Many math programs might look exciting…but the main question you should ask is, are they effective? Do kids who use the program understand math better than the kids that didn’t use this program? Unfortunately, many education companies don’t have scientific data to back up their claims. Ask them for studies showing the effectiveness of their program. Push back if they can only give you anecdotal evidence and testimonials.
#2: Learning Frameworks
Look into whether the math program used any learning frameworks. Three common frameworks to explore are:
- Bloom’s Taxonomy. Learn more.
- Multiple Intelligences. Learn more.
- Understanding by Design. Learn more.
Any education company worth their salt will be familiar with these three learning frameworks. So ask them which learning frameworks they used and why. When math curriculum is thoughtfully designed, students have a much better chance of truly understanding the content.
#3: Independent Reviews
It seems every week a new education website or app is popping up. These sites are helpful when you’re trying to review a math product (or any other subject).
- Graphite. Created by Common Sense Media, this site provided edtech product reviews. You can filter by subject, grade level, and price.
- EdSurge Index. This database provides a great review of products and services. (Shameless plug here. You can read about our flagship product for K-7 students: Redbird Mathematics here).
#4: Teachers and Homeschool Parents
Teachers and homeschool parents are also an invaluable resource for discussing what works with their students. Reach out and get recommendations. Better yet, get involved in an online community. One of our favorites is weekly #gtchat on Twitter. Learn more.
#5: Student Engagement
When we talk to parents sometimes parents want 100% games that seem more like edutainment. While others want no games at all. We believe there can be a healthy balance. Honestly, if a student isn’t engaged they aren’t going to do the work. So when evaluating math programs, make sure there are multiple modes of instructions and plenty of activities that will motivate your child to learn more. A good math program should create both a love and understanding of mathematics.
GiftedandTalented.com was born out of 25 years of research at Stanford University. They provide adaptive, online K-12 courses in mathematics, language arts, science and computer programming. Their flagship product, Redbird Mathematics, features the latest in adaptive instruction, gamification, and digital project-based learning and won the 2015 Association of American Publishers award for best mathematics resource.