Two Must-See Math Sites That Take Online Learning to Another Level
With summer fast approaching, lots of homeschoolers, parents, afterschoolers, and teachers are looking for fun, unique, and creative ways to academically engage their children over the long break. Mathematics can be a particularly difficult subject to maintain during a summer break.
After receiving feedback from almost 40 education professionals, two responses stood out among the rest as extremely innovative and valuable digital resources. The thoroughness, depth, detail, and value of these two responses prompted the creation of this exclusive feature article.
Po-Shen Loh, a self-proclaimed a math enthusiast and evangelist, is the national coach of the USA International Mathematical Olympiad team. If that weren't qualification enough, he is also a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University and a recipient of the National Science Foundation CAREER award.
He is the founder of Expii, a crowd-sourced interactive learning site that we're kicking ourselves for only just now hearing about.
While my entire career has revolved around mathematics, I have a fundamental belief that we can all actually be great at math, and so I wanted to find a way to get more young students engaged in math. This led me to founding Expii.
— Po-Shen Loh
Po-Shen Loh was gracious enough to explain the goals and challenges of creating Expii with us in even more detail. Here's what he said:
Expii Solve - Making Math Interesting
The first challenge was creating a way to make math appear interesting to young students, and to help them realize math is not just memorizing long formulas, but that math is actually in everything! So we created Expii Solve, a free weekly set of five fun, thought provoking, interactive and challenging math puzzles shown through current events and pop culture designed to relate to your life.
These problems vary in difficulty beginning with the most accessible to the almost impossible. We want young students to have fun with these sets, challenge themselves. There are over 65 sets of these puzzles available here: https://www.expii.com/solve
Develop Math Proficiency for Free
The next challenge was creating a way to further develop a student’s math proficiency, free of cost.
So we created a free virtual tutor powered by artificial intelligence, that is available on every phone, tablet, and computer.
Using a patent-pending rating system, Expii matches learners with problems that are at the precise level, and presents those lessons in ways that are tailored specifically for each learner.
With the robust offering of topics, explanations, and teaching styles, Expii automates and instantly delivers the adaptive learning experience of a personal tutor, to a global population, for free.
For students looking to stay engaged over the course of the summer, our modules for Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 are well populated with content, with over 6,000 problems in total.
MIT BLOSSOMS, which stands for Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies, is a program that provides freely available, highly-interactive video lessons aimed at teaching students how math and science pertain to everyday life (while also encouraging critical thinking skills).
There are more than 200 online learning videos on various STEM topics that parents can tap to help engage students in STEM over the summer.
Challenging and Always Interesting
BLOSSOMS videos are also presented in a way that students find both interesting and challenging. They focus on posing intriguing questions with an element of surprise, such as “How do mosquitoes fly in the rain?” or “Will an ice cube melt faster in saltwater or freshwater?” or “Do my friends on Facebook have more friends than I do?” or “Is it possible for all the students in Lake Wobegon to be above average?”
How It Works
The 50-minute lessons are interspersed with breaks, during which parents can guide students through a variety of hands-on activities and projects that challenge students to problem solve. Every video is a complete resource that includes video segments, a teacher's (or parent's) guide, downloadable hand-outs and a list of additional online resources on the topic. This is an excellent opportunity for parents to interact with their children to help them learn and engage in STEM.
The lessons are primarily geared toward high school students. However, a sizable number are appropriate for middle school students. Really anyone can use them.
Videos are available in about a dozen languages, as well as with subtitles and voiceovers. BLOSSOMS are openly available on the MIT website.Last updated on May 17, 2017