## [DAY 3] Math Master

**Describe a problem in teaching/learning/performance.**

One of the problems I face when I teach Math is that there are not enough resources available out there for students to study in order to improve their fundamental Math skills and problem-solving skills. For example, some of my students still have difficulty adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers/fractions/decimals. However, due to the lack of availability in math resources, it’s difficult for them to do more extra practice. As long as the resources are given out by a teacher, studnets can’t have easy access to them. The only resources that are available to students would be a workbook that they purchase at school, handouts given from their teachers, and the textbook (either eBook or hard copy). I’d like to see more apps appropriate for secondary students so that they can practise on their math skills anytime anywhere. I also would like them to have fun doing Math.

**How do the affordances of mobiles help solve that problem?**

Students can have easy access to it anytime anywhere. While working on these Math problems/games, students will have fun and therefore, the attention span of the students can be maintained. As a result, they can see an improvement on their math problem-solving skills and fundamental math skills.

**What learning theory / approach will you use?**

I’ll use behaviorism and cognitivism for my m-learning venture. Students will be able to be familiarized with questions similar to what they’ve repeatedly worked on. Eventually, this will help them to improve on their math skills. I think students require to try similar problems as much as possible until they become comfortable and familiarized.

Also, as prior knowledge plays an important role in Math and in learning in general, cognitivism takes important part of the learning approach I’ll use for the venture.

**How will your m-learning solution use mobile affordances?**

Easy access is the key as it’ll be an app that anyone can download onto their mobiles.

**What is a similar successful solution in the marketplace (m-learning or not) already?**

I haven’t seen great apps that help secondary students (by grade level) improve their fundamental math skills. However, I know a place where you can get lots of Math resources offline. I discovered this educatinal book store almost 10 years ago and have been a good customer since then. They not only have Math resources but also have Science, English, History, Law, SAT, and many more. Some of the resources they have also offer DVD version so that students can have computer access.

**What challenges will you face in implementing your solution and getting market traction?**

The cost would be my biggest concern. Also it’s time-consuming to build a question bank for all grades from Gr. 8 – 12 as questions will be challenging and complex than those of younger children’s. Collecting information and questions takes time. Moreover, the question bank needs to keep updated so that students, parents, and teachers can continue their visit to the app.

In order for this app to be used all over the world, it needs to offer many different languages. Once again, it faces the challenges with creating a question bank in different languages. This also takes time as math questions/problems need to be gathered from all over the world.

**What changes do you need for your mobile solution to grow in the marketplace?**

I should allow social networking within the app so that people, especially teachers, all over the world can upload/create math questions/problems in different topics and categories. They can also share each other’s resources.

Thank you so much for the Day 3 question. I was having hard time coming up with ideas for my last assignment, and this has helped me a lot to organize my thoughts and ideas.

Deb

Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
## David William Price 8:49 pm

onNovember 18, 2011 Permalink | Log in to ReplyGreat ideas!

I’m glad you enjoyed the assignment. You have an interesting concept. I love the idea of educators creating and sharing questions to enhance and grow your database.

What do you think of minimizing translation issues by focusing on using icons and imagery in your problems instead of words? Take a look at Robert Horn’s work, or think about “wordless instructions” like those used by Ikea or in emergency exit brochures for aircraft.

How might you use the computer in the mobile itself to generate questions? It’s probably not necessary to create all the individual questions yourself. Instead you could create heuristics, and the mobile would use the heuristics to generate infinite questions based on those rule sets. THat way you wouldn’t even have to use a lot of data transfer or updates or translation.

Social networking could be used for collaboration to solve problems together. What about an app that requires collaboration to solve math problems? You can see each other working on the problems… or you share a mobile to work a problem out.

I guess another issue for me is why people have trouble with math. Do they have a breakdown in conceptual understanding? How might they use the real world to help them understand math problems? A mobile could scaffold them through using real items or conducting real activities that illustrate the math concepts. To some extent, the Khan Academy does this in their videos.

## Deb Kim 11:08 pm

onNovember 21, 2011 Permalink | Log in to ReplyThank you for the questions, David.

“What do you think of minimizing translation issues by focusing on using icons and imagery in your problems instead of words?”

It’s a good idea that we can minimize translation issues by using icons and images instead of words. However, as the math curriculum and new textbooks that have changed over the last 2 years are focusing on mathematical literacy these days, students still need to learn the ways to translate word problems into diagrams and mathematical sentences. I’ve seen so many kids who can solve a word problem that includes a diagram, but not the one without a diagram. Although I give the same word problem to the students, one with a diagram and one without it, the scores between the two are very different. Many students still need to work on solving word problems.

“How might you use the computer in the mobile itself to generate questions?”

The collection of questions in a question bank is kind of like creating heuristics. Same formatted question with different numbers each time it’s generated.

One of my issues with math is how to make a connection between the real world situations and conceptual understanding in math. I’ve applied some real world situations for teaching. For instance, I once used the Tower of Piza to teach trigonometry in Math 9. I briefly went over the history of the Tower of Piza and told students to find as many angles as possible using sine, cosine, and tangent ratios. Another example is that I sent my AWM (Apprenticeship & Workplace Math) 10 students to a convenience store and ask them to pick up things they want to purchase and calculate HST, sale price, and discount.

Deb