Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Amy Broemmel

Committee Members

Joshua Rosenberg, Jennifer A. Morrow, Elizabeth R. MacTavish


The 21st century has seen adaptive math technology (AMT), often formatted as digital game-based learning, integrated into a greater number of elementary classrooms as students have more access to devices than ever before. This study explores the practices of power users, teachers who are highly effective users and integrators of that technology. Specifically, the top ten percent of users of the adaptive math program, DreamBox, were surveyed (n = 117) about their practices and routines when integrating the AMT. The results of this study contribute to teacher practices for integrating this technology into the K-5 classroom. The findings show teachers with the highest amount of average student growth deliberately schedule time daily for program use, have time and/or lesson requirements for their students, give rewards (often in the form of public acknowledgment), and hold their students accountable for their progress in learning. When these power users view individual student data on the program’s dashboard, the practices they engage in most often are viewing the student’s total amount of time using the program and lessons completed. When viewing the class as a whole, they view lessons completed and total standards completed. The teachers reported they use the AMT most often for student review of content from the current grade and additional practice of that content, essentially pairing the lessons students engage in the program with what they are presently teaching. This study establishes the practices of highly effective teachers for using AMT in the classroom as: (1) pairing lessons with current content being taught, (2) having daily scheduled time for AMT, (3) time/lesson requirement for students, (4) a system of rewards & accountability, (5) assigning lessons to fill in gaps & enrichment, and (6) identifying students struggling & holding help sessions.

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