MathemAntics: Software for early mathematics education

Benjamin Friedman and Herbert Ginsburg explain how technology can bridge the gap between everyday mathematics and formal teaching

The current state of early mathematics education is troubling. Many educators believe that mathematics education is “developmentally inappropriate” for young children, and many teachers devote little effort to teaching it. As a result, many children are poorly prepared for learning mathematics in elementary school. The situation is particularly dire for children from low-income backgrounds who enter pre-school and kindergarten with lower average levels of academic achievement than their middle- and upper-income peers. Unfortunately, the gap persists and even widens over time.

What we know
● Well-designed educational software can help bridge children’s everyday mathematics and formal, school-based learning.
● Computers can be used to offer powerful learning opportunities to children in the early grades.
● Data gathered in a variety of ways (including from computers) can inform design changes that make activities more effective and provide insight into children’s learning.

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February 2014