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Welcome mPower 3-6 educators to the mPower Community (mPower Community    #TVOmPower) on TeachOntario, we are delighted that you have joined us!

 

This is a space where educators can explore resources, ask questions and share best practices on how mPower is being used in the classroom. We want to thank you for your involvement in the mPower 3-6 pilot, over 5000 students participated and the feedback has been invaluable. We are proud to share this game with the province and are excited to see how our young mathematicians respond to the rich learning and STEM challenges that are such a huge part of mPower 3-6.

 

Our mPower Community on TeachOntario offers additional tools such as Educator Guides, Community Discussions and multimedia resources to support your mPower adventure. We encourage you to join the mPower Community on TeachOntario!  Simply click the drop down menu under Actions and select Join Group.  Joining the group means that you will not miss out on any new mPower resources or mPower tips that are shared!

 

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To begin, please introduce yourself in this discussion: Introduce yourself and chat with others using mPower!

 

We look forward to learning alongside you!

 

Regards, mPower Team

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sandra.chow

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Lisa de Wilde

Published on August 23, 2016

 

In a week’s time, TVO’s mPower will be in Ontario classrooms! mPower is a creative online game that teaches fundamental kindergarten to Grade 6 math skills while enabling students to have fun and learn more about the world around them.

 

We’re proud to champion technology to help reinvent learning in Ontario and support student success. Leveraging TVO’s expertise at the intersection of curriculum, pedagogy and digital media, TVO worked alongside teachers and students from across Ontario over an 18-month period to collaboratively create this free online game-based math resource for use in Ontario schools.

 

It all began with the learners’ needs: our in-house team of educators talked to Ontario teachers and also looked to trend data to identify the areas in which students needed the most math support. Then, our educators and games team conceptualized ways to bring the math curriculum and game play together: a medical clinic as the backdrop for exploring whole numbers and fractions; and biomes around the world as the setting for geometry, quantity relationships and symmetry, to name a few.

 

From concept to prototyping and pilot, each step of mPower’s development was informed by the ideas, expertise and input of Ontario’s teachers. mPower was also rigorously play-tested by both teachers and students. Their insights were instrumental in helping TVO make meaningful improvements and enhancements in game concepts, mechanics and instructions. To keep kids engaged while playing, the team also added layers of gamification like card collection and stickers.

 

In one play-testing session, we discovered that a five-year-old child had never seen a computer mouse! This certainly speaks to the prevalence of touch-devices in their lives, but also presented other considerations, like ensuring mPower accommodated young learners who didn’t yet have the fine-motor skills needed to operate a mouse.

 

As a novel approach to the play-testing process, TVO created the Game Design Club, a unique partnership with a Toronto school that saw students field-testing the Grade 3-6 games bi-weekly over six months. Students also had the chance to create their own video game. For TVO, the experience provided a successful model for user input and feedback, and enabled a richer understanding of mPower’s users and their developmental needs across Grades 3-6.
 


 

mPower for kindergarten to Grade 2 will be available to Ontario teachers beginning August 29, and a pilot of the Grade 3-6 games will roll-out in October. Take a peek at mPower now and hear what teachers have been saying about it.

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Lisa de Wilde

Published on July 26, 2016

 

School may be out, but at TVO we’re looking ahead to a new school year with a lot of excitement and anticipation. TVO’s mPower, a fun and innovative online game-based resource that builds problem-solving, critical thinking and math skills for learners in kindergarten to Grade 6, will be coming to Ontario classrooms this fall.

 

mPower immerses students in a virtual world in which they can learn and master math concepts that align with the Ontario curriculum through engaging games. It’s a “tool within a toolbox” of math resources. mPower offers students guided, learner-centric math problem-solving experiences set in a variety of creative and age-appropriate worlds that reflect Ontario’s communities. In addition to supporting student engagement and achievement in math, the toolbox also incorporates “big ideas” from the elementary Social Studies and Science curriculums. For example, in one of the games for kindergarten students, they learn about probability by predicting the likelihood of certain types of weather and dress the game character appropriately based on scenes depicting the four seasons.

