Press Release: Addimal Adventure 2.0- Major Update Available Free, Now Includes Classroom Features

NEW  YORK– December 11, 2013 – Teachley released a new version of the Addimal Adventure app for iPad.  Available now in the App Store for free, Addimal Adventure 2.0 is optimized for classroom use with new features that help meet each student’s needs.

Designed for students in Kindergarten – 2nd grades, Addimal Adventure 2.0 teaches effective math strategies and scaffolds learning to promote conceptual understanding and fact fluency.  “Of all of the instructional apps that I have seen for developing fact fluency, I believe that Addimals has the most potential… and aligns well with best practice for instruction,” says David Woodward, Elementary Math Specialist, Boulder Valley School District, CO.  “I am convinced that Addimals could be a valuable supplement to any math program,” says Woodward.

Teachers can now create classroom accounts with individual student profiles.  Students’ progress is saved as children play so they can pick up right where they left off from any iPad in the classroom.  “We know that most schools don’t have 1:1 iPad programs. Most use shared iPads carts or have just a few iPads in their classroom,” says Dana Pagar, co-founder of Teachley. “Teachers who don’t have their own full set of iPads need the same opportunities to individualize instruction.”

In addition to tracking and adapting to individual students, Addimal Adventure 2.0 also introduces interactive mini-lessons that adapt based on children’s performance, reteaching concepts for struggling learners and introducing new concepts for advancing learners. The app now includes more adaptive gameplay: a new memory tool helps speed up the game play for more advanced students and the speed round slows down for students who need extra time.

While most addition apps focus on drill with digital worksheets and flashcards, Addimal Adventure 2.0 aligns with Common Core State Standards that emphasize teaching different strategies to solve problems. “The way the blocks break apart to show counting on has been a great reinforcement for my students. This app has motivated my students to learn multiple ways to add numbers quickly,” says Apple Distinguished Educator Mauri Dufour, 2nd grade teacher, Auburn, ME.

Addimal Adventure also takes advantage of the new zoom and crop features of iOS7.  Teachers can take fun pictures of their students and classrooms to make it easier for kids to recognize their profiles.

Teachley: Addimal Adventure 2.0 is available in Apple’s App Store for free during this promotional period worldwide. Visit www.teachley.com for more information, including videos and screenshots of the app. Teachers can also sign up to participate in Teachley’s pilot data program on the website.

Teachley: Addimal Adventure was developed by Teachley, an edtech company founded in 2011 by former teachers with PhDs in Cognition and Learning. Teachley was one of 6 companies out of hundreds of applicants to receive two prestigious Small Business Innovation Research grants, totalling $1.05M from the U.S. Department of Education.  Teachley was also recently the runner up in NBC’s Education Nation Innovation Challenge 2013.  Addimal Adventure received the Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review, a leading review database on children’s interactive media.  Teachley’s next app, focused on multiplication, is currently in development.

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Screenshot of Teacher login for Addimal Adventure 2.0.

Stay tuned for a tutorial of how to use Addimal Adventure’s new features…


5th/ 6th Graders Use Addimals for Fun Practice

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Laurie’s Combined 5th 6th grade class in the Lagunitas School District took time out from preparing for Halloween and spent the afternoon doing the Speed Challenge in Addimal Adventure. Even though the kids are studying multiplication, the Addimal speed challenge was great practice for gaining automaticity, which continues to be a challenge for most in the class. Hannah’s mom brought in three iPads with Addimal Adventure installed, and kids took turns, either working in teams of two or using the iPads on their own. Everyone begged for a chance to play and were reluctant to pass the iPad on to the next recipient. Several came back for a second turn. The kids were highly motivated to fill in the picture at the end and didn’t want to quit until they had the whole picture exposed. While there were comments about beating the cutter being ‘stressful’ – beating the cutter was a challenge they enjoyed. The kids who said, “this is stressful” were the most reluctant to give it up. They want to know when they can get the app for multiplication…

Thank you to Carol Stanger, our first guest blogger, for sharing this story. Check out Carol’s work with Attainment Company on literacy tools for students with special needs. If you have a story to share about using Addimals in your class, please let us know!

Teachley Presents at Thoughtworks’ Ada Lovelace Day

A few weeks ago, I presented at a great event hosted by Thoughtworks honoring Ada Lovelace, who is often considered the first computer programmer. I discussed some reasons why there is often a disconnect between elementary school teachers, who are predominantly women, and technology. But I don’t agree with the blame-the-teacher rhetoric, which is so often the response to this disconnect. I’m much more critical of current educational technology, which is often heavy on Tech, but light on Education. Too often educational technology mimics bad teaching instead of supporting great teaching.
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Kara

Teachley: Addimal Adventure: Bridging Research and Technology to Help Children Foster Strategy Development, Conceptual Understanding, and Number Fact Fluency – White Paper

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It’s important for all children to master number facts, but memorizing answers is seldom the first step in the learning process. This is especially true for children who struggle with learning math. Our first white paper breaks down the research on four different strategies kids need to understand when learning addition. The ability to use different strategies when solving problems helps children develop a strong conceptual understanding of addition. Kids are then able to think flexibly about problems and use the knowledge they already have to solve new problems.  Learning to add is about much more than just knowing 2+2=4.  Read our white paper to find out why.

Also included in the white paper are the results of an initial pilot study of our first app, Teachley: Addimal Adventure. Read about how our app helps children learn different strategies to master addition facts. 

Click here to read the white paper.

Teachley is NBC’s Education Nation Innovation Challenge  2013 Runner Up!

