The boost in the technology sector in the 21st century has definitely ushered in a lot of change, even in the education industry. From smart boards to fun apps, the education has become easier than ever. But the question is how far are the ed-tech based startups helping a child prepare for a lucrative career? How are mathematics based apps making learning the so-called ‘difficult subject’ fun and easy?
Education World spoke to Avneet Makkar, founder of beGalileo and Monica Patel, CEO of First In Math on how their applications are making math easy for the students as well as for the parents.
A ‘technology enthusiast’ in her own words, Avneet Makkar is the founder of beGalileo, a personalised after-school math learning programme. Having worked with the IT industry for over 13 years, Makkar along with her team at beGalileo are working on revolutionising the education industry in India, ‘We have strived to build a company which combines the best of the new and the old world; using technology to add value to the education system while keeping content and teachers at the very core of it.”
On building beGalileo:
“Throughout my career, the biggest challenge was getting the right people in the team. We often found that even students coming from the best colleges across the country lacked critical thinking, reasoning and self-learning skills and inspite of having big teams we were constantly relying on a very small percentage of people to deliver the results.
I realised that to fix it, you need to work with children when they are at school where they spend 15 solid formative years. And when I started exploring learning material for my daughter, I realised that most stuff out there looked the same as probably I had used when I was in school. So, that’s when I thought of launching a product, which focuses on math by building conceptual understanding, application and above all, thinking, reasoning and questioning skills,” says Makkar.
An intelligent product for students to practise and master mathematics concepts easily, the app has used books, videos, games and puzzle cards on the platform, to make the subject fun and interesting for students. The multi-format approach helps keep the students interested and provides a way to handle students with varying learning styles. Designed for K12 education, it is mapped to the CBSE, CISCE, IB and IGCSE curriculum, it covers over 300 concepts in areas including numbers and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, data handling and measurements.
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How the app helps making mathematics learning fun?
Created by a team of experts from IIT, NIT, IIM along with Cambridge-certified educators, students are first assessed comprehensively to best understand his/her existing level of math preparedness. This assessment is done using an Artificial Intelligence based test known as MIDAS . The results of the test are used to track down each child’s individual learning curve and the results are sent to the parent.
“The AI-based system is so intelligent that it can track down if the child’s basic concepts are clear. This assessment helps beGalileo design a personalised lesson plan that is unique to the child. The personalised course curriculum is supported by a host of features like animated video lessons, personalised workbooks and online practice sessions and tests. Personalised learning content and advance teaching methodologies is beGalileo’s USP.
We are trying to break the connotation of fear associated with maths, instead making it more of a play and fun activity for the child. Our modules not only teach math but also help build life skills such as – strategy building, critical thinking and reasoning skills, which would be critical when the child goes to pursue higher studies,” explains Makkar.
Monica Patel – First In Math
“Maths is like sports – which is how First In Math (FIM) approaches learning,” says Monica Patel, CEO of First In Math Pvt. Ltd – a fun math learning application for all children from KG to Grade 8. “All activities in this app are in bite-size chunks, starting at a child’s level. Once a child warms up, then we ratchet up the challenges, going from lower-order skills to higher-order skills.”
Not only for children, the app is also widely used by adults as it engages parents and teachers because the activities are ageless and exciting. Founded in 2014, the First In Math® Online program was scientifically designed by inventor and game designer, Robert Sun.
At First In Math, “we understand how to engage students, to get them to take ownership, to enjoy thinking mathematically— creating a new generation of thinkers, who are fearless in math! Individual progressions boost confidence and alter student attitudes, fostering a growth mindset. This takes the load off our already busy teachers,” said Patel.
Making children career ready:
“In 2017, Education World ISRA keynote speaker Dr. Shuchi Grover inspired Mr. Sun to blend math with a new domain called Computational Thinking. A year later, he launched our latest innovation – CT World (part of First In Math). This is a group of games that build Computational Thinking skills by a four-step process that strengthens the ability to solve complex problems—the #1 skill required by jobs today and in the future.
Recent studies reveal that teaching and testing computational thinking is difficult, as solutions are elusive. The CT World activities are cutting-edge, and offer an assessable and scalable solution to this pain!
The future is about innovation and this requires an environment that encourages investigation. FIM builds persistence and creates an atmosphere where failure becomes an opportunity to explore. Now more than ever before, this growth mindset is most critical for our children because increasingly, people are not able to handle failure. And no one on this planet is immune from failure,” adds Patel.