Product: Teachley: Operations is a suite of math game applications (apps) that support students' fact fluency and promote math strategy development. Addimal Adventure focuses on developing efficient addition strategies and discovering the connections between facts, for example, seeing how 5 + 6 is just one more than 5 + 5. Subtractimals helps students visualize subtraction as either taking away or counting up to discover the difference, for example, when solving 7–5, it is easier to start with 5 and count up 2 more. Mt. Multiplis encourages students to understand the distributive property as breaking apart multiplication facts, for example, seeing how 7 x 8 can be expressed as 5 groups of 8 plus 2 more groups of 8. Finally, Fact Flyer supports multiplication and division fact fluency with strategy hints. The apps all connect with a teacher dashboard that provides in-depth reports in real time. Teachers use the data from students' gameplay to help them monitor students' progress and differentiate their math instruction. This SBIR project was informed by prior research and development at Columbia University's Teacher's College through a 2010 IES Research Grant, and through other grants.
Research and Development: To develop its apps and the teacher dashboard, Teachley followed an iterative, agile development process:
Stage 1: Research-Based Design. The product was designed based on years of research and applied experience in children's cognitive development, pedagogy, the subtleties and complexities of mathematics, technological affordances, and game design/development.
Stage 2: Rapid Development. Teachley's development process focused on iteration and component development rather than a protracted development of whole systems. Instead of imposing traditional deadlines, Teachley focused on developing priority-centric goals.
Stage 3: Multi-faceted Evaluation. Teachley conducted formative research throughout the project, first by observing children playing gaming prototypes in real-time, and following through usability testing with larger numbers of students to demonstrate that the prototype was functioning properly. Towards the end of product development, Teachley evaluated the promise of the product to improve student learning and to support teacher instruction. In the study, 15 1st–3rd grade students playing Addimal Adventure improved in their fluency and strategy use in just three 6-minute sessions. Another study using random assignment found that 42 1st to 4th grade students who used Teachley: Operations apps increased in math fluency and using strategic math talk compared to a control group of 41 students who used different mathematics apps.
Commercialization: Teachley: Operations is available as a subscription service to schools and districts. The apps are available for iPad on the App Store and have over 1 million downloads since being released in 2013. Over 2,000 schools in all 50 states are using Teachley Accounts to personalize students' gameplay and access formative assessment data from students' gameplay.
Ginsburg, H. P., Labrecque, R., Carpenter, K. K., & Pagar, D. (2014). Guidelines for developing a system of high-quality software to promote young children's meaningful mathematics learning. In C. Kadosh & A. Dowker (Eds.), Oxford handbook of numerical cognition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.