Learner-Centric Pedagogical Approaches: How Prodigy Keeps Learners Top of MindAll Posts
Written by Sarah Tino, M.Ed.
- Prodigy School
Prodigy Education embraces a learner-centric approach to education, which means we put the learner at the center of everything we do. Learners are top of mind in our engaging math game, our easily accessible tutors, and our supports for parents and teachers.
From the first time students log in to Prodigy Math or Prodigy English, they will encounter this educational philosophy in our features. Keep reading to find out how!
“We have a high ESL population, a high Special Education population, and the good thing is the kids can use the program. You don't have to be a certain age or a certain level to be able to use it.” — Erin Zmuda, Supervisor of Mathematics (K-8)
How Prodigy supports a learner-centric approach
Prodigy Math digital game-based learning platform personalizes learning through real-time data. Prodigy Math DGBL platform allows teachers to use this data every day and supports a learner-centric model through:
- Stealth assessment
- Personalized learning
- Supporting learner variability
- Standards-aligned content and targeted support
Students start their learning journey by completing Placement Test. This is a stealth assessment — students don’t know they’re being evaluated.
The Placement Test helps to determine students' levels of mastery across various standards while engaging students in positive game play experiences that align with research-based best practices (Shute et al., 2021; Shute & Ventura, 2013). The Placement Test runs twice a year and collects data through the Placement Test report.
Prodigy Math and Prodigy English allow students to experience personalized content as they play through engaging gameplay experiences that are incredibly unique.
Teachers can assign standards-aligned content to their whole class with Plans, or personalize what each student or groups of students see with Assignments. This allows teachers to differentiate content for students without students knowing that the questions they are seeing in-game are different from what their classmates are seeing.
“I was looking for a tool like Prodigy because I was having a hard time differentiating my instruction.Since the end of the year was cut short, it’s a lot of review to make sure all the foundations are in place, and Prodigy has really helped me bridge that gap.” — Emily Schade, First Grade Teacher, Fullerton School District
Supporting learner variability
Culturally relevant teaching positively impacts student learning and student identity development (Byrd, 2016). As students play, they are not only able to design an avatar and see characters in-game that reflect their background, but also encounter questions that include diverse names, pronouns and situations.
Other features include closed-captioning, text-to-speech features, virtual manipulatives, video lessons and hint bubbles. Find out more about how Prodigy Education supports variable learners here.
Standards-aligned content and targeted support
Prodigy Math offers over 100,000 questions aligned to your state standards covering Webb’s Depth of Knowledge levels 1-3. In Prodigy Math, teachers are able to assign Plans and Assessments that match what they are teaching in class that day. When students struggle, they can access easy-to-use hint bubbles or standards-aligned video lessons in the question interface.
Prodigy English features hundreds of language arts questions, aligned with Common Core State Standards for 1st to 6th grade — with more skills to come!
When there is no content assigned, students encounter appropriately-leveled math content based on their results in the Placement Test that they took when first signing up for Prodigy. This content is designed to keep students in their Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978) and ensure that the questions they are answering are challenging yet attainable.
A learner-centric approach has a positive impact on results
External Research Evaluation
The impact of Prodigy Math has been externally evaluated by personnel at the Center for Research and Reform in Education (CRRE) at Johns Hopkins University in a study commissioned by Prodigy Education. This study meets the requirements of Tier 3 under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). See the full results here.
Increased Math Enjoyment
Research has shown that answering math problems in a safe space may help to reduce math anxiety (Berkowitz et al., 2015; Chang & Beilock, 2016). Prodigy conducted an optional survey of new student users and found that 18% of these students said they did not enjoy math. The same students were surveyed again after three months of using Prodigy Math and showed a significant improvement in their math enjoyment scores (Prieur & Chen, 2021). This signaled a positive correlational shift in their attitude towards math after playing Prodigy Math.
“When I see students, there are two different learners. There are ones that are excited about math, they love it. And then the other side that dreads it. Prodigy is something that once they play it and they can have fun with it and they can learn from it, it boosts their confidence and puts them in a different mindset." — Mary Pehar, 6th Grade Math & Science Teacher
In early 2020, Prodigy Education conducted a survey of parents to understand their perceptions of the impact of Prodigy Math. Here is what an overwhelming majority of parents said:
Take a deep dive into Prodigy's "Pedagogical Approaches" and try Prodigy Math and Prodigy English today
Review the full version of Prodigy Education’s learner-centric approaches today! In Learner-centric Pedagogical Approaches: Considering the Impact of Pedagogy on the Prodigy Education Ecosystem of Learners, you can dive deep into the foundational elements of our products and services.
Prodigy Math turns math practice into an adventure. Free teacher tools help educators around the world motivate their students, differentiate learning and collect student insights. What could your students accomplish when they love learning math?
Prodigy English is a whole new way for kids to develop reading and language skills. Standards-aligned content created by teachers are integrated into an exciting world that players get to build– with endless possibilities!