The Knewton Blog

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Knewton in the Classroom: Waggle

Posted in Adaptive Learning on December 16, 2014 by

Meeting the needs of every student is one of the biggest difficulties teachers face today. Some students are struggling to catch up; others are bored with the material at hand. (And this doesn’t take behavior issues or other challenges into account.)

With Knewton, teachers can better serve the needs of students at both ends of the spectrum, and everywhere in between.

Waggle, Powered by Knewton

As an example, let’s look at Triumph Learning’s Waggle, an educational product designed to help students practice skills and prepare for assessment in a supportive, engaging environment. Powered by Knewton adaptive learning, Waggle is built for grades 3-8 and aligned with National Common Core Standards in both Math and English Language Arts (ELA). Teachers can use Waggle in the classroom or assign it as homework.

Within Waggle, Knewton supports the learning process by recommending what item a student should work on, at exactly the moment they need it. With Knewton, Waggle presents actionable analytics to help teachers and students figure out where to devote their limited time. From Waggle’s dashboards, teachers have a live view of which students are at greatest risk of failure or disengagement, which students are proficient in which topics, and much more. This helps them intervene to maximum effect.

Here are four cool features within Waggle.

  • Waggle allows cross-grade level remediation to address skills gaps before students fall behind.

Passing a course or moving on to the next grade level doesn’t necessarily imply that a student has mastered all the necessary skills to tackle more complex material. After all, a student can pass a course with a 90% and still not understand 10% of the material. As a result, many students today struggle with what some call the “Swiss cheese effect.” The holes in their knowledge bases grow over time, as students move on to more advanced material that assumes mastery of these foundational skills. Left unaddressed, these gaps can result in frustration and failure.

Within Waggle, Knewton addresses this problem by recommending content across grade levels — ensuring that students get the remediation and review they need before they fall behind. For example, a student working with algebraic expressions in 7th grade might need to review the fraction division skills he learned in 5th grade. Knewton can seamlessly integrate this foundational material into the student’s curriculum, then guide him back toward more complex problems. If everyone needs a refresher on a certain topic, teachers can also assign material from past grades to an entire class.

  • Waggle’s goal map highlights struggling and excelling students, as well as challenging topics, to help teachers prioritize their limited time.  

Knewton recommendations take into account not only a student’s individual needs, but also course objectives. Teachers assign goals to ensure that Knewton prioritizes the most pressing activities when providing recommendations.

Waggle’s teacher dashboard has many features for educators, including a detailed goal map that illustrates at-a-glance what students are working on and how they’re performing. Teachers can see if a student is struggling in a particular area, or if a whole class needs to review a certain topic. Perhaps some students are struggling with motivation or have low grit. Waggle’s actionable metrics, combined with the detailed goal map, helps teachers guide interventions and inform class lectures and discussion.

  • Waggles provides students with “warm starts” at the beginning of the school year.

When a student enters a new teacher’s class, the teacher can see how students performed on past material in Waggle. Usually, it takes weeks or even months for a teacher to identify the individual strengths, weaknesses, and skill level of every student in a class. With Waggle, teachers understand where a student is coming from right off the bat, and can immediately provide them with the support they need. The experience is also engaging for the student. Rather than reviewing content that’s too easy or tackling questions that are too advanced, he can work on material at the right level of challenge for his current skill set.

  • Waggle contains a skill meter to help students visualize their progress.

Within Waggle, teachers can set specific goals for students in a class. These goals comprise specific skills, which are tied to Common Core standards — e.g., “master informational text elements” or “learn how to summarize numerical data sets.” Students can look at the “skill meter” visualization in their student dashboard to see how many skills they need to master in order to achieve a learning goal.

Waggle also uses the metaphor of a battery to show students exactly where they stand in terms of their mastery of course material, at any given moment in time. Each student’s battery meter can gain or lose its “charge” depending on a variety of factors. Students are motivated to “charge up” their battery by completing work in the course.

These are just a few of many innovative features within Waggle. For more information, visit