In the wake of a global pandemic, many schools ended the school year early in 2020 due to the challenges presented by the coronavirus crisis.
To keep students' math proficiency up over the summer, the Picatinny Arsenal STEM Outreach Office and Steven Hoy, CEO of DimensionU, teamed up to provide children of Picatinny employees free access to an educational video game platform that supports core math and literacy learning. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math.
“The Picatinny STEM office has been utilizing math video game DimensionU in our local schools for the past six years with great success,” said Shahram Dabiri, Picatinny Arsenal STEM manager. “When COVID hit, the STEM office started getting requests from our Picatinny family regarding finding a tool or product that could be deployed to help the children of Picatinny employees stay sharp with respect to their math skills.”
Over 400 members of the Picatinny family signed up for DimensionU. Each week they participated in esports math tournaments and winners received DimensionU beach towels or T-shirts.
“It's been a really great way to help support students,” said Hoy. “During COVID, we were looking for ways to enhance our efforts with our partnership, so we created free access for all base families.”
The program is targeted to students grades three through nine.
“Each game license allows access to all DimensionU curriculum level, making it easy for students of varied grade and skill levels to get in the game with one another,” Hoy said. “Playing DimensionU provides academic support and promotes strategic and critical thinking skills for students.”
Multiple users can participate in the same game together or play as part of a team; and as part of the game, they solve math questions as they arise commensurate to their math level.
“DimensionU’s action-oriented, first person, multiplayer video games are fun to play,” said Hoy. “They reinforce math and literacy instruction, are aligned to New Jersey standards, and can be played on the web or via our mobile app.”
Parents are often surprised at how much their children like the program and that the games are delivered in short time increments, Hoy said. Each game lasts approximately 10 minutes and students can play on either their mobile devices or desktop computers.
“Students can play on their mobile devices on the way to the store with their parents or during a 10-minute break in between classes; and parents really enjoy that,” said Hoy. “Some parents also really enjoy jumping into games with their kids because it just makes it more fun, and it also allows opportunities for the children to sometimes help their parents. It can even be a great learning tool or a good review tool for some parents and help them tangibly see the work that students are learning right now. It’s sort of a really fun and engaging way to become involved and support their children’s learning in this current environment.”
DimensionU originated in 2003, and is currently based out of Richmond, Va. The organization began working with school systems in late 2005 and has partnered with a number of other STEM Outreach offices on military bases throughout the country.
“New Jersey is the first state in which we’ve initiated a free access program; we're hoping to replicate that in others,” said Hoy. “We work with school districts all over the country and as far western as Hawaii.”
To learn more about DimensionU, visit DimensionU.com, DimensionU on Facebook, and DimensionU Games on Instagram.
“Students, parents, grandparents, friends, anyone from New Jersey, can go to DimensionU.com and create a free account,” said Hoy.