My Vision For the Future of Math Education
It’s no secret that students often struggle with math. However, most education experts feel the issue is more about motivation and engagement than understanding. While advancements in pedagogy have led to more personalized learning for students, there are still problems we need to solve as educators.
The reluctance of students to become involved in higher math and pursue careers in mathematics is something teachers should strive to overcome. I believe math education will transform in the next ten years to solve the issue of student involvement. The foundation for this change has already been laid, with the introduction of edtech to math classes and education of teachers about how and why children learn. The following is my vision for the evolution of math education in the coming years.
Motivation is Key
The most critical factor for the future of math education is student motivation. Math is often an abstract concept which children have trouble imagining in everyday use. However, the technological advancements of today and tomorrow rely on mathematicians. The trick is to make the connection, between math and its application, for young children.
Hands-on learning projects can help students understand the correlation between math and technology. Teaching coding in the classroom is one-way math teachers are already connecting math to a real-world application for students. Incorporation of LEGO robotics is another innovative way educators have been encouraging children to engage in mathematics.
Neuroscience tells us that we remember and learn better when we care about a subject. So, the key to tapping into students’ mathematical brains is in making the information matter. I believe the future of math education will see a rise in hands-on learning applications and edtech math games in the classroom. However, I think teachers will go one step further to encourage students.
I believe the use of virtual reality lessons will allow students to explore the many exciting careers for which math can prepare them. Students will be motivated through exposure to exciting career paths which seek strong math skills. Teaching that video game designers, fighter pilots and animators need math is a great way to encourage students. However, career day presentations alone are unlikely to heighten student interest in math. That’s where I believe virtual reality exploration will come in handy for math teachers looking to motivate students over the coming years.
Virtual reality is already making its way into classrooms with virtual field trip units and solar system exploration. However, as teachers and schools gain access to this technology I can see it being used to motivate students. Instead of taking your class on a field trip to a game design studio, let them explore the world of game design through a VR experience ending with an intense video game demonstration. What better way is there to inspire hundreds of students a year on a budget?
Embracing Tech Tools
Along with encouraging student participation, math teachers will continue to pursue useful edtech for engaged learning. The current market offers a wide range of games and teaching tools for math students. In the coming years, I think edtech entrepreneurs will continue to develop intuitive systems to aid in mathematics learning. Additionally, as we embark on the next ten years, I expect more educators to embrace the help of technology.
While the prevalence of edtech tools in math classrooms has grown over the last ten years, we still have a ways to go. Some programs have successfully integrated technology into math education, while others are struggling to adapt. However, I think the next ten years will see an upsurge in educators advocating for technology in the math classroom. Since teachers want to see their students succeed, embracing change is inevitable.
As technology advances, it’s necessary that education must advance with it. However, no mathematics program can prepare students without first motivating them to learn and then embracing essential tech tools.
What edtech tools have you found helpful in motivating math students? What do you hope to see in the next ten years of math education? We want to hear from you!