Institute for Educational Science's three-year independent efficacy study on Khan Academy will be released.

alt text Learn Alberta (“Spy Guys” modules)

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The California State University Math Education Community
  • Tennessee Department of Education (TNCore)

The Learn Alberta website was designed and developed to assist kindergarten to Grade 12 teachers in Alberta, Canada, to locate and utilize digital learning and teaching resources produced by the Ministry of Education. The site is supported and administered by the Curriculum Design Supports and Production Branch (CDSP) of Alberta Education.

From The California State University

"Students can use this resource to clarify concepts not understood in class, interact with virtual manipulatives, and see virtual representations of concepts. This resource could be used by a teacher to show to a class as a demonstration or an introduction. Visual graphics display concepts and are interactive. The site covers multiple Common Core standards across grade levels and strands that involve: 1) Area and Perimeter, 2) Equations and Expressions, 3) Prime Factorization, 4) Percents, 5) Graphing, 6) Probability, 7) Integers, 8) Geometric Transformations, 9) Volume and 10) Angles.".

alt text Learner.org: (Annenberg Learner) C

CCSS Alignment (for standard 6.EE.B.5) Vetted by:

  • Durham Public Schools
  • Howard County Public School System

Annenberg Learner materials were produced in partnership with the Corporation of Public Broadcasting are used in K-12 schools and also in non-commercial community agencies, as well as colleges and universities.

Review from the National Education Association:

“Annenberg Learner’s Interactives provides activities that improve skills in math, science, language, history, and arts. Though a few resources are aimed at elementary students, most are intended for secondary. A Teachers’ Lab lets teachers explore new ideas in the science of light, geometry, patterns, and the seasons.”

alt text LearnZillion

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The California, Connecticut, Delaware, Kansas and New York State Departments of Education; Learning List

LearnZillion is a learning platform that combines video lessons, assessments, and progress reporting. Each lesson highlights a Common Core standard, starting with math in grades 3-9.

LearnZillion was started by the principal of the E.L.Hayes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., as a homework website. Teachers captured their lessons on videos, and then posted them with a short quiz to help track student progress. Since its inception, the company has hired hundreds of “Dream Team” teachers, selected from throughout the country, to create over 2,000 video lessons directly aligned to the Common Core State standards.

Learning List Review

"Instruction is presented in sequential units that address “Key Concepts” of the CCSS. Each unit includes a summative assessment that evaluates students’ understanding of the Key Concepts. Lessons develop students’ understanding of concepts, fluency and procedural skills, and ability to apply concepts and skills in new situations. Each lesson is presented using a slide show with detailed teaching notes. Slide shows focus on problem-solving activities that foster productive struggle. Each lesson’s teaching notes provide detailed guidance in implementing activities, including the purpose of each slide, pacing information, suggestions for discussion, common student misconceptions, teaching tips, and answer keys.

Productive struggle is at the center of LearnZillion’s Full Math Curriculum. LearnZillion defines productive struggle as “the process of expending effort to make sense of important ideas, concepts, or connections that are within reach but require new understanding” (Math Overview). To ensure this process, the program defines and makes use of three curriculum strands, or “Threads,” that bind instruction across grades and provide coherence: (1) Operations Thread, (2) Number Thread, and (3) Equivalence Thread. In addition to coherence, the three strands, or ONE, link concepts within and across CCSS domains and clusters at each grade level and provide a foundation that supports the transition to algebra.

Common Sense Education Review

“What’s LearnZillion Like? LearnZillion is an online database of short video lessons that address learning topics aligned to individual Common Core standards. Experienced teachers create the 3- to 5-minute lessons that also feature commentary, extra hints, tricks, and a “try it yourself” video for kids that helps them practice on their own with pencil and paper while following the video’s guidance.

Multiple-choice quizzes test students’ learning. When both kids and teachers create accounts, teachers can assign lessons to individual students or to the whole class, see who has completed a lesson, and view quiz scores.

Is LearnZillion Good For Learning? This site is a mix of teacher’s assistant and mentor. Not sure how to explain a new or difficult concept? You can get helpful guidance from another teacher who’s found a successful method. Teachers who are spread thin or who have students with problems can use LearnZillion to give those kids extra attention in the areas that are just right for them. Note: LearnZillion is not, in any way, a game. That’s also why it’s more a teacher’s tool than a super-exciting activity for kids.

