Princess Nagger started showing an interest in computers at a very early age. I’m sure the fact that I spend a lot of time on my laptop has something to do with it. When she was four I gave her my old laptop and set up icons on her desktop of fun kid-safe places to go, which not only kept her entertained, but made learning fun along with improving her hand/eye coordination using a mouse. The nice thing about online educational games is it makes learning fun.
Since Princess Nagger has a penchant for exploring and learning online, when we were invited to test-drive DimensionU, we jumped at the chance. They offer a fun, educational program that allows kids to play an action-packed computer game while simultaneously sharpening their math skills.
Princess Nagger is good at math, but she inherited that brain-freeze mode I have when it comes to taking tests. Since her school is having their PSSA’s (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) this week and next, she’s been studying endlessly. She’d been having some trouble with her multiplication tables since they have to answer 100 questions in 5 minutes. When we checked out DimensionU, she was happy to see all areas she’d been studiously studying, only this made it so much more fun than the old flash cards (more fun for me too, since I was the flasher of the cards).
DimensionU has taken math beyond the mundane by creating an exciting outlet for children to learn while earning rewards for their hard work. Through the reward-based ‘EdCred’ Educational Allowance system, DimensionU takes an innovative approach to motivating children to become stronger students. Each week parents pledge an allowance, which kids can collect once they complete a given educational challenge. A university study found that almost all students who used DimensionU increased their test scores by at least one letter grade.
We found that to be very true. In the fun gaming environment, Princess Nagger had a lot of fun collecting color spheres and answering the questions – and earning points towards her allowance goal. Even though the games were timed, she didn’t falter when answering the questions and got almost all of them right (I was the one that would give a wrong answer. Apparently I need to brush up on my 3rd Grade Math.)
She preferred the Meltdown games over the Gadget Works one, since Meltdown is the one you run around and collect spheres to answer questions. You can play solo or join friends online – and shoot them with goo if they get in your way. She’s working on getting her friends at school to sign up so she can have a tournament. Now that’s what I call a modern-time play-date… a virtual play-date while sharpening their math skills.
I don’t know about you, but bribery works well around here to get Princess Nagger doing things she’s not all that enthusiastic to do. With DimensionU, parents can also set Educational Allowances with the annual $9.95 membership, which is an optional program that allows you to pledge an allowance for the successful completion of weekly challenges. I’ve set it up that Princess Nagger can earn five-dollars per week should she accept the challenge and answer the 20 correct questions weekly. Since we don’t do a traditional allowance (yet), I thought this would be a great way to motivate her, and it also teaches her about saving and spending responsibly.
I’ll also get a report mailed to me on the progress of Princess Nagger (and eventually Little Dude when he’s old enough to master the computer – for that one annual membership, you can add all your kids to the same account and they can play individually). With the report I’ll be able to see how Princess Nagger is doing, how often she’s playing, and how well she’s doing on earning that allowance. I’ll also be able to see if there are areas in math that she might need a little additional help on.
If your kids struggle in math or need a refresher particularly before a big test, be sure to set up an account with DimensionU. It’s Princess Nagger Approved. Best of all, it is free (unless you decide to do the $9.95 annual version with the allowance mode). Definitely worth it.
Note: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for DimensionU. I received a free trial of DimensionU to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank-you for participating. See my Disclosure Policy here.