October 16, 2012
Teachers Talk - Mathletics
Joan Matiko, Head Teacher, Peace Hills Adventist School, Wetaskiwin, AB

Help…I want to use technology in my classroom. I classify myself as technologically challenged since I did not even have to take a computer course when I was taking education in college.  I stayed home and raised my two children and when I returned to the classroom ten years ago, I was required to take a technology course.  Fortunately, my two children were quite computer literate and helped me to send in my assignments, and I give them credit for my passing the course.  Many years have come and gone in between and I have tried to integrate technology into the classroom and have even become proficient at attending our on-line principals’ councils and learning much through the use of webinars. This is progress in my growth as a lifelong learner.   
 
This year one of my colleagues shared that “Mathletics” is a program that her students enjoyed using and she found it very useful for her classroom.  It can be used for students aged 5-18. So, for the sake of my students, we embarked on the Mathletics journey.  In the first few weeks, I was hooked as the students began asking me specific curriculum questions that were now relevant to their lives so they could gather points. “How many sides are there in a dodecagon?” The feedback is immediate and if they need hints there is help available even if I am busy with other students, which of course, is very useful in a multi-grade setting. A few of my struggling mathematicians would work harder and faster to be able to complete our daily work so they could go on to their Mathletics.
 
There are two components to the Mathletics. The first is a live Mathletics where they get to choose levels and compete against students in different parts of the world in “real time games of speed and skill” or against the computer itself. This was one of the most popular at the beginning as we would hear  two students across the room counting down to see if they could play against each other or they would be yelling out asking the location of the country of their opponent. The Mathletics website says that “students have correctly answered TWELVE BILLION questions!!”
 
The second component is the curriculum section where they answer questions and gather points.  There is instant feedback and animated teachers to help if they have questions. The points can be used to make purchases such as clothing articles, hair styles, accessories for their “face maker” or their profile. They can also earn certificates as they accumulate points.
 
Things that I enjoy are the Canadian content, the engagement of the students both in the live Mathletics component and the curriculum section, how user friendly it was for me, and the flexibility and choices that the students can make. Many of the students in our K – 3 Classroom enjoy changing their outfits every day.  There are many components which I have not used this year such as worksheets that would review what the students are working on and having weekly reports e-mailed to their parents. This year we were also able to participate in Worlds Math Day, Worlds Spelling Day and Worlds Science Day.
 
Math seems to be such a challenge for many of the students today and this is such a good investment into the students as they review their curriculum all year and challenge themselves with the live Mathletics. They can access the program from home using their user name and password if they wish to do further practice. If you want to do some further investigation, just go to mathletics.ca and sign up for a trial which I hope will help you and your students to be more proficient in their mathematics.