But what it lacks in fun factor, it gains in clear, instructive content.

Don’t think of LearnZillion as a teacher replacement; there’s no replacement for hands-on, face-to-face interaction. It’s more like teacher enhancement. Live teachers are essential for choosing assignments wisely, tracking progress, and filling in the gaps when kids struggle. Also, the multiple-choice quizzes aren’t the greatest and don’t align perfectly with the content of each individual lesson, so teachers will want to do their own learning assessments offline.

How Can Teachers Use LearnZillion? It can provide an extra learning boost, give inspiration for how to teach a particular concept or explain it to kids in a different way, help students review topics covered in class while leaving the teacher to address other things, or be a springboard for new exploration. Kids can watch the lessons as a whole class, in small groups, or individually.

For example, hold a “math lab” where kids work on slightly different sets of problems that are specifically tailored to their needs. You can move around the classroom checking in with each kid and providing guidance and assistance where needed. Videos can be homework or classwork. Assign extra practice to kids who are having trouble grasping that new math concept or as homework to practice a new writing technique.”


In the spring of 2014, Delta State University published a research study commissioned by LearnZillion on the effectiveness of coaches on teachers who create LearnZillion’s Common Core-aligned content after participating in a three-month professional learning committee project. The goal of the study was to investigate 163 ELA and Mathematics teachers’ perceptions of the positive and negative attributes of the coaches that had mentored them during a three-month program, so that the company could understand the impact of high-quality coaching on the creation of common-core aligned instructional materials.

In a 2016 Rand report entitled "Implementation of K-12 State Standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts and Literacy, 31% percent of elementary teachers surveyed from California, Louisiana, New Mexico and New York cited LearnZillion as a top online resource consulted for math instruction.

A similar 2016 study from the Center for Education Policy at Harvard University, entitled "Teaching Higher" surveyed teachers in Delaware, Maryland, Massachusettes, New Mexico and Nevada in the spring on 2015. One third of the teachers (33%) selected LearnZillion as valuable in aligning their instruction to the CCSSM.

In 2016, Learning List (quoted above), which provides independent reviews of K-12 math and ELA instructional materials for school districts, found that LearnZillion's curriculum is 100% aligned to the CCSSM.

alt text Manga High

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • Pajaro Valley Unified School District, CA

Common Sense Educaton Review

“Is Manga High Good For Learning? Stylized manga characters create an all-ages look that should speak to kids and teens alike, and site content is intuitively organized. Another strength is that teachers can customize difficulty levels and which challenges kids are assigned. Stronger ties to real-world situations (rolling dice, counting money, measuring ingredients) could help kids build conceptual knowledge from activities they already know. On the whole, games and tutorials are a little dry, repetitive, and text-heavy, but they could offer a solid way to introduce new concepts before lessons begin.

How Can Teachers Use Manga High?

As a teacher or administrator, you can create a free school account and add student members. Then, use the school dashboard to create different classes, add kids, choose specific games each class can access, and monitor kids’ activity. Under Challenges, teachers can search the games and Prodigi quizzes that target specific Common Core standards and assign them to students as challenges.

Older kids are better off in the Prodigi section, where activities on numbers, algebra, shapes, and data are text-heavier and involve some multiple-choice critical thinking. Keep these tutorials and exercises in mind as a great resource for ACT or SAT prep, as refreshers after summer break, or for teens moving into more advanced math classes. Another nifty feature: a search tool that lets you assign Prodigi tutorials based on grade level or Common Core standard.”

alt text Mathalicious

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Annenberg Foundation
  • North Dakota Department of Education
  • The Manhattan Beach Unified School District, CA

Mathalicious creates video and text-based middle and high school math lessons around real world topics. All lessons include a student handout, a lesson guide, and a multimedia presentation.

Common Sense Education Review

In an effort to improve middle school kids’ attitudes about the subject, Mathalicous teaches math via trendy, open-ended, real-world scenarios. Companion materials like student worksheets, a teaching guide, and a multimedia slideshow guide each lesson. People with significant math and education chops design the lessons and support teachers with goodies like flexible scripting, lots of visuals, support for potential challenges, and follow-up questions. Every lesson is tied to multiple Common Core standards, with specifics provided right up front. On the site, lessons are searchable by standard, theme, or keyword. Within the context of high-interest topics, Mathalicous can entice even hardened math haters into having fun with numbers. Problems whet appetites with thoughtful questions about ordinary things — subtle templates for kids to seek out and question mathematics themselves. There’s an obvious effort to be “cool,” but lessons are comprehensive and take math seriously.

