Sunday, February 24, 2013

Project #10 Finding the Right Tool

Brain Nook

Brain Nook When I first started this project, I have to admit I was a little nervous. I was afraid I wouldn't have a lot of luck finding useful tools for math teachers. I was afraid that when I began my search, I would only find websites for making worksheets or tests. Luckily for me, I was proved wrong. At first, yes, I did come across some of the websites I anticipated I'd find. But after clicking a few links to different websites, I found an article talking about different useful tools and programs for math teachers. The first tool listed was Brain Nook and it instantly caught my eye. Brain Nook is an online game where students can learn and practice math and language arts skills while exploring a safe, virtual world. New users can create a cute alien character and choose from a variety of colors to customize their character. After the creation and sign up process is complete, you are brought to a short interactive video where a human girl named Bella explains where you are and what to do.

Bella explains how to earn stars.

After this little introduction is finished, you're ready to begin your adventure! Your transported to the interactive world where you can select different types of games to play. Some of the games teach language arts skills while others teach mathematical skills. I played a game that allowed you to practice dividing fractions.

Example of a game teaching fractions

The game was pretty fun, and it was great practice to brush up on my own skills! Brain Nook is definitely something I will encourage my students to play. Brain Nook is something that can be useful for learning the basic mathematical skills and principles that are necessary for obtaining a strong foundation in mathematics. I can urge my students to use it whenever they feel like they need to review certain skills, like multiplying or dividing fractions. I may even require them to complete a few games every week on Brain Nook that are applicable to the material being taught for that week. From using Brain Nook, I expect that my students will increase their knowledge of basic math skills and be better prepared for learning new material. Plus, they will be doing so in a fun environment. Teachers even have the option of signing up their entire class to Brain Nook so students can play together and compete for gaining top scores on the website's leaderboard! So not only does it benefit their mathematical skills, but it also helps them develop a sense of community and benefits their social interaction skills. If another student is having trouble with a game, they can ask another student for help.

I chose Brain Nook because of it's simple yet fun atmosphere. It feels like you're playing a real online multi-player game, and in this day and age, a lot of kids do play online games. So, playing Brain Nook would be a fun way to learn the skills my students need! Plus, the virtual world of Brain Nook is safe to explore both at school and at home without worrying about coming across any inappropriate material. Another reason why Brain Nook is beneficial is because parents can get real time updates on how well they're children are doing. During the initial sign up, Brain Nook asks students for their parents emails so Brain Nook can email progress reports to the children's parents. This helps parents stay involved and invested in their child's progress, and parent cooperation and involvement is a key ingredient in a student's success!

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