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 We were so fortunate to take part in this month’s NBC’s Education Nation Innovation Challenge sponsored by the Robin Hood Foundation. For the third year, NBC highlighted three early stage edtech startups whose innovative work has the potential to greatly impact education. Teachley along with CodeHS and Gigabryte spent a week competing against one another in a series of challenges. After an exhausting yet exciting week, Teachley finished in 2nd place, missing the lead by just 1.25 points. Congratulations to CodeHS for the final win. Gigabryte, we can’t wait for your product to hit store shelves.  Here’s a rundown of our experience:

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The first five challenges kept us on our toes. From raising money for low-income schools across America (we’ve raised almost $5,000 at bit.ly/teachley – help us continue our efforts by donating) to pitching to CNBC’s Jim Cramer of Mad Money (see what Jim had to say about Teachley here), to a first grade classroom at PS 82 in Queens, NY (thanks for the A!), and to a room of distinguished educators (who gave very thoughtful feedback). Not to mention spending Saturday afternoon literally running around Times Square and Grand Central Terminal during a scavenger hunt. Watch a video montage of the challenges here: Challenges #1-5. The sixth challenge was a live pitch to MSNBC’s JJ Ramberg of Your Business in a working elevator on a busy Monday afternoon, watch it here.

And, if all that wasn’t enough, there was also time built in to meet with a variety of successful mentors in education, business, and edtech. Thank you to all for sharing your insight!


After a week of honing our pitch, Kara took to the Education Nation stage in the Final Pitch Showdown. Watch Kara rock Teachley’s final pitch. (Kara starts 13min 35sec into the video.) 

It was an incredible week and we’re lucky to have been given the opportunity to take part. Education Nation offered a platform for people to come together from all across the country to discuss a wide range of issues impacting education. This year’s theme was “What Does it Take for Students to Succeed?”. Although the answer to this question is quite complex, some things are for sure, it will take continued dialogue, research, and dedicated individuals who are determined to help ALL our kids succeed.

A big thank you goes out to NBC for hosting the Education Nation Innovation Challenge and the Robin Hood Foundation for sponsoring the event. Also thanks to David Havens and NewSchools Venture Fund for originally selecting Teachley as one of many potential companies for the competition. We learned a lot and look forward to watching next year.

Why do some older kids (and adults) still count on their fingers?

Talking with upper elementary and junior high school teachers, a common complaint is that some kids are still counting on their fingers for basic addition facts. This is a fine strategy for a 1st grader, but what about the 7th grader, who tries to hide his finger counting under the desk? Relying on finger counting becomes especially problematic as students confront more complicated mathematics because kids end up wasting their cognitive resources on figuring out simple addition facts rather than concentrating on solving equations. But why is it that some kids struggle?Looking to the research, we know that there are four main strategies that children typically use to solve addition problems, but children who struggle in math follow a very different strategy trajectory.

Typical Development – Solving 3 + 4

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Poor math performers

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Typically, kids figure out that addition facts are related, so that if you know 3 + 3 = 6, that can help you solve 3 + 4. If you know 8 + 2 = 10, that can help you figure out 8 + 3. But some kids don’t make that connection and see each addition fact as separate. These kids who struggle often have poor memory, so if they forget what the answer to 8 + 3 is, their backup strategy is to count on, often using their fingers.Another kid, who sees how these facts inter-relate, may also forget the answer to 8 + 3 but can quickly reason that if 8 + 2 is 10 then 8 + 3 would be 11. Using a derived fact as a backup strategy does not take up as many cognitive resources as counting on, letting this child concentrate on more complex mathematics.

For more info on this topic, keep tuned in and let us know your questions and comments. We’re working on a white paper on addition strategy development….Coming soon.
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Kara

Interview on San Antonio Living

Teachley featured on San Antonio Living morning TV show! Dana and Rachael talk about the importance of incorporating cognitive research into instructional software and give a short demo of Addimal Adventure. This clip comes from the show, so it does begin with a short advertisement.

Teachley Featured on NBC News 4 – San Antonio

Rachael and Dana were interviewed by NBC News 4 while in San Antonio this week at ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education Conference. Check out the footage below. The clip comes from the news station, so it does begin with a short advertisement.

Gender differences in intellectual risk taking

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There is a great deal of evidence that shows that boys are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviors than are girls, especially in school (Forman & Kochanska, 2001; Serbin, 1990).  When we think of risk-taking, we may think of trying new things, seeking out excitement, having a strong sense of adventure, or even getting into trouble.  However, have you ever wondered what the academic ramifications are of taking intellectual risks?

Taking intellectual risks can mean asking questions, looking at a problem in a new way, or challenging the ideas of others (think Albert Einstein).  Taking these risks means you aren’t afraid to go against the rules or make a mistake, a critical set of skills for thinking and learning.  Some researchers argue that differences in gender performance in math are due to the different ways that girls and boys are socialized to either follow the rules or take intellectual risks (i.e. Villalobos, 2009).

Since intellectual risk-taking is so important to learning, how do we foster these skills in both boys AND girls?

For more reading, check out:

Forman, D. & Kochanska, G. (2001). Viewing imitation as child responsiveness: A link between
teaching and discipline domains of socialization. Developmental Psychology, 37, 198-206.
Serbin, L.A. (1990). The socialization of sex-differentiated skills and academic performance: A
meditational model. Sex Roles, 23, 613-28.
Villalobos, A. (2009). The importance of breaking set: Socialized cognitive strategies and the gender
discrepancy in mathematics. Theory and Research in Education, 7(10), 27-43.


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                                                                                  Dana