The Math Edtech I Let My Own Kids Use

I come to praise edtech (for once) not to bury it.


Math World


In his June 5, 2023, article, “The Math Edtech I Let My Own Kids Use,” Dan Meyer discusses various educational technologies and materials he uses to supplement his children's math education. Meyer, known for his critical stance on educational technology, shares his positive experiences with specific tools that have proven effective and engaging for his elementary-age children. His recommendations span both print and digital resources, emphasizing their practical benefits and user-friendly nature.

Print Materials

  1. Addition By Heart: Created by Dan Finkel, these flashcards utilize spaced repetition to enhance numerical flexibility and fluency. The cards focus on strategies like “making tens” (e.g., turning 6 + 9 into 5 + 10 for easier addition). Meyer appreciates the thoughtful design and the digital version available through Amplify, which he is affiliated with.

  2. Beast Academy: Developed by the Art of Problem Solving team, these comic-style books feature creative math puzzles that engage children while reinforcing fluency. Meyer uses these books to inspire curiosity and problem-solving skills in his kids, often feigning confusion to encourage them to teach him the concepts.

Digital Applications

Meyer highlights a few digital apps that he finds particularly valuable for his children’s math learning, especially during long road trips or flights.

  1. Kahoot! Numbers by Dragonbox: This app employs physical metaphors where children manipulate unit cubes to understand arithmetic operations. It provides responsive feedback and multiple ways to solve problems, which Meyer finds essential for maintaining interest and encouraging learning through errors.

  2. Sumaze: This app involves moving numbered squares through a maze to achieve specific values using operation blocks like +1 or =6. Meyer appreciates its strategic nature and the ability to reset and retry puzzles, fostering resilience and problem-solving skills.

  3. Amplify K-5 Activities: Although he discloses a conflict of interest, Meyer notes his children’s fondness for activities like “Ollie the Octopus,” “Kitten Coaster,” and “Ways to Make 10.” These activities are designed for interactive discussions between adults and children, promoting collaborative learning.

Criteria for Edtech Selection

Meyer outlines several criteria he uses to evaluate educational technology:

  • Creativity: The technology should allow multiple ways to be right in math, encouraging creative problem-solving.
  • Responsive Feedback: Errors should be interesting and part of the learning process, similar to real-world experiences.
  • Useful Metaphors: Physical interactions on tablets should be meaningful and aid in understanding mathematical concepts.
  • Stress-Free Environment: Meyer avoids timed pressure in apps, especially during travel, to ensure a relaxed learning experience.

Additional Insights

Meyer briefly touches on the broader context of AI and edtech, sharing his skepticism about the revolutionary claims often made by their proponents. He references critiques and surveys that question the effectiveness and widespread adoption of AI in education. Meyer also includes a humorous disclaimer about his children receiving a solid math education in public schools and his own involvement in their learning.

In conclusion, Meyer’s article offers a thoughtful and practical guide for educators and parents seeking effective math educational tools. By blending print and digital resources that emphasize creativity, engagement, and responsive feedback, Meyer provides valuable insights into enhancing children's math learning experiences.

Read the full article here.

Original Article


Prepared with the assistance of AI software

OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT (4) [Large language model].

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