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Technology can help students succeed in math

Mathematics can be an intimidating subject for students, but with the right math teaching strategies, educators can engage students in the subject matter and help them to better understand complicated concepts.

In today's digital world, the use of technology can be a critically important tool in helping students develop 21st century math skills.

"I certainly don't think that the traditional ways of teaching science or math in schools are very productive or engaging for any kids, including high achieving kids," Reed Stevens, a professor of education and social policy at Northwestern University, told Medill Reports.

The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators has made its support of integrating technology into the instruction of mathematics a priority because of its ability to enhance student learning.

According to AMTE, technology has become an essential tool for teaching math in particular due to its ability to show students a variety of ways to approach mathematical ideas and processes. In this way, teachers can deviate from traditional models of instruction that students may find to be less engaging.

All teachers, and math teachers in particular, have been posed the all-too common question from students: Will I even use this in everyday life? With technology, math educators will be able to easily demonstrate to students that yes, in fact, they will use this knowledge.

"Our goal is to teach mathematics so that people see it as useful, and see it as something with which they can solve problems, and technology can help us to do that," Kathleen Heid, a professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania State University, said in a statement.

According to Heid, technology also motivates students to push themselves toward higher achievement in mathematics because they are less likely to become quickly frustrated with difficult concepts.

"Research shows that unless a math problem can be completed within a couple of minutes, students will give up on it," Heid said. "If students have this kind of [power] at their fingertips, they could conceivably do mathematics that is far beyond what they are asked to do at this point."

In that regard, technology could become a particularly handy tool as educators in the 45 states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards work to align their curricula with the heightened academic expectations for K-12 students.

If teachers are able to use technology to engage students in mathematics and encourage them to cultivate 21st century math skills, it will go a long way towards preparing students to succeed in the careers of the future.

Tim Hudson