Are You Helping Your Child Succeed at Math? Maybe Not.

is parental math literacy hurting children? Yes.

Image via: villanova math

When the Erudite Science team took to Montreal’s Science Center with a demo of Sweet Math, a fun educational tool for kids, math enthusiasts young and old gathered to play with falling fruits and talk about what makes math fun.

“It was so great to interact with kids age 5-17 for several sweet minutes while, together with their parents, they explored all the different ways in which math education can be fun, and stimulating.” Hadas, an Erudite Science mathematics educator, reported of the event.

It was exciting to observe the evident correlation between the level of interest parents had in educational tools and the amount of likability kids had towards math. Children whose parents showed a higher level of interest in math games and tools were much more engaged as well, and more frequently said that they “liked math”.

“Parents with a bad attitude towards math have a very critical impact on their kids as math learners.”

 

One mother at the Science Center with a PhD in mathematics education noted that it is the simplest things parents say that affect the perception of math developed by children. She cited an incident she once observed: a woman in the grocery store considering two similar products said to her daughter, “I don’t know what the better deal is, I have always sucked at math.” She went on to explain that by making what that mother considered to be a nonchalant comment, her child heard it’s ok not to be good at math.

It turns out that parents with a bad attitude towards math have a very critical impact on their kids as math learners. A meta-analysis conducted in 2005 on parent involvement showed that the expectations children perceive of their parents have the largest impact on the children’s educational achievement.

Another study linked the math anxiety of children and parents and showed that children who ask math-anxious parents for help with their math homework are more likely to develop anxiety towards math, and achieve a lower level of mathematical skill.

University of Chicago professor Susan Levine explains, “Math-anxious parents may be less effective in explaining math concepts to children, and may not respond well when children make a mistake or solve a problem in a novel way.”

But wait! Before you throw in the towel and b-line out of your child’s mathematics career, remember: parent involvement positively relates to higher levels of student achievement.

The meta-analysis, conducted by William H. Jeynes, pinpointed two key components of parental involvement at the core of these results. First, as previously pointed out, parental expectations have a predominant impact on the academic achievement of young learners. Jeynes found that over the span of 300,000 analyzed students this remained true regardless of how the outcomes of students were measured (grades, standardized test scores, teacher ratings, etc). Second, parent participation in time-intensive activities such as reading and communicating openly with each child has a positive correlation to the child’s achievement of educational outcomes.

So, if research shows that higher parental involvement leads to higher academic achievement, but that higher parental involvement from math-anxious parents leads to lower mathematics achievements, what’s the math-anxious parent to do?

Erin A. Maloney, psychology postdoc at the University of Chicago suggests that “we need to develop better tools to teach parents how to most effectively help their children with math.” Jeynes agrees, concluding his study by saying that educators need to adopt strategies to encourage and strengthen parental engagement in children’s schooling.

 

How are your fraction skills? Give ActionFractions a try and find out!Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 17.36.08

 

The Flipped Classroom: What You Need To Know About It

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As Ed Tech trends continues to sweep our schools and transform traditional teaching methods, the trend towards flipping classrooms has been gaining significant popularity.  In fact, 96% of teachers who have already adopted this method would recommend it, and it is no surprise why! So, what is the flipped classroom, and how does it really work? To better understand this question, let’s go over the basics:

What is a flipped classroom? How does it work?

In a flipped classroom, students are assigned video-based lectures to review on their own, which frees up class time for discussion, assignments, and workshop-like activities. Using a Learning Management System instructors create digital lesson plans with tools including videos, documents, and interactive quizzes for students to review at an individualized learning pace.

Flipped classroom pioneers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann explain that by having students watch lecture lessons at home, class time is spared for deeper interactions between teachers and students. Sams and Bergmann emphasize that with flipped classrooms:

  1. Teachers engage with students in the classroom as a “guide on the side” to help with homework and assignments
  2. Students learn at their own pace outside of class time, which has demonstrated students have a deeper understanding of the material than before

Why adopt the flipped classroom model?

The traditional “one size fits all” model of educating is no longer a viable option for educators. Today, it has become widely acknowledged that students learn at their own pace and often need time to reflect on what has been taught in class. The meaningful interactions students have with peers through group discussions, along with the immediate feedback from instructors on assignments and practice work allows for a deeper understanding of the material and an increase in student engagement by up to 80%.

Should it be used for everything?

While there is a booming trend towards the flipped classroom method of teaching, no one method meets the needs of every educator, or their students. The preparation required for an effective flipped class session can be time-consuming on the part of the instructor and difficult to integrate into student life. Some students may have difficulty adjusting to an increase in out-of-class work, which demands that more emphasis be put on improving the time-management skills of students.

In order to make the transition process a positive one it is important to get students actively involved, and support any hiccups that may arise while students adapt to learning outside the   classroom. Students should be given clear learning objectives for each lesson plan, and have a thorough understanding of the level of knowledge they are expected to achieve before participating in in-class activities. Creating an incentivized classroom environment can help encourage students to complete the work required outside the classroom. Short quizzes and assignments can encourage (and monitor) students’ progress as they work through each lesson at an individualized learning pace.

 

Want to know more? Check out this AWESOME flipped classroom infographic!

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What is your experience with flipped classrooms? Share with us!

Meet our EdTech specialist Stacy Pollack!

EdTech Trends in Today’s Digital Classroom

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While summer fades away, the EdTech industry continues to grow and gain momentum. Gone are the days of paper textbooks, multi-hour lectures, and traditional teacher-learner interaction. Education has entered the digital ecosystem, and the integration of EdTech tools and methodologies in the data-driven classroom are causing a radical shift in the way students learn. You’ll be awed by the reported results.  

