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Mathematics Assignments in the Palm of Your Hand

July 22, 2020|By Dana Center Communications

Regular access to computers or a reliable Internet connection outside of school is a real challenge for many low-income students.

Course programs authored by the Charles A. Dana Center and published by Agile Mind, Inc. have been reengineered to be accessible by smartphones, giving students another way to experience interactive assignments.

By enabling smartphone capabilities across middle school and high school mathematics programs, Agile Mind has helped educators in more than 200 districts remove barriers to high quality homework experiences for 250,000 students.

With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Agile Mind was able to roll out smartphone accessibility in fall 2019. Internal studies of the change in student and teacher practice show that in classrooms where 10% or more of students access Agile Mind using smartphones:

  • A dramatically higher percentage of teachers are making online assignments for their students—a 60% increase over the prior year.
  • The percentage of assignments completed by students has also increased significantly—in a significant number of schools, 95% of students (65% more than previously) are now completing assignments.

“As we author curriculum, one of our goals is to make learning opportunities rigorous, engaging, and available broadly beyond the classroom” said Kathi Cook, Dana Center manager of online course programs. “We’re deeply gratified that students now have another way to access assignments that provide challenging yet supportive tasks that advance their learning.”  

Access to Technology for Virtual Learning

This March, as the school year was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, access to virtual tools became even more critical to supporting students.

“With COVID-19 and the unprecedented shift from in-person classrooms to virtual learning, it is vital that we increase the ways students can access learning. By extending equitable access to Agile Mind through smartphone capabilities, we see a positive change in teacher and student practice and meaningful growth in learning opportunities,” said Linda Chaput, founder and CEO of Agile Mind.

As initial data show, supporting smartphone access to coursework results in: 

  • Teachers creating more worthwhile assignments to benefit higher-order learning.
  • More students working on and completing these assignments, even when the assignments are more challenging.
  • More support for teachers through real-time grading and reporting tools that enable rapid evaluation of student engagement and learning progress.

One 8th-grade math teacher in Maryland said, “My students don’t all have laptops or Internet at home, so having Agile Mind available on their phones is great. This has made it much easier for them to work on assignments outside of my classroom.”

Tools for virtual learning have become essential to supporting student access to learning opportunities. Agile Mind is currently working to make even more curriculum content available to students via smartphone over the next school year.

Click here for more info on Dana Center / Agile Mind course programs

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