EdTech Review By Nichole Husa of Tek-nis-cient.
The new strain of standardized testing spreading across the country is exposing a collective weakness in Math: The ability to conceptualize. Much of the Edtech universe is designed to strengthen computation and memorization skills, so what is a school to do?
Cost: $25-$29 per student (PreK to 12th grade)
In a Nutshell
ST Math aims to bridge the gap between conceptualization and memorization, using gamification and “leveling up” as the primary motivational strategies. Essentially, a child must get a penguin across various obstacles using spatial-temporal reasoning (that’s where they get the ST in ST Math). You won’t find many words or directions in this system, as that would defeat the purpose. Our kids don’t need directions to figure out Plants vs. Zombies either, so perhaps they are on to something.
We have firsthand knowledge of the impact that ST Math has on students, both in remedial and extension contexts. Engagement is high and the procurement of problem-solving techniques is through the roof. Yet, the jury is still out until the first round of the new breed of state testing has concluded.
What Do Users Think?
Students and teachers alike adore ST Math. That is clear by the high usage we see in schools. Since it is a “canned” program, any level of teacher can manage and navigate the system. This is also the drawback, since the only customization available is the sequencing of concepts. The kids love it and identify with Jiji the penguin almost immediately. However, be prepared for initial frustration. Since there are no words or directions, kids will struggle at first, especially with the insanely long picture password. They must learn to be ok with trial and error. This will take time. However, the stamina for risk-taking they will build is truly the prize inside the ST Math box.
ST Math can complement any tech integration model you currently employ. For the more traditional classroom, consider using ST Math 3 days a week for 30 minutes. This can be done in a lab setting or as part of a class rotation. In a fully blended and personalized model, ST Math can be used daily as part of your Math block. But remember, the teacher is still key. He or she will need to facilitate the usage of this program and leverage the time to pull small groups or work with individuals in a deeper context.
ST Math is worth the price per pupil, at least until the rest of the Edtech universe gets up to speed with the demands of Common Core. And if you are reading this from the K-5 realm, get a quote today: www.mindresearch.org/stmath
Tek-nis-cient works with schools and educators to build capacity around tech integration through its unique Assess-Design-Implement strategy. Tek-nis-cient’s founders, Greg Hurst and Nichole Husa, have extensive experience with school turnarounds and instructional model design.