 

“The future our students will inherit is one that will be mediated and stitched together by the mobile web, and I think that ethically, we are called on as teachers to teach them how to use these technologies effectively.”

~David Parry

 

Here are the EdTech trends taking classrooms by storm this year:

Flipped Classrooms

In a flipped classroom, students are assigned video-based lesson plans created by instructors to study at home, while assignments, labs, and tests are completed in class. Flipped-classroom pioneers Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann explain that by having students watch lecture lessons at home, class time is spared for deeper interactions between teachers and students. Teachers can spend time working out misunderstandings and acting as a “guide on the side,” while students complete their assignments.

So why is it important? “…because it is forcing teachers to reflect on their practice and rethink how they reach their kids. It is inspiring teachers to change the way they’ve always done things,” says Mary Beth, tech teacher at Edutopia.

Big Data

It has been buzzing for some time that, “data is changing the way people think”, and education is no late-comer to the big data party. The use of data analytics in the classroom is changing how teachers and learners work, and communicate. With the data-driven classroom teachers are digitally collecting and analyzing students’ work more efficiently, and using that data to track group patterns and differences in the learners’ behaviors. This kind of feedback helps further personalize courses for students while creating a deeper understanding of the learning process.

Gamified Learning

The trend towards the gamification of processes has been creeping its way into almost every industry, and EdTech is no exception. Applying gaming techniques and mechanisms to lesson plans creates a more engaging and motivating learning experience, which has proven to help students better retain and recall information.

Mobile learning

Mobile devices are no longer a teacher’s demise but allowing teachers and learners to engage beyond the traditional classroom. Smartphones, e-readers, and tablets are increasing the flexibility and quality of in-class interaction, and as David Parry, Professor of emerging media explains, “The future our students will inherit is one that will be mediated and stitched together by the mobile web, and I think that ethically, we are called on as teachers to teach them how to use these technologies effectively.”  

Personalized learning

The driving benefit of introducing technology in the classroom, with flipped classrooms, mobile learning, and classroom analytics is for teachers to be able to deepen their understanding of how students learn. The availability of data and classroom technologies have created a learning ecosystem where teachers can provide instant feedback and adjust the pace of instruction to create a more individualized experience.

The EdTech movement is a making waves, and the adoption of digital classrooms is sweeping North America and beyond. Technology will be taking many forms in the classroom this year, and teachers and learners will have to unite to ride the EdTech wave together, and to reap the benefits of data and connectivity. It’s only the beginning! Have a great school year!

 

How are you utilizing EdTech in the classroom? Share with us!

Erudite Science gets awarded $600,000 to develop assessment-driven learning tools


Montreal, Canada August 12, 2015
– Erudite Science has been awarded $600,000 in second-round funding by the Canadian Media Fund (CMF) to continue developing Sphinx, an assessment-driven learning tool that empowers students through affordable and personalized practice, and helps teachers get the most out of their curriculum. 

logo-WEBHD (1)Sphinx is an interactive homework and exam practice software for mathematics that enables teachers to create customized formative examinations and homework for K-12, with the option to author their own content or choose from a database of educator-approved content.

“Mathematics is one of the most challenging topics for K-12 students because each new piece of knowledge builds upon previous concepts. Digital technologies bring students closer to their educational potential, and enable educators to make their existing curricula more effective,” says Patrick Poirier, founder and president of Erudite Science.

“Digital technologies bring students closer to their educational potential, and enable educators to make their existing curricula more effective.”

Sphinx breaks down the barriers to understanding difficult math concepts by supplying real-time guided feedback, relieving the need for further teacher assistance or private tutoring outside the classroom.

About Erudite Science

Erudite Science offers digital education products that redefine how educational technology engages K-12 students and teachers with assessment-driven learning tools for students and teachers. Their vision is to make personalized tutoring available to all students, wherever and whenever they need it, by bridging the gap between students, educators, and the classroom.   

In addition to $394,756 in developmental funding awarded in the 2014-2015 Experimental stream competition, the CMF has awarded Erudite Science $600,000 to commercialize their educational technology toolbox.

A beta version of the Sphinx assessment-driven learning software is on schedule to be released early 2016, while the intelligent mathematics tutoring system is progressing into the second-stage of development. To supplement the CMF’s contribution Erudite Science is in the process of securing additional funding from private investors in Canada, the United States and France.

Visit the Erudite Science website, www.eruditescience.com

Sign up today for development insights and exclusive beta access!

About CMF

The Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF fosters industry innovation, rewards success, enables a diversity of voice, and promotes access to content through public and private sector partnerships.

Read more about all the funded projects from the first round of the 2015-2016 Experimental Stream.

For more information on the CMF visit their website, www.cmf-fmc.ca

A robot has just passed a classic self-awareness test for the first time

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Original article by: AFIONA MACDONALD
17 JUL 2015

 

A researcher at Ransselaer Polytechnic Institute in the US has given three Nao robots an updated version of the classic ‘wise men puzzle‘ self-awareness test… and one of them has managed to pass.

In the classic test, a hypothetical King calls forward the three wisest men in the country and puts either a white or a blue hat on their heads. They can all see each other’s hats, but not their own, and they’re not allowed to talk to each other. The King promises that at least one of them is wearing a blue hat, and that the contest is fair, meaning that none of them have access to any information that the others don’t. Whoever is smart enough to work out which colour hat they’re wearing using that limited information will become the King’s new advisor. Continue reading