Microsoft, McDonald’s and TiViTz Partner on Office 365 Classroom Challenge

Industry News
With 16,000 games played so far, this unique collaboration allows students to compete for prizes while playing the TiViTz math and strategy game through Microsoft Office 365

For the past three months, Microsoft and TiViTz, a math and strategy game, have collaborated on a unique program that allows students to compete for prizes while playing TiViTz through the Microsoft Office 365 Education platform. Based in the Hillsborough county school district of Florida, 16,000 games have been played so far and classrooms are winning weekly prizes sponsored by Caspers McDonald’s Company.

One of the keys to the success of the program is the simplicity of enabling students to login using their Microsoft Office 365 account, allowing them to play in class and at home without another password to remember. The TiViTz game is provisioned at the school district level, as an additional app within the Microsoft Office 365 platform. This puts the TiViTz game on the students’ Office 365 home screen as a tile along with other approved Microsoft apps like Word and Excel. Once the student has signed in to Office 365, he or she is already signed in to TiViTz automatically. Students' data like teacher and grade level are automatically transferred to TiViTz to personalize the experience.

“The combination of Microsoft Office 365 for Education and TiViTz makes sense,” said Steve Scully, the game’s creator. “The challenge works so well because kids have access to Microsoft Office 365 in both their classrooms and at home. Their teachers and parents encourage them to play because TiViTz makes math relevant to a kid’s world,” said Scully.

Prizes for the Microsoft Office 365 TiViTz Challenge are provided by the program’s sponsors, Caspers Company McDonald’s, Microsoft and SAS Games, creators of TiViTz. Each week, the six top-performing classrooms win a McDonald’s classroom party. Every month, top-scoring students and teachers win Tampa Bay Lighting tickets and their classrooms win a set of TiViTz board games or $50 gift cards. At the end of the program, each student in the top two classrooms will win their choice of an Xbox Live Gold annual subscription or one year of Minecraft and the top two teachers will receive a Microsoft Surface tablet. Trophies will be awarded to the five schools that played the most games.

Recently, a teacher in Hillsborough County, Greg Smith of Witter Elementary School, decided to test something he had observed in his classrooms after seeing kids play TiViTz. Smith conducted a study with 46 of his fifth-grade students, measuring their math proficiency before and after playing TiViTz. He found that the students’ math skill scores increased three letter grades, from an average of 49 percent to a solid 83 percent in a short period of time. Smith is currently conducting another study with ten schools across Hillsborough County.

“It was clear to me the students were more engaged in math once they got involved with TiViTz. The game is fun, but at the same time, it teaches critical thinking skills and how to master the lessons we teach in class. The real benefit to kids is the improvement in their math scores, and now we have proof of that happening, said Smith.”

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