 

In the classroom, mPower can be used on an interactive whiteboard for whole-class and small-group instruction, as well as individually on desktops, laptops and tablets. Educators can also use mPower as an assessment tool to monitor student progress.

 

Jonathan Lowe, a kindergarten teacher at Rosedale Junior Public School in Toronto, has been using mPower in his classroom as part of a pilot program that was rolled out to select schools in late 2015.

 

“It’s the most age- and developmentally appropriate app that I’ve encountered,” he says of mPower’s unique value. “I could direct the kids to the appropriate content area that matched what we were learning. Also, the scaffolding in the game and the fact that it doesn’t rely on text means that even pre-literate kids can play, learn and have fun.”

 

It’s already generated a few light bulb moments in his classroom. “I had one student who began the year unable to identify a pattern,” says Jonathan. “When we started using mPower with this student, the scaffolding of the game helped reinforce concepts, and provided a safe, positive environment for them to practise and build confidence. Now [the student] can identify and create their own pattern.”

 

mPower joins TVO’s growing suite of innovative educational learning products that build on TVO’s strategic direction to be the province’s partner for digital learning inside and outside the classroom.

 

This post is an edited version of an article that was originally published as part of TVO’s 2015-16 Annual Report.

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Lisa de Wilde

Published on July 25, 2016

 

In our day-to-day life, and in our 21st-century, globally connected world, math matters. Strong math skills are crucial to helping young learners succeed in school. Math literacy is also key to the jobs of the future and creating a skilled workforce, which will ultimately help strengthen Ontario’s economy and enable the province to compete on a global scale.

 

Yet math can trigger anxiety for kids, parents and teachers – it can be hard to learn, and complex to teach. There’s also been a declining trend in math scores in Ontario and a concerted effort to reverse this. In this context, TVO saw an opportunity to harness our expertise at the intersection of curriculum, pedagogy and digital media to create a tool to support student success, and help instill a solid foundation in STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) from the onset of a child’s education in kindergarten.

 

To address the need for math support, TVO created mPower, a fun and innovative online game-based resource that builds problem-solving, critical thinking and math skills for learners in kindergarten to Grade 6. As the popularity of online gaming among young Canadians continues to grow, it was a natural fit to leverage digital game-based learning to tap into kids’ innate love of games so that learning math is fun.

 

To keep kids engaged while they learn, mPower also employs gamification principles. These include progressively moving players up through levels of difficulty while “scaffolding” the learning; giving kids the freedom to make mistakes along the road to finding the answers; providing feedback; and balancing the skills and challenges in a game so that players enjoy their experience and want to play again.

 

In 2015-2016, TVO built mPower from the ground up within TVO’s new product management framework. A product manager led a cross-functional, multidisciplinary team to conceptualize, prototype, develop and continually iterate and improve mPower. Its development is rooted in TVO’s Educational Blueprint, a rigorous instructional design process that guides the creation of all of TVO’s high-quality educational content.

 

The team worked in partnership with Ontario educators, who guided the development of mPower from its inception, giving TVO critical insight on students’ learning needs and the math challenges they are facing. Throughout the process, educators and students themselves helped shape mPower’s iterations through valuable feedback, play-testing and in-school piloting.

 

This was a transformative method of working for TVO, and provided important insights on how to leverage a wide range of skills, nurture innovation and creativity, and strengthen the organization’s ability to be nimble in its practices. mPower is a first for TVO in terms of scale and complexity – from the organizational efforts that led to its creation, to the resulting product: a comprehensive, high-quality digital classroom resource that serves both teachers and students throughout elementary school.

 

Follow the mPower story and learn more.

 

This post is an edited version of an article that was originally published as part of TVO’s 2015-16 Annual Report. 

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The TVO team is super excited to be on the road this Summer! We'll be presenting at Summer Academies/Institutes across the province.

Hope to see you at one of the sessions!

 

For more information about Summer Academies/Institutes, please check out the following affiliate sites: