Using Adaptive Learning Tools in Math Helps Students Adopt Growth Mindset

Last week, as part of the Every Learner Everywhere (ELE) initiative, Achieving the Dream held the third webinar in a series around how math faculty use adaptive tools at their institutions. Preliminary research and anecdotes from panel participants made clear that courses with adaptive courseware already in place were able to transition more easily to virtual teaching and learning in the pandemic. Using the digital tools had other benefits, both for faculty and for students.

Adaptive Courseware Supports Student Success
Nicholas Schur, professor and chair of the mathematics department at Miami-Dade College, said the adaptive courseware helped to set students up for success from the beginning.

“We used it to make sure that the students had the prerequisite knowledge in order to understand the college algebra material,” Schur said. “So before they can actually do the homework, they had to go ahead and do the adaptive piece which makes sure that they have the skillset to be able to do the actual college algebra material.”

Lanie Culligan, a mathematics professor at Indian River State College, said an initial diagnostic check-in at the beginning of the semester helped students approach the course with a growth mindset, through the visual of a pie chart showing students’ individual scores: “This should not be full … the whole point is to grow and expand our pie.”

Blerta Ereditario, a mathematics professor at Lorain County Community College, said
after she heard from students early on in the pandemic that they were working more and at times they could not attend synchronous courses, she purchased new equipment and started recording sessions students could watch when they had time. She also was able to easily create short “explainer” videos.

“I wish I had known about [adaptive courseware] Kaltura previously — because I utilized discussion boards previous to this pandemic — but I didn’t have a way to create … a very brief like two-minute explanation. And now, I do that all the time,” Ereditario said. “If a student posts a question, especially with statistics, you have to utilize a lot of software to manipulate the data and being able to show them how to go through those steps: it’s amazing.”

About Every Learner Everywhere
ELE is a network of 12 partner organizations, which includes Achieving the Dream, to help colleges and universities navigate the rapidly evolving digital learning landscape. ELE’s mission is to help institutions use new technology to make innovations in teaching and learning, empower instructors, and improve student outcomes, particularly first-generation students, low-income students, and students of color. Since 2019, Achieving the Dream and its ELE network partners have been helping faculty at seven community colleges implement, use, and evaluate adaptive learning tools in the classroom.

Earlier webinars in the series focused on how and why faculty integrated adaptive learning into their courses, its role throughout the pandemic, and how they made adaptive coursework meet the needs of faculty and students. Additionally, ATD released the inaugural ATD Teaching & Learning Toolkit, a free resource that synthesizes research from the field, shares stories from network colleges, and offers practical steps to advance equity and improve student success through effective digital learning solutions.

The fourth and final webinar of the series on Wednesday, Nov. 18, will feature science faculty from 2- and 4-year colleges including Amarillo College, Cuyahoga Community College, and the University of Central Florida, who will discuss how they approached using adaptive learning tools in their courses and the effect adaptive tools have had on student outcomes. Sign up for the free, virtual event here.

 

 

 

 

 

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