Putting Math in the Hands of the Teachers
Published on SmartBusiness.com
Today, more than 70 percent of the world’s population lives in developed countries. But increasingly, we are just as likely to travel by train, boat, or plane as we are by land.
Yet, children living in developing countries don’t study the same math as they do in U.S. classrooms.
We might blame it on poverty, lack of opportunity, and insufficient opportunities to use high-quality math curriculum for specialized learning. The reality is much more difficult to accept: education is changing in the way it is delivered by teachers. For example, text-based teaching models are often employed in primary and secondary schools, especially in countries where access to textbooks isn’t free or easy. As a result, how traditional methods of teaching math are being used is often a reflection of the homeschooling parents and their education philosophies – sometimes more than the teachers themselves.
Technology and Personalized Learning
For 15 years, we’ve been focusing on how technology can improve the way we teach students through the power of personalized learning. We have supported teams of educators to improve learning through new instructional methods and technology platforms that have reached millions of students around the world. This November, we’re highlighting best practices in teaching math in classrooms and on mobile devices.
In an interactive video, you’ll learn how mobile learning technologies make learning interactive. Expensive schools with large numbers of students tend to use a one-size-fits-all, lecture-style model. We use a child-centered approach in our own schools. By contrast, we’ve found that the multi-media features of smart devices have opened a window for personalized learning, where children can explore math concepts in their own way.
The American Mathematics Education Association (AMI) surveyed teachers nationwide about the variety of learning methodologies for providing personalized lessons on student-specific academic topics, which resulted in a full suite of resource videos and case studies, including a recent whitepaper on technology’s impact on education for mathematics.
An example of a supportive technology experience for math is seen in Seattle’s Goddard School. It uses both print and video to aid the process of teaching children math concepts. By making homework fun, the school engages students at an earlier age. Study materials like these create a tangible reality of math in the classroom, helping students explore math concepts and keeping teachers involved throughout the process.
Organizations like the Model Teaching Partnership find the right technology solution for the school environment. This method involves teaching teachers through digital presentation and technology solutions as a system-wide teaching approach, which allows teachers to focus on foundational math and additional lessons when they aren’t necessarily used during the school day.
Study Materials; Lessons; Technology; Emotional Connection
Smart instructors employ in a variety of ways to create a personalized learning experience for their students.
Take the Case Study series from three college students from Pennsylvania:
In the paper, we discuss some of the techniques the students used to achieve this experience. In particular, it addresses how participants talked about the importance of studying and how they brought math into class in different ways throughout the day.
For example, one student talked about why she felt the purpose of studying was important, while another pointed out what she appreciated about being able to use the large notetaking pad and note taking features of the iPad. A third student asked a question about something she learned in the course, while the fourth student marked her work while using his stylus.
A student response about the iPad was the most insightful:
“I decided to use the iPad more for my visual learning for a couple of reasons. The first was that I knew it would be more adaptable to the content I was working on. The other reason is that the actual tools would allow me to have a nice layout of my work. The third reason was the power of the software in terms of presentation to the teacher and class.”
See the AMEA Resource Training Manual.