Wichita schools embrace technology to improve math scores


WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Across Kansas, many schools now provide technology to every classroom. In Wichita, schools are using it to improve student achievement.

USD 259 officials said, district-wide, they noticed students’ math scores dropping. The district knew it had to do something different to help support teachers and students.

In 2015, the district embraced and integrated technology in the classroom, with an interactive, web-based software program called DreamBox Learning. L’Ouverture Elementary School was one of a few schools in the Wichita school district to pilot the program.

District officials said they saw success with the program, and implemented DreamBox at every elementary school the following year.

L’Ouverture is in its second year with the program.

According to school officials, they’ve seen an increase in the number of students scoring at a high level on the state math assessment. The highlight being that third grade showed 14-percent more students passing the state math assessment since beginning the program.

“We’re seeing some gains, small gains, but they’re gains and so we’re definitely going to keep using it,” said Janelle Roland, an instructional coach at L’Ouverture.

DreamBox is an interactive math program that can be used on an iPAD or SmartBoard.

It allows students to work independently and at their own level. For example, students who are still working on basic addition can work on basic addition. Those that are a little more advanced can work all the way up to algebra.

Teachers say they love it because it gives every student an individualized lesson.

“I cannot get to every student during math core to sit down with them and do an individualized lesson with them,” explained Brittany Horning, a fifth grade teacher at L’Ouverture.

Second grade teacher Emily Allen echoed Horning’s statement: “Instead of me focusing on just the students that need remedial help, it helps me reach the students that go above and beyond, and meet their needs also.”

Most teachers said the program has helped them use their time and available resources wisely — plus, they’ve noticed their students are more engaged in math lessons.

For one student, who doesn’t like math, he said he likes how the program is similar to a computer game.

“It’s helped me because it gets me more interested in math,” said David Wills, a fourth grader.

For those students good at math, they shared that DreamBox still challenges them. When they can’t figure out the answer, it gives them different tools to help them work through and solve the problem.

“When I was really struggling with division, sometimes it would give me the answers to see how you would work this problem out, and to know for the next problem, this is what I should do,” said fifth grader Sara Hankins.

Roland said the school plans to continue using DreamBox in the upcoming school years.

WATCH: KSN’s Amanda Aguilar shows a live demo of how DreamBox Learning works.

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