When nine-year-old Sedona’s public school told her mother, Heather, that her daughter was performing at a higher level than her peers, Heather was skeptical.
How could it be? Sedona was completely disengaged from the academic side of school and was more interested in the social aspects.
To be sure her daughter would learn at her own pace without distraction, Heather decided to switch to homeschooling and began to search for a math app that could help. It needed to be engaging, fun, and provide the challenge that her daughter needed to regain interest in learning.
Sedona was bored with school.
It was a place to visit with friends and have fun at recess and lunch; it wasn't a place to learn.
“The academic challenge that she needed just wasn't there,” says Heather.
Despite already being held back, when Sedona finished grade two, her school informed Heather that Sedona was making progress and working at a fourth-grade level.
Heather wasn’t convinced. She felt strongly that her daughter was actually behind where she should be, especially in mathematics.
"I couldn't believe that she was at a fourth-grade level," says Heather. "But I couldn't place her in grade three at her public school knowing she could become even more bored."
Despite what Sedona's school said, Heather knew her daughter was not fully processing the information she was learning.
She worried that allowing Sedona to progress to third grade would set her further back.
By providing Sedona with the support and challenge that she needed at home, Heather hoped to regain her daughter's focus on learning.
But Heather couldn't do it alone.
"I decided to homeschool her, but at this point, I'd appreciate all the help I can get," she says.
While Heather was aware that Sedona wasn't getting the attention and tools she needed at her public school, "The last thing I'd want her to do is to get further behind due to the transition to homeschool."
For a child already uninterested in academics, finding the right approach can be challenging.
Sedona was frequently frustrated by lessons, and Heather says that frustration often made it impossible to get through to her. Also, she would often immediately forget what she learned in a lesson and was unable to apply what she had just learned to solve math problems.
"For example, I go over multiplication [facts], and she forgets because evidently, I need to go over them a lot more," says mom.
Sedona needed help, and so did Heather.
Heather found Elephant Learning and was intrigued by the math app's promise to teach one year's worth of math in just three months.
She thought that Elephant Learning's method of teaching math through a game-based approach would help alleviate both Sedona's frustration and boredom with mathematics and academics in general.
Elephant Learning leverages the latest scientific research in mathematics education to provide students with experiential learning.
It uses real-life examples to teach math concepts and language through a series of puzzles designed by mathematical and pedagogical experts. Students must complete the challenges from a proven curriculum to progress in the math app.
Almost most importantly, it's a lot of fun.
For disengaged students like Sedona, having fun while learning is critical because it creates engagement and further interest. It's a lot like "Angry Birds," but for mathematics.
Elephant Learning focuses on the essential language necessary for the student to understand the teacher or parent in a classroom or real-life situation.
The app is organized around concepts and allows the child to master each idea so that these concepts can then be applied to learn additional and more complex mathematics.
Customizing the app for each child ensures they can demonstrate an understanding of each concept before moving onto the next set of games.
Think of these concepts as a series of sequential steps, critical to truly understanding and excelling at mathematics.
Each step needs to be fully absorbed and understood before the child can continue learning, building upon each fundamental block. This is often lost in schools that teach a group of children and lack the resources to provide individualized instruction.
Not having the attention or resources for each individual student can be permanently detrimental to a child's learning process. It can discourage them, cause them to check out, or even prevent them from wanting to learn at all.
For example, if a child is unable to master addition, they will be less likely to grasp multiplication or division.
Celebrating a child's wins within the program can also foster an intrinsic motivation to play.
This was just the kind of motivation that Sedona needed to hold her interest.
The puzzles were challenging, but frustrating or boring, and motivated her to continue at her own pace.
The Elephant Learning math app also allowed Heather to accurately gauge where her daughter was in terms of math comprehension.
After downloading the math app, the student takes a placement exam. However, like all the lessons in Elephant Learning, it’s administered as a game series. Students don’t realize it’s a test.
This exam allows the app to accurately place the child according to the concepts they have already mastered and those they still need to develop. Once a child correctly solves the puzzles and "tests out" of a specific concept, they automatically move on to the next module and series of games.
To gauge your child’s progress, the app utilizes “Elephant Age” as a metric. Elephant Age is a straightforward metric for a parent to determine how their child is doing. It reflects the average age of their child's mathematical comprehension.
Elephant Learning also provides detailed reports, which allowed Heather insight into what Sedona mastered, what she was currently working on, and where she was struggling.
It also offered corresponding activities that Heather could do with Sedona to help accelerate her daughter's learning even further.
Using the Elephant Learning math app to teach math concepts results in complete comprehension, a renewed desire to learn, and increased confidence in all areas.
When Sedona first started the app, she tested at an eight-year-old Elephant Learning Age. This means Sedona was a whole year behind, just as Heather suspected.
However, enthralled by the Elephant Learning math app and its method of gamification, Sedona quickly caught up to her peers.
After six months, not only had she caught up, but she actually enjoyed learning.
Sedona gained over one year's worth of math comprehension in just six months.