Mathalicious is a supplemental resource great for introduction to math topics. Look for ways to make it accessible rather than restricted (e.g., used only as a reward or extra credit). Teacher involvement is necessary, so it’s great for in-class work among partners, groups, or individuals rather than as homework. Straightforward lessons guide teachers step by step, but they’re not “plug and play.” Give lesson guides a thorough review, with attention to scripting, time requirements, and materials. Adjust the lesson for the teaching setting and ensure there’s a working Internet connection for slideshows, as they can’t be downloaded. Choose activities to address Common Core standards; at least two are covered by each lesson. Involve kids in picking what problem to explore next. Challenge students to extrapolate one problem to develop another that must be solved the same way. Have kids generate original questions about mathematics and look for ways to tie in scientific investigation.

alt text Math Antics

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • Saranac Central School District, New York

Math Antics specializes in engaging, easy-to-understand math lessons that walk students through a concept step-by-step. Most of the videos are longer than the average educational video running time (the average running time is typically three-to-five minutes; Math Antics videos typically run seven-to-ten minutes). Math Antics video lessons can be used for students who need extra review of topics and skills learned in the classroom.

alt text The Mathematics Assessment Project CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Regional Educational Laboratory at EDC
  • The Delaware Department of Education
  • The Oregon Department of Education
  • The New Jersey Department of Education

Regional Education Laboratory overview:

"This site contains mathematics lessons (grade 6 through high school) and a large collection of high-quality “novice, apprentice, and expert” tasks (elementary, middle, and high school) that are all aligned to the appropriate Common Core content and practice standard(s). The lessons contain detailed lesson plans and lesson resources,and each task includes PDFs of the task, the rubric, and scored and unscored samples of student work."

New Jersey Department of Education

"The Mathematics Assessment Project (MAP) is part of the Math Design Collaborative. MAP set out to design and develop well-engineered tools for formative and summative assessment that expose students’ mathematical knowledge and reasoning, helping teachers guide them towards improvement and monitor progress. The tools are relevant to any curriculum that seeks to deepen students' understanding of mathematical concepts and develop their ability to apply that knowledge to non-routine problems.

alt text Mathematics CCSS Toolbox CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The California Mathematics Council
  • The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators
  • The Connecticut Department of Education
  • The Kentucky Department of Education

The Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin and Agile Mind created the Mathematics CCSS Toolbox, prototype lessons and interactive questions which simulate online assessment questions.

The site is broken down into three sections: 1) Standards for Mathematical Practice; 2) Standards for Mathematical Content; 3) Resources for Implementation. Interactive tasks were created with an extensive development process, including multiple levels of review and refinement based on feedback from experts in mathematics, classroom teachers, and assessment, as well as review by state representatives. The tasks were then field-tested in two large urban districts and further modified based on the data that emerged from the field-testing experience.

alt text MathIsFun.com

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • Atlanta Public Schools, GA
  • Walpole School District, MA

MathIsFun provides supplementary content for K-12 in topics ranging from working with numbers and basic operations to money, algebra (with an introduction to trigonometry), geometry (including some interactives for constructions and using a protractor), data, measurement, worksheets, games, puzzles, and an illustrated math dictionary. Tutorial information is provided within content.

Education World Review

  • Content: Users can find help for nearly every math discipline and grade level.
  • Design: Given that for many students, math is a complicated subject, the simplicity of this site offers relief. One main map-like graphic dominates the screen and contains clickable images that serve as the primary navigation.

Once they arrive at their desired mathematical destination, users get logically ordered lists of tips, tutorials and worksheets. Everything is easy to follow and laid out in a clean and concise manner.

Review: MathIsFun provides a great supplement to traditional lessons. Newcomers may be surprised to find so much content on this relatively small site.

The teachers’ area offers classroom suggestions and tips for helping struggling students. The games area, with interactive brainteasers and mathematical memory games, can be a terrific way to get math-shy students into the right frame of mind.

