During the COVID-19 disruption to education, the use of edtech tools surged. In fact, according, recent research, downloads of education apps in the U.S. increased by 130 percent.
Within this surge, math saw the biggest jump in edtech tool usage. Math has historically been board-based in the classroom and paper-based at home. And while students had used digital tools like math games and at-home practice apps, these were strictly supplemental. Over this last year, however, as a result of COVID-19, teachers and students have had to adapt to using digital math-related tools, some for the first time.
Since March of 2020, the usage of Texthelp’s own STEM application, EquatIO, has risen by more than 150 percent.
We recently spoke with Texthelp’s Chief Technology Officer, Ryan Graham, on the current state of edtech tools in math and the future of math education. As popularity and usage of digital tools rises, Graham shares his thoughts on what makes a good digital math tool.
Q1: Although we’re seeing high usage of edtech tools in math now, why do you think the adoption was slower pre-pandemic?
A: I think there are several reasons for why adoption was slower pre-pandemic. Teachers are stretched for time, and moving from paper-based exercises to digital ones has historically been a time-consuming process. Also, many tools that educators have used in the past have been complex and designed for higher-level mathematics. When the pandemic hit, teachers discovered the modern, digital tools that are now available, such as EquatIO, and how easy it actually can be to switch to digital math instruction. Teachers were also able to see how much students benefited from having digital versions of math available.