Mobile Learning – In the Beginning, There Was the Abacus

Mobile Learning - In the Beginning, There Was the Abacus

“Math is tough. Math is complicated. Math is boring.”

Fortunately or unfortunately, math is very important. Mathematics is the most trusted subject in nearly all career, and frequently high paying jobs demand somebody who can “do the math”.

According to the 2007 Department of Education statistics, only 31% of eighth-graders scored at or higher “proficient” level on standardized math tests. In some school districts, high-school-algebra failure rates approach 50%.

From the first abacus, the teaching and learning of mathematics have long been difficult. Over the last two decades, educational ‘technologists’ have developed and studied the uses of computers, particularly for mathematics education. The necessity of a handheld device for mathematical uses has been around development within the past many years.

The recent past saw advanced calculators manufactured by a couple of leading makers, like Casio and Texas Instrument, which were designed to provide specific applications for mathematics learning.

Similarly, TI’s handheld mathematical PDAs offered solutions to many challenges such as helping teachers know which students had a downside to which mathematical concept in “real-time”, and enabling students to independently experiment and explore concepts since they are taught.

The option of a ubiquitous technology like m-learning can play a powerful part in teaching and learning of mathematics.

In the article, “Cellphonometry: Can Kids Learn Math From Smartphones?” Mcdougal details how schools are successfully partnering with mobile-phone companies to assist kids to conquer math. The results speak by themselves.

Similarly, an experiment conducted from the National Taiwan Normal University indicated that mobile learning improves students’ capacity to connect the dots between mathematical theories and practical problem solving, along with their attitude towards learning math.

The reason conventional math is recognized as tedious is often that lessons are taught as static numbers on a page. Math itself is an interactive subject, and students must be in a position to visualize and grasp math concepts to know them. Mobile learning enables exactly that.

By including video examples of data collection, animated graphs and packaging math lessons with unique embedded media, mobile learning lets students maximize the interactive nature of technology to effectively communicate what is otherwise a hard at the mercy of learning.

Read more to do with Mobile learning in Mathematics

Sources:

“Mobile phones in Education: the situation of mathematics”, by Michal Yerushalmy & Oshrat Ben-Zaken

“Constructing Mathematic Paths in the Mobile Learning Environment”, National Taiwan Normal University, Lin-Jung Wu, Kao-En Chang, Hsien-Sheng Hsiao, and Yao-Ting Sung