Bottom Line: Covering everything from addition and monetary values to algebra and geometry, MathIsFun nicely complements classroom math lessons.”

alt text Math Playground

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The NJ Educator Exchange
  • The Martinez Unified School District, CA

Common Sense Education Review

"Math Playground is an extensive collection of math games that address a wide variety of math topics such as arithmetic, geometry, percentages, word problems, algebra, graphing, and even logic. Beyond the games and some opportunities for drill-like practice, the site also has worksheets, both online and printable. Another unique section of the site highlights math as a prerequisite for a variety of careers (e.g., graphic designer). A Common Core section for teachers lists the many games that align to a wide variety of standards.

Many of the games on Math Playground are not only fun (and sometimes downright addictive), they also have learning content built right in. For example, there are Math-focused versions of Pac-Man and Tetris that help kids explore addition and numbers. Other games require brain-bending logic, like the gravity-based “Sugar, sugar.” Worksheets, drills, and instructional videos explain a variety of math concepts to help round out the site’s clearly educational approach. Most of the content is solid, although some games are better than others. Since there are a lot of activities, finding the best ones can take a bit of poking around.

Most of the games here would work best with individual exploration in the classroom. Teachers might also use the worksheet generator to print practice sheets or assign online drills. On a more interesting note, the site has an entire section of multi-player games (they can be played on multiple computers). Teachers can create private competition sessions where students can compete with one another."

alt text Matific

CCSS Alignment Vetted by: Mathific helps students in K-6 learn math skills through interaction with small activities that increase in complexity. Each activity is designed to teach a specific mathematical insight or impart a specific mathematical skill and are mapped to the Common Core Standards.

Common Sense Education Review

Matific is a collection of interactive math games and activities for grades K-6 aimed at helping kids build a conceptual understanding of various foundational skills. The wide variety of activities and worksheets are well organized and easy to navigate. Kids can access the resources by grade level or, more specifically, by topic within each grade. Some grade levels have more resources — and cover more skills — than others. However, the developers are reportedly adding activities on an ongoing basis.

Within each activity, kids can try a few times to find a correct answer before the program generates one for them. A teacher dashboard is easy to set up and provides progress reports, which show potential areas of improvement for each student.


Matific’s engaging resources are well organized by grade and by content, and should be easy for teachers to integrate into the lessons they’re already teaching. Activities cover numerous K-6 Common Core domain skills. From counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking, and geometry to fractions and statistics and probability, among others, there’s a lot covered here.

All grades include interactive activities and — for some grades — a mixed bag of digital worksheets.


Matific’s feedback to students is subtle, encouraging a kind of trial-and-error method to find a working solution. As such, some teachers might want to use it as a supplement only after covering the concepts in class. Alternately, some of the games and activities could be used as a preview for certain concepts — kids can try out different strategies and solutions, then bring their ideas back to the class before a more formal lesson on a topic.

Tasks increase in difficulty and complexity. Of note for teachers, several puzzlers and have more than one solution, which offers kids different ways to think about the concepts covered. For example, in one 3-D tiling game, kids have to drag small sets of cubes to fill a larger cube. There are many ways to arrange the small cubes, but the final number needed to fill the large cube will always be the same.

You can assign students an activity or worksheet that aligns to a lesson, and have them work individually. If possible, project the assignment on the board and review the answers — and different strategies kids tried — together. Online, you can keep track of students’ progress and identify any areas for improvement. However, you’ll need to keep up with your kids and assign additional work on your own, as the program won’t automatically assign or adapt to students’ individual skill levels."


In September, 2016, The Center for Educational Research in Sydney, Australia published its study, "Research Evaluation of Matific Mathematical Learning Resources". The study observed student and teachers in 8 primary schools from grades 2-6 (16 teachers and their students) in attempting to determine if Matific "assisted students in learning and understanding challenging mathematical concepts". Among the findings of the study:

  • Students found Matific was fun because they felt they were learning. The focus of the lessons that included Matific remained on the mathematics rather than the game or the devices being used.

