Mathematics techniques have recently changed. It is a well-known fact that many students struggle to learn mathematics which has consequences for them later in life. Students who do poorly in mathematics may be less financially successful, possibly because they do not do well enough to be accepted into college and may be limited in what subjects they can take if their math is poor.
Recently, in the United States a new curriculum for teaching math has been developed. This has resulted in much controversy and debate over whether or not this new curriculum is a good idea. Many states and school districts have seen much opposition and heated debate over this new system, with parents complaining that the new way is worse and that they now can’t help their kids with their math homework.
This new initiative is called Common Core and is purported to be a better way to teach math. The idea is to focus on having students think mathematically instead of using rote memorization of massive amounts of content. Common Core Math focuses on less content and rather on key ideas that students need to fundamentally grasp.
The New Techniques
Another way in which Mathematics is changing is in what is known as game-based learning (GBL). Some experts have suggested that mathematical learning has for too long avoided focusing on messy real-world problems and that today many fundamentals are not needed because of technology. There is much debate over this with some people complaining that young people today cannot do simple math because of too much emphasis on this approach.
The use of games and other interactive methods has been implemented in the teaching of math. Some teachers have maintained that digital game-based learning helps girls to learn mathematics and helps to motivate those students who do not like or who struggle with learning mathematics. Game-based learning also has the advantage of helping students who have diverse learning styles and may be able to further extend learning outside of the classroom. For instance, if students have access to the games at home, then they can practice on their own without having to be in the classroom.
While the game-based learning approach can be more enjoyable and fun for students, the question is if the students are really learning the concepts or are just playing a game.
Game Based Learning Benefits
Game-based learning can be useful if used correctly. For example, it is important that the teacher first try the game and ensure that it does align with standards. It also may be advisable to use the game to reinforce what is taught rather than simply relying on the game to teach a concept. The content and structure of the game should also accommodate multiple learning styles. For instance, a game with crosswords, video, images, graphs and word problems will help multiple learners. Parents should also be involved in the teaching method that the teacher uses.
In most cases it is probably a good idea to not rely entirely on one method for teaching, but rather to implement a multitude of new techniques along with traditional approaches.