Sumdog is a free educational game that was developed to enhance the mathematical capabilities of primary (elementary) school children. This game was developed for teachers and classes in mind, it is a Scottish based game, so it targeted the British education system and curriculum when it was first introduced in 1994.
Sumdog Ltd was founded in 1994 in Edinburgh, Scotland in the United Kingdom. It’s CEO is Andrew Hall, and their physical location is 43 Queensferry Street Lane, Edinburgh, EH2 4PF, United Kingdom. Contact is via their site: www.sumdog.com
Their only funding round was in 2017, and they raised on August 21, 2017: £1.4M (Crunchbase)
Software companies that predate the internet tend to get set in their ways, and the graphics end up being less than perfect for the modern day mobile app and PC screen. However, Sumdog has been true to the times and provides us with a fresh and interesting graphics that both retain a low-bandwidth quality as well as provide children with an interesting GUI.
So, what do you get with sumdog?
You get a Teachers, School Leaders and Parents Portal that provides a controlled environment for advancing the mathematical comprehension and solution finding skills in children. As the site states: “Sumdog provides engaging learning and practice in numeracy for children aged 5-14 and literacy for children aged 5-11.”
School leaders get a leading integrated mathematical platform that is found in thousands of schools all around the world.
Before teachers can login and create a class account, the school has to integrate it. Once this platform is opened to the school, it is also included in a regional database, and you can see which students from which school is leading on the leaderboard. The school dashboard includes an administration section where teachers can be added, removed and replaced.
The administration arranges the student’s lists, the school details, and manage teachers as well as follow up on the subscription.
You can input an entire curriculum, set the skills, restrict access to specific skills per class and teacher and basically organize the whole structure of access so that teachers are focused on their students without having to worry about choosing what to provide since it has already been selected together with them.
There is a district leaderboard that shows you which students in which schools are leading in specific skills.
The teacher’s dashboard is an offshoot of the main school dashboard when a teacher logs in they get access to their class and the contents related to their class. This is where teachers manage their students and can focus on one each student. Their activity is also viewed by the school administration.
Teachers can edit students access to courses, games, and exams.
The teacher’s dashboard is where the game flow is controlled and is reached through the teacher’s login. The teacher’s login after the school has integrated the platform and opened an account. Once they have taken over control, their success is transparent for the school and the district to view.
Parents also get access to a dashboard that shows their child’s or children progress, and they can get family generated reports as well as providing access to the games at home for homework as well as for free play time when children want to just enjoy the game without being graded.
There are many options to choose from when playing this platform of games. Since teachers control the school environment, children will only be able to access their chosen levels, while at home they gain access to the same games, they will not be rated as in school.
The games can be played
The games are individually picked for each child’s capabilities. Children can play solo, against classmates or against other players from around the world. When you use the free app version, you get limited access to the premium or school version. So, if your school doesn’t have this system, its advised to buy a subscription to maximize its effectivity.
Sumdog has 100 skill games split into 10 different levels, so you get 1,000 games which are more than enough. You can also access multiplayer games for extra incentive and excitement.
The first-time installation will require a diagnostic; this is run to check each student’s capabilities and place them on the right level. The game does not classify children based on a class but on a mathematical skill level. Once the student has completed the diagnostic, they get their first Sumdog pet. This pet (like a Pokémon, will gain power and grow per level as the child learns new skills and advances to a new level.
After the first-time installation diagnostic, your child enters the game at the “city” page (homepage), and this will open up a number of games for him/her to choose from. The games are all level specific to the original diagnostic findings. The child will then be able to decide whether to play solo, in a competition, a multiplayer game, or playing with their Sumdog pet.
Every player gets a room and can accessories this room with items bought at a shop using the coins they earn when playing games and winning competitions.
The games are split between categories such as arithmetic, decimals, fractions, equations, percentages, and more, and each one comes with 25 games per category and 10 levels.
- Free: Most of the games are free, different subscriptions create different levels of reporting and access to more features.
- Class Subscription: $60 opens up access to all reporting and the dashboards.
- School/District: A school will get a bigger discount, and a district will get an even bigger one. Obviously, it would integrate the whole system across many schools.
Overall there are a lot of great reviews of this game online, and from first-hand experience, the games are challenging and received very well. The great excitement factor is being able to play against children from around the world. In fact, most players prefer the world competition games; it gives them bragging rights when they defeat someone from another country. When children play online with friends sitting beside them, apart from the usual calls for an answer, they whoop every time they defeat an opponent you hear their little discussions heat up with excitement. What is great is that they are learning mathematics while enjoying the performance.
Now, add to this the school level control, and you have a perfect example of how software improves classroom activities. If you want the biggest excitement factor, it comes when children go online and find they are playing against their own teacher. Teachers do this occasionally, and you hear the students whoop in excitement again as they shout out to each other about whom they are playing against.