Once upon a time, when I was a math teacher, I knew little about the world of training programs and was extremely skeptical about training potentials of mathematics software. Later, I got engaged in the development of educational software and my attitude to training programs has changed. Although I still firmly believe that no program can replace a good math teacher, I am positive that training programs can help math teachers a lot!
The EMTeachline mathematics software, in particular, provides an effective assistance in the following areas:
- Provides a repository of math problems with answers and solutions
- Allows selecting problems by topics, solution methods and complexity levels
- Assists in preparation of math tests, homeworks, exams and problem solving lesson plans
- Generates numerous similar variants around a constructed examplary test (individual test for each student)
- Assists in the organization of a differentiated approach (crucial in teaching classes of mixed ability students)
- Assists in everything related with the word “learning”: learning formulas, rules, definitions etc
- Provides interactive algorithms for training problem solving skills
- Helps in testing math knowledge and skills
- Checks errors
- Provides a comprehensive analysis of students’ educational work
Now let us go through these points.
Preparation of tests and other materials
Did you never spent half a night in preparation of tests and variants of exams for the whole class? I am almost sure that you did not escape these pleasures, let alone a fascinating search for math examples and numerous problems in preparation for everyday lessons. Furthermore, you have to solve all these examples, haven’t you? With the help of software, this work can be done in a few minutes! All EMTeachline modules provide large collections of math examples from basic to advanced and easy-to-use test authoring options.
To develop a test, you have just to select a number of math topics from the list and a level of test complexity – that’s all. The desired math test is ready literally in a minute! If you do not like some examples, you can replace them at once. For more demanding teachers the software offers a possibility to develop math tests manually, by visual selection of each example. When you save your test, the software itself generates up to 30 similar variants of the developed test. All created math tests with or without the solutions can be printed out. A sample of variant tests and examples of math problems solutions is available online. Free fully functional trial version is also available.
Learning definitions, rules, formulas
These notes are intended for professionals, thus I shall not explain that before all formulas and definitions are learnt, students cannot solve problems. In school programs, time allocated for learning rules is tight. To tell the truth, it is a thousand pity to spend time for such boring work! Who of you never thought: “Jesus, how many times more should I repeat this rule for this kid?!” Do not forget however that, to learn, each child needs to repeat things his own number of times. The question should be asked differently – is it possible to provide each kid with his own math tutor? The tutor which asks questions, gives hints, checks errors – and does not get angry after the hundredth error is made at the same place. The EMTeachline mathematics software is just designed as a such tutor. Don’t take our word – download a trial program EMMentor Light. As professionals, you will immediately see how to use this program to your personal benefit.
Training problem solving skills
Each training technique consists of a set of methodical tasks to be discharged at each solution step. The software provides questions with multiple choice answers and hints (upon user’s request). The number of training techniques in the EMTeachline software is intentionally excessive. The purpose was to make the software as flexible as possible for as many users as possible. Every math teacher has his own set of exercises to practice a particular skill. The choice of exercises depends on a skill level of a particular student. The EMTeachline software provides training techniques for all skill levels. You only need to select exercises and control the performance “by the edge of an eye”. Your attention can be switched to another student.
When a task is accomplished, the software makes an analysis of task performance and produces a record of all errors and used hints. Based on this analysis, the software offers a new exercise to develop missing skills.
Analysis of educational work
The analysis of educational work is a necessary “every minute” component of teaching work. Forms and purposes of this analysis can differ. In the development of the EMTeachline software, we were focussing on typical errors. If you use the EMTeachline software, you can get a list of errors at the end or in the middle of each task performance. Also, you can get a record of common errors, recurring in a number of performed tasks. With this information in hand, you yourself can determine what exercise should be performed to eliminate causes of these errors or, alternatively, you can rely on a recommendation of the software.
Differentiated approach to each student
You understand that this is one of the most difficult forms of lesson, but also the most productive. In classes of mixed abilities students this form of teaching is the only possible one – if you intend to teach the whole class and not just a group of students. The EMTeachline software offers you math examples of 11 complexity levels for each topic, numerous similar examples within one complexity class and learning techniques for all skills levels. To prepare methodical materials for different groups you have to select suitable math examples and suitable learning techniques. Your work is completed at this point. The program will ask questions, give hints, evaluate answers, perform error analysis and provide methodical recommendations. Do not take our word – download free trial program EMMentor Light and satisfy yourself.
Checking math skills
The best check is an exam: a sheet of paper, a pen, and a complete freedom for creativity. Unfortunately, this cannot be done on a computer. The reason is simple: math record has a very complicated structure. We have to restrict ourselves to the test approach. The EMTeachline software offers a collection of ready tests, with answers and complete solutions. This makes checking easier. By the way, did you ever trust your best students to check the test results of the other students? In the case that the course of solution is written in full detail, they do this job marvelously! They even pull out errors that you can overlook. One more aspect: checking somebody else’s work is beneficial for students themselves. They do it for their own advantage!
A few remarks on a dark side of an ideal picture described above:
- You are not familiar with computers. In this case remember that nobody can escape the computer era. Computers will perforate into the educational process in various forms, thus eventually you have to get used to computers anyway.
- You do not like technical innovations; you need only a piece of chalk and the blackboard, that’s all. Still, look at the subject sensibly: if computer can facilitate your work and save your time – why not?
- The bustling period of students’ adaptation to a new technique. This depends on how good you are in observing the discipline at your lessons.
- You and your students have to spend time to master the program. Well, yes. Just try – and maybe advantages will compensate for the efforts applied.