Technology to Teach Maths 2

With the help of technology, we can deliver world-class education anywhere in the world. We could use it to enable promising students to advance quickly to the same level as their worldwide counterparts. Also, teachers struggling to keep the rest of the class at par are now able to spend the time these other students need to move ahead with them.


“Education is evolving due to the impact of the Internet. We cannot teach our students in the same manner in which we were taught. Change is necessary to engage students not in the curriculum we are responsible for teaching, but in school. Period.” – April Chamberlain

In my third year teaching, I had to teach Algebra to 9th graders who were taking the State exam. It was a pilot programme, and we were to work with students in a “challenging” neighborhood, in a school which had been divided into different schools in one building. Our school was on the third floor, and although separate, was also part of a consortium of five different schools in that building.

We worked together but had different streams for our students. Ours was designed for students with hopes for medical careers. As such, we focused on critical subjects that they needed for those careers. It goes without saying that maths is one of those subjects.

Now unfortunately, a lot of my students had deficient backgrounds in maths and, to compound matters, had the New York State exams in May/June. Our school year began in September. I had approximately seven to eight months to get them prepared for the exams.

I reviewed the curriculum in August, went over the previous exams, and also perused the data we used to track their major shortcomings in various areas in Algebra 1. I began to brainstorm for tools that could be used to encourage their participation and comprehension. My background is in Engineering, and I used a lot of graphing calculators which were programmable when I was in graduate school. I knew that a lot of our children had grown up with technology as fun and not as a chore, hence it was a novelty that they loved and I leveraged on this in my Algebra classes.

I asked my principal to buy us sets of graphing calculators, as well as the overhead units for them. I illustrated the benefits of this to our instruction, with data garnered from other studies of school districts that had utilised it. He was sold on this and invested some of the grant money for our school prograemm into the calculators.

I had an eighty five percent pass rate with my students that year. I taught three out of five of the 9th grade students classes. To say that my principal was pleased with me is an understatement. My colleagues were so proud of our achievements. It was well worth it and it is from that experience that I draw upon for this article.

Maths education for the most part doesn’t add up. The standards are lowering daily and performance isn’t being improved upon. Numerical skills among primary school students is dropping. The significance of this is that as the world becomes more dependent on technology, this maths deficiency will affect future jobs and economies. In Nigeria, the problem is further exarcebated as the content being taught is out of date and there is an enormous number of students who don’t meet basic maths performance standards. More incredibly, technology is driving economic change around the world, hence we need to invest heavily in education and tackle our maths situation.

It is not a quick fix but it shows great promise. In other parts of the world where it has been used for just fifteen minutes a day, over 90 percent of the kids improved their maths scores by 40 percent; that is time even the busiest kids can spend. We need to have parents, educators, and public policymakers ask themselves if they are willing to invest in this cutting edge approach to maths education.


As part of my research, I discovered that Artificial Intelligence technology will vastly enhance the experience of learning maths. No more painful equations that have kept generations from grasping key mathematical concepts alone. Goodbye to the long hours spent in conditions of boredom, seeking to solve easy problems. Due to new innovations, the sjectub adapts to the student’s pace and patterns. It’s the same materials that are however presented in a way that kids can understand. The beauty of AI is that it can individualise learning in flexible ways, in that it can cook for every single kid the exact kind of mathematical dish they need to learn with solid foundations and different flavours for every single one of them. Yet, while ensuring that they are learning concrete maths, and building up the kind of fluency that is needed right now. With this, we can build an enormous growth mindset that would enable them to build their self esteem, and make it possible to enjoy maths with grit.

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I am not stating that technology is designed to be a substitute for teachers or regular instruction. What it should be is a powerful supplement to what kids are learning in the classroom. As budgets get leaner, programmes such as this can ensure students on the extremes of education are still being effectively served by the educational system. Also, that the percentage of students having issues with maths would be notably reduced by connecting them to technology that responds to their precise challenges. It becomes the patient teacher, tutor or parent who walks you through that tough equatio, thus allowing teachers more time to spend in progressing through the curriculum. That’s a win-win for all.

Usually, students who quickly grasp maths faster are told too many times to slow down for their peers. Yet,a lot of parents can’t afford expensive tutors for after-school maths programmes. Between their busy schedules and those of their kids, a lot of parents don’t have the time to take their kids to academic centres. Also, the quality of these tutors and programmes varies widely. Those in rural areas are often at a disadvantage. Artificial intelligence overcomes both of these challenges.

With the help of technology, we can deliver world-class education anywhere in the world. We could use it to enable promising students to advance quickly to the same level as their worldwide counterparts. Also, teachers struggling to keep the rest of the class at par are now able to spend the time these other students need to move ahead with them.

This is the RADICAL potential of artificial intelligence applied to teaching maths. It breaks down the barriers that have held too many back for long.

It is not a quick fix but it shows great promise. In other parts of the world where it has been used for just fifteen minutes a day, over 90 percent of the kids improved their maths scores by 40 percent; that is time even the busiest kids can spend. We need to have parents, educators, and public policymakers ask themselves if they are willing to invest in this cutting edge approach to maths education.

Teachers win because they have more time to teach. Struggling kids can now keep up with the class. Advanced students can keep up with the world. Parents can ensure their children are future. This will enable us to have a workforce, businesses, and an economy that are ready to compete in a challenging global marketplace.

Adetola Salau, Carismalife4U@gmail.com, an advocate of STEM education, public speaker, author, and social entrepreneur, is passionate about education reform.