My memories of math class are best summed up by the following lines from Gary Soto’s short story, Seventh Grade, “…some of the stuff looked like the teacher made it up as she went along. It was confusing, like the inside of a watch.” That’s how Soto’s main character Victor Rodriguez felt about Math, that’s how I felt, and I am sure the same is true of many others.
But Math has changed.
I look into my colleague’s math class and see the manipulatives and think, “those might actually be fun to play with.” I know many math teachers are employing brave new methods to encourage students to excel. Speakers like Dan Meyer are challenging educators and schools to re-examine their math curriculum and perform much-needed makeovers. (Wired Educator is planning to interview Dan Meyer soon.)
Today I learned that Houghton Mifflin Harcout (HMH), a leader in text-book publishing, is piloting the ‘first-ever, full function Algebra app’ for Apple’s iPad titled, Holt McDougal Algebra 1 app. (Wired Educator continues to examine the iPad as a worthy educational tool and launched the iPad in Every Classroom Initiative.)
HMH’s pilot Algebra program is part of a bigger model titled Fuse that allows learners to move beyond the one-way experience of a print and digital textbook and allows the learner to interact with their studies as never before. And what device better to allow such interaction then Apple’s iPad? (http://hmheducation.com/fuse/algebra1/index.php)
The pilot program Algebra app will be used on 400 iPads (additional resources also provided) in Washington Middle School and Hudson K–8 in Long Beach Unified; Kings Canyon Middle School and Sequoia Middle School in Fresno Unified; Amelia Earhart Middle School in Riverside Unified and Presidio Middle School in San Francisco Unified School District. Those lucky students and teachers! As Barry O’Callaghan, HMH’s chief executive, so profoundly stated, “We believe this pilot will provide the nation with a glimpse into the future of education.
The app promises to provide students feedback on practice questions, allow them to create and save notes, receive guided instruction, access video lessons, and more, all at the touch of a finger. The app will apparently have some customizable features as well, for both the teacher and learner. The teachers will also receive real-time feedback on student performance.
Wired Educator plans to keep tabs on this exciting pilot program.
You can learn more about this HMH’s exciting Fuse program by registering on their website. HMH’s website is complete with videos of the upcoming project and press release.
Today’s digital natives are so well versed in on-screen navigation that the best way to get their attention is through an electronic device. The new HMH Fuse: Algebra 1 offers touchscreen access to a complete curriculum in students’ preferred medium, including:
- engaging instructional content
- tutorial videos that teach or re-teach key concepts
- automatic grading on quizzes and assessments with immediate prompts for individualized review
- vocabulary support with links to audio and print definitions
- linked point-of-use graphing tools, tips, and hints
- animated, stepped-out examples and solutions
note-taking in scratchpad and audio formats, archived for future reference