The challenges of the past school year have urged teachers to implement an array of digital tools. In math class, this has led to a drastic change of standard practices. Some teachers have had to compromise on communication in STEM, reverting to simple click and multiple choice tools.
A recent study at the University of Gothenburg explored the challenges that math teachers encounter when they implement digital math textbooks. Specifically, the study examined how Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) impacted their teaching, and found that teachers face major challenges with common ITSs. The study explains that ITSs and rule based tools fail at representing complex competencies that the 21st century learner needs, such as communication, argumentation and critical thinking.
Furthermore it is highlighted that the systems often rely on assumptions of individual and separate learning paths as opposed to engaging students in a collective classroom. Teachers experience that such tutoring systems are designed to take over, rather than assist and support in classroom teaching. This is often in contrast to what teachers are looking for in a digital tool.
When designing Magma Math we have actively avoided these common pitfalls of other digital tools and specifically focused on:
1. Highlighting the teachers central role in education. A tool should never seek to replace the teacher, but rather to facilitate their job and enable them to focus on teaching. We believe that a thorough understanding of students’ knowledge allows teachers to support learners in a more meaningful way.
2. Enabling an engaging and collective learning experience, while allowing for different knowledge sets in a classroom. Whether remote or in the physical classroom, the group fills an important function in students learning. Digital tools should enhance this experience.
3. Developing a 21st century skill set where communication, collaboration and creativity are emphasized.
In Magma Math, we allow the student to express themselves in math by preserving handwritten solutions in a digital format. Teachers are able to share solutions in class, allowing for a rich dialogue and an environment where students learn from one another. Magma Math preserves the traditional way of teaching math, while placing it in 21st century classroom - one without walls.
Please share your thoughts on how to lift the skills such as communication and collaboration in STEM, and how digital tools can help. We want to know what you think!