Printed from Afterschool Curriculum Choice - Math
Location: http://www.sedl.org/afterschool/guide/math/


Curriculum Details for
Math Media Educational Software


Program
Description
Practitioner Expert
Review
Content Expert
Review
Math Media Educational Software
Publication Date: 1993
Grade Level: K–12
Content Focus: Math
Costs: $399 for 30 computer licenses
The costs shown were accurate at the time of the review. Please check the publisher's web site for current prices.
Developer Contact Information
Math Media Educational Software, Inc.
3641 Pebble Beach
Northbrook, IL, 60062
888-448-6700
www.mathmedia.com

User Comments (add a comment)
There are 0 user comments on file.

Program Description

Design Summary

Math Media is an interactive, computer-based math program that is specifically designed for afterschool.  The curriculum is self-paced, allowing students of all learning levels to learn math skills and be challenged. Students can begin at any level and type of activity that meets their learning needs and goals.  Lessons are fun and interactive, including extras such as puzzles, mazes, Morse code, and concepts of time.  Instructors provide positive encouragement and reinforcement, working as coaches to keep students working and challenging themselves.

The curriculum includes a CD-ROM loaded onto individual computer work stations, a user guide, a progress chart for students to track progress by hand, and printable worksheets that mirror each lesson to be used as class work or homework.

Costs and Staff Training

Each module costs $49 for one computer license and $399 for 30 licenses.  Sets of series can be purchased at various prices; most are $159 for one license and $999 for 30 licenses.  Quantity discounts are available.

Staff Qualifications

While no formal experience in teaching math is necessary, it is helpful.  Staff should be able to navigate the basics of the computer. No training is required.  Content and practitioner expert reviews agree on this, with the content expert suggesting also that students who excel in the math could use Math Media as peer tutors.

Standards Alignment

  • National: None Specified
  • State: Illinois, California, Massachusetts

Research Base

None specified.

Evaluation Details

This curriculum has not been evaluated.

Overall Strengths/Overall Challenges

Strengths
  • Allows students to move at their own pace.
  • Breaks down information into small steps, helps students understand concepts and feel successful.
  • User-friendly for students, easy to find activities.
  • Very versatile, can be used in many different ways: by parents helping students, in the classroom, and as a supplemental program.
  • Appropriate for reinforcing basic definitions, terminology, and fundamental algorithms.
  • Flexibility for the instructor or learner to select the content and related activities, conducive to self-directed learning.
  • Covers a broad range of mathematics topics, for nearly all grade levels.
Challenges
  • Presentation includes few graphics or colors, possibly making it less engaging for students.
  • Depth of mathematical problem-solving skills is limited.
  • Minimal attention is given to context-based learning, including problems that address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students.

Practitioner Expert Review

Practitioner Expert Background

This practitioner has worked for three years as an academic specialist, with students in need of remedial math help at a tutoring center.  She has used Math Media Software for the past two years with students ages 17 to adult, primarily low-income Caucasian students who are struggling with math.  She has used it one-on-one with students, about three days a week, mostly to practice those skills they have already been taught in class.

Logistics

Training
  • Did not attend a training.
Set-up/preparation
  • Takes very little time to prepare, mostly has to point students in the direction of the lessons they need.
  • Used curriculum one-on-one with students, can be used effectively with larger groups as well.

Student Engagement

  • Engages students in learning. 
  • Students choose independently to use the program.
  • Students enjoy the chance to make sense of the concepts and answer questions confidentially.

Content

Adaptability to instructor needs
  • Adaptable; students can work at their own pace, and spend more time on the topics that they find challenging. 
  • Breaks down the topics and problems clearly and concretely and into small steps. 
General skills taught
  • Builds confidence in students.
  • Could be implemented in a way that encourages teamwork and cooperation, such as with a study group.
Addressing diverse student needs
  • Content is age appropriate. Teaches lower-level content in a mature fashion, so older students feel comfortable.
  • Offers different ways of teaching a particular math concept.

Strengths and Challenges

Strengths
  • Allows students to move at their own pace.
  • Breaks down information into small steps, helps students understand concepts and feel successful.
  • User-friendly for students, easy to find activities.
  • Very versatile, can be used in many different ways: by parents helping students, in the classroom, and as a supplemental program.
Challenges
  • Presentation provides few graphics or colors.

Content Expert Review

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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