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Afterschool Curriculum Choice: Mathematics Resources
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Curriculum Details for
Math Media Educational Software

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Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
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Content Expert Reviewer

Monica Mitchell
Monica Mitchell, QEM Associate, is a mathematics educator specializing in large-scale systemic reform, professional development, and teacher leadership and curriculum implementation, particularly in high-poverty, urban communities. Currently Co-Principal Investigator of a NSF-Funded Discovery Research K-12 (DR-K12) award, Dr. Mitchell is contributing towards research that determines how and why mathematics teachers adapt standards-based instructional materials and identifies the relationships of those adaptations to student achievement. She served as Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for three years in the Division of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education (ESIE) of the Education and Human Resources Directorate where she supported efforts in K-12 educational research, teacher enhancement, technician education, and information technology. Prior to NSF, Dr. Mitchell was Senior Program Officer for New Visions for Public Schools in New York City where she directed mathematics education initiatives throughout the New York City public school system. She also has taught mathematics at both the high school and college levels.

Content

  • Math Media provides computer-based mathematics textbooks for elementary through post-secondary levels.
  • Electronic textbooks are divided into six subject areas including: Arithmetic, Basic Mathematics, Reading and Thinking, Algebra, Geometry, and Advanced Math.
  • The content is accurate but the presentation lacks engaging graphics or extensive interactivity.
  • Curriculum attends to topical coverage of various mathematics skills.

Skills

Academic Skills
  • Computational and algorithmic proficiency in mathematical topics most common in kindergarten through post-secondary education.
  • Emphasizes mathematical terminology, definitions, and algorithms.
  • Fundamental skills associated with each grade level as well as the cumulative nature of mathematics are sufficiently covered.
  • Use of graphing calculators.
Study Skills
  • Students will need a high level of independence and motivation to organize themselves to take notes in order to use the curriculum effectively.
Non-academic Skills
  • This curriculum does not explicitly address any non-academic skills.

Alignment to Standards

Mathematics topics are consistent with the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards. Some elements of mathematics that foster conceptual understanding, critical thinking, conjecture, and mathematical reasoning are de-emphasized.

Assessment

  • Student assessment relies on whether or not an answer is correct.  If a student provides an incorrect response, the program provides a standard “hint” to help them try and solve a problem again.
  • Little attention is given to assessing the underlying reasoning associated with the student’s incorrect answer.

Structure

  • This curriculum is fairly structured, the presentation of the mathematics and associated prompts are structured.
  • The user has flexibility in how to use the curriculum (for example, selection of units, level of difficulty, solving problems, or reviewing tutorial presentations).
  • A user or instructor can also alter the order of the units, sequence of topics, activity type, and pace.
  • Given this flexibility, the curriculum is both teacher- and student-directed.

Addressing Diverse Student Needs

Adaptability
  • Instructor can choose topics and activities best suited to student needs. For example, a student can take a test, review material, or work on problems, or any combination thereof.
  • Difficulty level can be adjusted to basic or advanced.
Developmental level
  • Content level is appropriate for each subject area and associated grade levels corresponding to each unit, often consistent with material in traditional K-12 mathematical textbooks.
  • For example, the unit on number sense features pictures and activities appropriate for the primary grades.
Learning Styles Addressed
  • Movement/spatial learning: some attention is given to this during a geometry unit. For example, one problem has students find the distance across a lake using similar triangles.
  • Interpersonal learning: Some mathematical problems may reference situations with family or friends.
  • Artistic learning: Some problems ask students to identify shapes and/or visual representations.
Multiculturalism
  • This curriculum presents mathematics within a context-free environment.
  • Some acknowledgement is given to real-word situations or the diverse backgrounds of students.
  • The curriculum does not specifically accommodate English Language Learners.

Strengths and Challenges

Strongest Features
  • Appropriate for reinforcing basic definitions, terminology, and fundamental algorithms.
  • Flexibility for the instructor or learner to select the content and related activities is conducive to self-directed learning.
  • Students can work at their own pace and monitor their own progress.
  • A broad range of mathematics topics, for nearly all grade levels, is covered.
Challenges and Drawbacks
  • Limited use of graphics.
  • Complexity of mathematical problem solving skills is limited.
  • Some attention is given to context-based learning, including problems that address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students.


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