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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.