Avatars & Competition
Penda’s ability to engage students and motivate them stems from the interactive world of Penda.

Brain research shows that students learn with their emotions first.  They must engage emotionally before they can engage cognitively.

1. Create Avatar The act of choosing an avatar creates an emotional connection with subsequent learning.

2. Choose Friends The act of choosing friends places subsequent learning in a social context.

Usage of Penda increased 70% when this feature was first introduced.

3. Choice Students have a choice of what to work on, which could be:

Assignments or other Activities

Perhaps – the 7 Gr Math ‘book’

Search for a content area they didn’t understand by key word or standard.

4. Challenges Students receive challenges from their friends, which introduces friendly competition.

5. Standards Aligned activities Students can see which standards they are working on.

6.  10 – 15 minute activities of different types Brain research has shown that varied types of activities of about 10 minutes in length keeps students’ neurons firing, allowing them to concentrate for longer periods of time.
7.  Scaffolding Activities scaffold up to the standard, so students typically experience immediate success on the first couple of screens. This gives them confidence and motivates them to attempt more rigorous content.

The scaffolding fills cracks in prior knowledge without the need for a pre-test. The average score of 79% on Penda activities last year demonstrates that students are finding success with our scaffolded yet rigorous approach.

8.  Immediate feedback Immediate feedback on EVERY student response There are three questions on the above screen; 24 questions in the activity.

Students must answer each question correctly before they can continue – but they only score a mark if they are correct on their FIRST attempt.

9.  Hints and  Remember Pens Guidance where needed

10.  Correct answer the last thing they see Even where their first response was incorrect.

11.  Flow The combination of:

Choice – choosing what you work on

Working on something that is challenging and rigorous and

MEETING that challenge

… leads to a state of flow, where students continue working for an extended period of time.

12.  Immediate feedback at the end of an activity Immediate feedback maintains the flow of learning. Students don’t have to wait for work to be graded.

Students receive points for completing each activity and bonus points for good scores.

Receiving congratulations from friends builds confidence and engagement.

Students are encouraged to try again if they didn’t do so well.

13.  Pick your Smiley The act of picking a smiley allows students to communicate their emotions to their friends in an appropriate way. For example they can affirm success or express frustration.

14.  Penda World Every time a student completes an activity, they see the avatars move in Penda World. Will they overtake one of their friends?

By scoring points, students go on a journey through major world cities.

Each location has animated elements in the background to add interest and fun to the journey. The time of day (day vs. night) and weather shown are the real conditions in that location.

15.  Trophy Card Trophy cards show a student’s points, current location in Penda World, number of locations visited, and the medals they have won along the way.

They can compare their progress with last year.

Students can personalize their trophy card by choosing a color and theme.

Students can see their friends’ trophy cards, but only outside the school day, which provides an incentive to login at home.

16.  My Progress – Summary Students work to increase their

overall % score

They compare their progress to last year

17.  My Progress – Detailed Students are VERY motivated to ‘Get to Green’ (Mastery).

Students can repeat an activity directly from this screen by clicking the icon.

This is the same report that teachers get for individual students.

For each activity attempted, students see:

Traffic light for: Mastered,

Partially Mastered and Not Mastered.

Number of attempts

Score for:

First attempt,

Last attempt and

Best score.

Activities are attempted 1.5 times on average to reach a minimum mastery level of 80%.