  • It is strongly recommended that Matific include examples of reflection prompts that link to individual or groups of episodes. This would encourage teachers to consider Matific as more than an exercise in fluency, and would promote the Proficiencies/Working Mathematically components to enrich student learning and address a broader range of curriculum requirements.

alt text NASA Space

Math CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Loyola University Center for Science and Math Education

NASA Space Math lets students explore how mathematics skills are applied in space exploration. The problems are authentic glimpses of modern engineering issues that arise in designing satellites to work in space. The content was created in conjunction with leading science institutions: Adler Planetarium (Moon research using data from the NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Mission); Depaul University (Research on the earth’s atmosphere, using data from the High Altitude Balloon Platform); University of Chicago (Research on interstellar medium (gas and dust) using data from the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE), Hubble Space Telescope (HST) and Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) missions; Northwestern University: Investigation of the relationship between melting ice and sea level using data provided by the Jason-1, Grace, Terra, and Quicksat satellites); Loyola University (Research on planetary formation using data obtained from the Kepler Mission).

alt text NextLesson CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Huename Elementary School District, California

EdSurge Review: NextLesson provides teachers with projects, lessons, and interactive curriculum designed to make learning more fun and engaging. With a focus on 21st Century skills and Common Core-aligned materials, NextLesson offers educators curriculum content that focuses on real world problems and applications to enhance the classroom experience. NextLesson offers three core products for grades K-12 in Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Science. Teachers can direct students to the NextLesson website inside or outside the classroom to use “Rank & Reason” and “Performance Tasks” products. These two tools test student’s knowledge of concepts and offer real world applications of subject matter. The “Projects” tool provides teachers with instructional videos and lesson plans to use for more hands-on learning experiences in the classroom.

alt text PBS Learning Media (“Math Shorts””Flocabulary”)

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Oregon Education Association

Common Sense Education Review

“What’s PBS Learning Media Like? PBS Learning Media contains tens of thousands of digital resources aligned to Common Core standards and ready for classroom use. Topics cover English language arts, math, professional development, science and health, and social studies with resources for grades Pre-K through college. The self-paced lessons are interactive, engage students, and include a variety of digital media. In most cases, students learn content by reading and writing. Resource content contributors include the National Archives, the Jim Henson Company, Annenberg Media, and the Library of Congress.

Is PBS Learning Media Good For Learning? Generally, the videos embedded throughout the site are well done and concise, and feature master educators. Videos showcasing teacher-modeled best practices are truly excellent. Navigation is easy after an initial self- orientation, yet it still requires you to go through several steps before you can access content.

The self-paced computer resources are cool and relevant and can really hook kids. Students can work independently on a computer (or collaboratively with a peer) at a self-directed pace, allowing the teacher to visit students individually and provide timely feedback. The resources range from short video and audio clips to interactives, lesson plans, and much more.

Teachers can search by grade level, subject, and standard. You can also browse more than 100 resource collections such as Middle School Literacy Initiative, High School Math, Cyber-learning on STEM, Art and Science of Growing Food, and Culture and Identity.

How Can Teachers Use PBS Learning Media? PBS Learning Media provides Common Core and state standards alignment, student access, class accounts, a robust user management system, comprehensive analytics, and a content management system. There’s so much content on the site that accessing all materials for a certain topic may seem a bit cumbersome, but it’s well worth the navigation.

The professional development component is of particular note.

A new Middle School Literacy piece is an excellent resource for all teachers of tweens. Other PD materials are available in a variety of areas, including how to support English-language learners, implementing literature circles, contemporary issues in the classroom, and phonemic assessment. Educators can access strategies, tools, and learning.”

Regarding “Math Shorts” videos, The Utah Education Network (UEN) developed “Math Shorts” as part of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) “Math at Core” project,.

This video series introduces key Common Core concepts in 4th- to 8th- grade mathematics. Each video focuses on building conceptual understanding of a topic, so that students understand the “how” and “why” behind mathematical problem solving.

UEN recommends using these videos with your students as topical introductions to topics including integers, the concept of ratios, unit rates, percent, and division with fractions.

alt text Scholastic Study Jams!

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:**

  • North Carolina State Board of Eduction
  • DePaul University

StudyJams! helps students understand the underlying concepts of math and science through real world examples presented in a multimedia format. It includes videos, music and songs, step-by-step math instruction, slideshows, and quizzes on every topic reinforce.

