Best Maths Apps for Kids – A Five-Point Checklist
Are you searching for a maths app to complement your primary school classroom teaching or homeschooling materials? Then, this article is for you. Traditional textbooks and paper-based materials are still useful in teaching mathematics, but they often lack the interactivity and instant feedback today’s children are so used to from their digital experience. Teachers and parents are increasingly adding foundational maths apps to their teaching toolkit. However, finding the right app is not straightforward. There are vast amounts of online resources on maths including interactive learning apps. It’s often overwhelming to sift through them, and select the best maths apps that not only complement students’ curriculum at school but also help them grow as independent learners and problem solvers. With that in mind, we’ve put together a five-point checklist that you can use to narrow down your list.
1. Does it offer a broad and balanced curriculum?
Children with strong number sense interpret numbers flexibly and fluently in their relevant contexts. Best maths apps focus on conceptual understanding as opposed to formulaic thinking, because maths is about more than crunching numbers and solving equations. It’s problem-solving. It’s investigative. It’s about exploration. A broad and balanced curriculum needs to cover all four content areas considered essential in today’s mathematics education:
High performing countries are constantly reinventing their curriculums to focus on 21st century skills. It’s important that maths apps incorporate modern thinking on learning mathematics. Learn more on this from our curriculum design research:
2. Does it promote microlearning?
Microlearning is the approach of breaking down learning materials into bite-size lessons that can be more easily absorbed and retained. When incorporated in a modern digital app, it allows learners to get instant feedback, provides instructional help while progressing to more challenging topics and facilitates transfer of knowledge from short-term to long-term memory for better knowledge retention. Modern microlearning apps deploy cognitive strategies such as instructional scaffolding and retrieval practice. Lessons are designed to provide instructional help or scaffolding at the beginning and then it is gradually removed as students progress to more challenging topics. This creates desirable levels of difficulties in learning. In addition, guided review tools provide the ability to practise retrieving information from memory, strengthening long-term knowledge retention.
3. Does it have a feedback engine?
We learn faster and more efficiently when our answers are validated or corrected in the moment we are focused on the topic. This is particularly important in digital learning environments where the pace of instruction is often faster than in traditional classroom settings. When feedback is provided in real-time in response to a learner’s interaction, it helps them deepen their understanding by confirming that they are on the right track or alerting them to any mistakes they have made. Instant feedback encourages learners to pause, think and proceed with a stronger mental ties to learning materials. Additionally, instant feedback can help to motivate learners by providing them with a sense of accomplishment and progress, which can encourage them to continue engaging with the material.
4. Does it have an interactive, visual design that’s age-appropriate?
While all children are different and have their own unique learning styles, many children are visual learners. That’s why the best maths apps need to include lots of visuals in their learning materials. Using imagery, ahead of notation and symbols, brings context to mathematics, allowing students to connect with the concepts they’re learning. In addition to using lots of visuals, it’s important to have a design approach that is interactive and age-appropriate. In order to make the learning experience more enjoyable and effective for children, user interfaces and user experiences need to be intuitive, engaging and easy to use. Building lessons using age-appropriate interactive problem types – such as drag and drop, matching, bucketing, sorting, multiple choice, checkbox grid, fill in the blanks, etc. – helps students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
5. Does it offer easy-to-follow dashboards and progress trackers?
Dashboards and progress trackers are important in learning apps because they provide a way for students to monitor their progress and see how they are doing. This can be helpful for a number of reasons. It can help to motivate students and keep them engaged in the learning process, as they can see how far they have come and what they still need to learn. It can help students to identify areas where they may be struggling and need additional support or practice. Most importantly, it can help teachers and parents to monitor students' progress and identify any potential issues or concerns. This can be especially helpful for teachers who are using a differentiated instruction approach, in which students are given different levels of support and challenge based on their individual needs and abilities. By using progress trackers and dashboards, teachers can quickly and easily see which students are struggling with a particular concept and need additional support, and which students are ready for more challenging material. This can help teachers to adapt their instruction in real time and provide the right level of support and challenge for each student. If you want to see these five points demonstrated in an app, why not give us a try? The Outnumber app was designed with these core principles in mind.
Outnumber helps develop flexible learners and non-linear thinkers. With Outnumber children can have easy-to-follow learning roadmaps, user-friendly progress trackers and interactive microlessons that provide instant feedback, making learning more engaging.