Guest Blog Post – Improving maths confidence using cognitive behavioural therapy, advanced gaming technology, and screen-time limits…
Listen to Swedish learning psychologist, Martin Hassler Hallstedt, on Making everyone an “I am a Maths person” (7 minutes long):
Early-age maths competence is the strongest predictor for future academic success, yet many children struggle with maths and it impacts their learning and motivation as they progress through school.
The UK currently ranks seventeenth in the world league tables when it comes to maths competence assessed at the age of 15, with China, Singapore and Macau in the top three places. How can mobile access and gaming help?
COVID 19 lockdowns, homeschooling and more consumers having access to devices at a younger age have been a key driver in the growth of technology, apps and platforms used for maths learning in the last year. YouGov data shows that at age six, 85% of children say they have access to a tablet at home, and 40% have their own. And most children in the UK now have their own smartphones before they turn 12. In addition, most UK schools now offer a tech-based maths programme as part of home learning and many parents are trying out various maths apps. However, it is important to equip parents with evidence-based apps that deliver improvement and results.
With National Maths Week just recently, I have 5 tips to support children for maths home learning:
Make maths fun – You can help make maths magical and fun by talking maths with children every day and introducing a game element or challenge with your children. For example, painting by numbers, playing bingo with addition, identifying shapes as you walk or travelling in the car.
Study in short bursts – Practicing maths at home doesn’t need to require a lot of time. You can incorporate it into almost anything you do for example when cooking, let your child count or weigh the ingredients or collect numbers of leaves when on a walk. As primary school children have short attention spans, keep it short – aim for a maximum of 15 minutes per session.
Repeat tasks and practice every day for knowledge retention – Practice makes perfect! Children need to be able to do the task every time so it becomes second nature. As they become fluent and competent, confidence grows too. Repetition is key, so it is better to do maths together for only 5 minutes a week, rather than none.
Think beyond traditional techniques – Think beyond the traditional pure mathematics exercises such as subtraction and multiplication and incorporate a game, which has a storyline, adventure and characters to make it captivating and promote learning outcomes. There are endless amounts of free and fun resources available online with videos, games and ideas on how you can practice maths anywhere you may be.
Reframe your language and attitude to maths – Our language and the words we use affect our children’s attitudes. Talk to your children about how amazing, fun and magical you find maths. If we start talking about maths as something positive, children will embrace it in this way too.
What is the theory behind Game-Embedded Teaching?
Game-embedded Teaching is the combination of science and game design that teaches the student through fun and adventure. Rather than adding gamification to a traditional or existing m
At Akribian we have created Count on me!, an app that children want to engage with that also informs and educates them – at a much higher level than children not exposed to Game-Embedded Teaching. Developed using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) combined with advanced gaming technology, the story-driven game helps children learn and master early maths concepts such as pattern recognition, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and equalities. Children can only play the game for 15 minutes per day as the characters in Numberia go to ‘rest’, so it involves limited screen time with maximum learning outcomes.
In my doctoral dissertation, Closing the Gap, I established that students using the program for just 15 minutes per day, 3-4 days per week during a semester (19 weeks), improved critical math skills by 60 percent compared to students who did not use the program. The gap between academically low-performing students who used the program and higher-performing students who did not use the program also decreased. We want to spread the word about evidence-base application to support learning in maths. For more information, visit www.akribian.com.
What are you finding works for you?
- Hassler Hallstedt, M., Klingberg, K., & Ghaderi, A. (2018) Short and Long-Term Effects of a Mathematics Tablet Intervention for Low Performing Second Graders. Journal of Educational Psychology. See link: https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fedu0000264
- Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2018-2019 The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), see link: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA%202018%20Insights%20and%20Interpretations%20FINAL%20PDF.pdf
- Early academic skills not behaviour, best predict school success, Northwestern Education, see link: https://www.northwestern.edu/about/index.html
Founded in 2017, Akribian has since developed game-embedded teaching – a new category of games based on the combination of gaming adventures and scientifically proven learning psychology. Akribian’s first game, Count on me, helps children aged 6-9 years develop and learn the basic math skills. Count on me! is based on the latest research in learning psychology, CBT and the published doctoral thesis by Martin Hassler Hallstedt, PhD, CEO and co-founder of Akribian. Akribian currently has employees around the world, headquartered in Lund. Together they work to make learning exciting, easy and effective. The company’s long-term goal is to help children succeed in their maths understanding, to ultimately give them the best start in their lives. www.akribian.com
About Martin Hassler Hallstedt
With an extensive background in learning psychology and teaching, Martin founded Akribian in 2017. Martin used his experience gained studying Psychology as a postgraduate at one of the top universities in the world, Uppsala University in Sweden, to develop improved learning methods for children, utilising his knowledge of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. In his doctoral dissertation he was able to prove scientifically the impact of his digital maths prototype, now refined for the new mathematical Count on me!