It’s back to school time and this month the YALSA App of the Week bloggers are focusing each week on apps that are good for students and teachers. We’ll cover research, science, math, and staying organized. If you have a favorite school related app feel free to post information about it in the comments on our App of the Week posts. And, don’t forget, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) is taking nominations for Best Apps for Teaching and Learning. You can make a nomination on the AASL website.
I don’t like math. Never have. I see a string of numbers and my brain grinds to a halt. I have empathy for teens who feel the same. They might try to laugh it off, like it’s cool not to like math, or maybe they think it isn’t important because they are strong in other subjects. But trying to rationalize a dislike of math won’t help anybody. Math is important and necessary. This is why I chose to share a math app for our Back to School series. Maybe if I’d had an app to play with when I was struggling with math it would have helped me stay focused instead of getting frustrated. According to this article in Education Week, students and teachers alike seem to enjoy apps for math.
In searching for great math apps, there are several. I decided to focus on an app that helps with basic arithmetic, the type of math I struggle with the most, as well as the foundation for other mathematical pursuits. Alge-bingo makes a game out of basic algebraic equations and challenges you to do your arithmetic fast. The set up is simple. Choose your teacher human or robot (this is cute but has very little bearing on the actual game). Then choose the length and difficulty of your game by selecting your bingo goal and what kind of equations you’ll solve. Practice solving for x with addition, subtraction, negative numbers or multiplication. Once your game is set up, it’s time for math, and fast.
Optional relaxed music takes the stress out of speed, even as the timer ticks away. Find the answers on your bingo card, and get… a bug? I’m not sure why. Alge-bingo is focused on practicing arithmetic, it’s not so much about a specific in-game goal. You might assign this in a middle school algebra class as a sponge activity, or share it with students who need to brush up before a test in a more advanced math class.
If you’re looking for more math apps, The Infinite Thinking Machine produced a video reviewing five great math apps from elementary school to high school. It includes Alge-bingo, a graphing calculator app that made Time Magazine’s list of top ten back-to-school iPhone apps , a really interesting geometry app called Appollonius, and more.
For more app reviews, visit the YALSA App of the Week Archive.