Common Sense Education Review

Parents need to know that StudyJams! is a free Scholastic site that provides engaging multimedia lessons on math and science, ranging from basic algebra problems to more complex concepts like scientific theory and evidence. The site is ad-free and doesn’t collect any information from users. (There’s nothing inappropriate for kids student 8, but the lessons may be too challenging for the average student.)

By offering lessons in different forms — videos, quizzes, and even karaoke! — StudyJams! accommodates students with various learning styles and reinforces information. The math lessons are particularly helpful, guiding kids through each step of a problem with a detailed voiceover and virtual blackboard. (Parents who can’t remember how to convert decimals to fractions will get an excellent refresher course.)

Students who need homework help will find fun activities and useful tutorials on Scholastic’s site StudyJams! Four animated characters walk kids through dozens of science and math lessons (or \”Jams\”) that include multimedia content such as slideshows, quizzes, and even karaoke. Students can earn points by reading content and doing activities; once they’ve earned enough points, they can head over to the Jam Studio to mix and record MP3 tracks using samples of rock, hip-hop, dance, and more. The site also includes an encyclopedia and a guide to state history.

alt text School Yourself

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The New York City Department of Education

School Yourself lessons are short videos followed by a question, text, a scratch pad to manipulate interactive modules, and a hint system that walks students through problems step-by-step. PBS Learning Media has aligned all of School Yourself's lessons with the Common Core staandards. School Yourself is unique in that it starts at the pre-foundational level of a standard. Before each lesson, the narrator typically begins by asking students to complete a problem that depends on a skill that should have been previously mastered. If students get the question wrong, they are immediately directed to a quick video summation of the missed concept.

School Yourself also created an interactive game used in EdGems, “Beat the Odds”, a web-based game in which students are challenged to develop and use probability models that won the WGBH Innovative Math Challenge Award. In Training Mode, students are presented with coins, dice, or cards, and are asked to compute the probability of a specific scenario. In Competition Mode, students are again presented with specific scenarios, and are asked to predict how many times (out of 100 trials) a specific result will occur. With these two gameplay modes, “Beat the Odds” was specifically designed to align with the 7th grade common core standards in statistics and probability.

We Are Teachers Review

"Straightforward videos that show exactly how algebra concepts and procedures work,i.e, adding fractions, are great for reviewing over the summer or introducing a concept when school’s back in session."

EdX Description

"School Yourself is reinventing online education in the style of 1-on-1 learning. Their team has authored hundreds of interactive, personalized math lessons, and they use a custom analytics platform to continuously improve their content. The result is a collaboration between teacher and student that provides an unprecedented learning experience."

alt text Virtual Nerd (Pearson)

CCSS Alignment Vetted by:

  • The Washington Learning Source (collaborative of nine districts in Washington State)

Common Sense Education Review

What’s Virtual Nerd Like? Virtual Nerd is a website featuring tutorials to supplement learning in middle and high school math and physics classes. Hundreds of tutorials are available for sixth- through eighth-grade math, Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Geometry, and Introductory Physics. Each tutorial provides a video of a teacher lecturing on a topic and writing on a whiteboard. At the same time, a diagram and step-by-step notes appear to the right.

Is Virtual Nerd Good For Learning?

Tutorials are separated by each subject and organized by topic or according to several popular textbooks, which could work well if kids are already familiar with a particular textbook series. Good news: Concepts are aligned to a broad range of Common Core Math Standards. Physics concepts are appropriate for kids in a standard high school physics class or for those reviewing basic physics concepts in preparation for AP or IB Physics. Virtual Nerd’s “Dynamic Whiteboard” platform is distinctive because it allows kids to view instruction in three ways simultaneously.

A few nits to pick: It would be nice if Virtual Nerd had a larger pool of questions; sometimes they repeat. Adding more resources for kids to apply and extend their learning would also strengthen the site’s reach.

How Can Teachers Use Virtual Nerd? Teachers looking to build a “flipped classroom” (using technology to allow kids to learn at home, then come to class for interactive work) will love that clear tutorials are already created. Students can watch the straightforward instruction and take notes at home, saving class time to focus on applying the concepts and working on cooperative projects. You can input students into the Virtual Nerd account roster and provide them an access code to log in. They can then build playlists with tutorials, multiple-choice practice problems, and assessments. To build an assessment, you can choose from an unfortunately limited group of questions for each topic, some of which are the same as the practice problems.