To differentiate learning, Happy Numbers implements an approach based on the zone of proximal development, or ZPD (Vygotsky, 1934). This approach suggests looking for a zone between problems that a student can solve on his own and those that he cannot solve. Providing appropriate guidance to help students solve problems within this ZPD is an effective way to develop proficiency. In other words, guidance in the ZPD helps advance the zone, leaving the newly mastered problems in the proficiency zone.
Happy Numbers uses technology to find each student’s individual ZPD for a certain skill. First, we interactively guide students through an introduction and the easiest problems related to that skill. Students who can easily solve problems at this level are in their proficiency zone, so we immediately move them to the next level. Happy Numbers provides all necessary scaffolding to students working in their ZPD.
Our levels are fine-tuned, so that advancing from one to the next is a smooth transition.