Product Review of Mathspace
Mathspace is an individualized math program that coaches kids through math problems step by step. It’s accessible via the web or through various tablet apps. A Common Core-aligned math curriculum is available for grades 6 through Algebra; Common Core Geometry and Algebra 2 were in development at the time of this review.
Lessons are available in both text and video form. Students complete problems in a digital workbook with buttons and shortcuts that allow learners to show their work. In addition to the questions included in the lessons, educators can create their own tasks and tag them as “adaptive” (where Mathspace selects subsequent questions of varying difficulty based on student responses) or “custom” (where educators select specific problems for their learners and the adaptive features aren’t in use).
Mathspace simplifies differentiation. On the Teacher Planning Page, educators can quickly separate learners into groups based on their most recent results. Because educators always have a pulse on their learners‘ growth, they can make their math groups fluid throughout the year, adjusting as learners grow or need more help. As learners solve problems in the digital work book, encourage them to use the “scratchwork” tools to annotate their questions and make corrections. When used well, this system can help kids make mid-problem adjustments and encourage them to check their work.
Mathspace takes immediate feedback to the next level. Kids can find out if they got the right answer and they can also see how their work adds up to a right answer, reviewing their step-by-step work (a yellow checkmark flags an accurate step) or just finding out that they’ve gotten a question right overall. Kids can get hints or watch videos if they need help, even in the middle of a problem.
While this may be a little like having your own personal math coach, this system’s ultra-responsive, ultra-supportive features may make it too guided for some learners. Since it’s low-consequence to ask for help or to move slowly, kids could become too dependent on coaching in the middle of a problem. Also, the “hints” are not always response specific, so a student can continue to get the same hint over and over without accessing a hint that effectively addresses the task at hand.
On the teacher side Mathspace is extremely intuitive. A Teacher Planning Page shows class assignments for the month laid out similarly to a Google Calendar. Assignments are easy to add or move around and quickly identifiable with orange for custom and green for adaptive. Teachers can drill into a specific assignment from the calendar and view student results. Schools using Standards Based Grading will find the Mastery Tab very helpful, as it lists identifies which subtopics and skills each kid has mastered. The student Workspace is incredible. Kids can use buttons or write free hand with their mouse to do “scratchwork” and mark up their problems. It makes kids show their work and see their progress as they work through a problem. When asked about Mathspace one 6th grader said, “I love that I can get help without getting timed or having someone peeking over my shoulder.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Students will enjoy the variety of tools that let them mark up their problems and quickly show their work. The problems aren’t that exciting or relevant to learners‘ lives.
Curriculum and Instruction
Students show their work and receive feedback each step of the way, and they move at their own pace.
Mathspace provides high levels of ongoing support using text and video. Most helpful are the opportunities for learners to make mid-problem adjustments.