Fractions are often the bane of a student's existence. Various strategies have been put to use over the years to address the need for often extensive help with understanding the ideas of equivalence and there is always room for more help. Mobile Learning for mastering fractions is here.
Free Math Help from iTunes
Fraction Factory is a free iTunes educational application for iPod and the iPhone. It was developed to compete at the Virginia Mobile Learning Apps Development Challenge of 2009 for which it won among other applications. The challenge was created to focus on mobile learning for middle school learners to improve their math skills. There is also an additional higher intention of increasing student achievement through innovation. Analysis of student achievement on state standardized tests set forth the criteria for applications entered in the challenge.
How It Works
The game starts as a conveyor belt (number line) moves across the screen for the player to properly place gears (fractions) in the factory. To find out where to place a gear, drag your finger across the screen and view the decimal equivalent and then decide where it should be best placed on the line out of the choices given. Play lasts for 60-seconds with the intent of making the highest rank of CEO. At the end of the game, the user’s average is displayed.
Why the M-Learning Platform Works for Math
Fraction Factory works because it reinforces a student’s prior knowledge and tests their understanding of the concepts of converting numbers. One could argue that there are many ways to drive these same concepts home, but m-learning feeds the need for today’s learner to be able to see what’s lectured in the classroom in motion with speed, graphics, and an engaging format in virtual space.
Additionally, the student can work in a virtual learning environment that takes the pressure out of school performance since there are no pencils and no papers. Learning is self-directed and, most importantly, self-initiated when m-learning is incorporated into instruction, which is the backbone of active learning. When fractions are treated as everyday problems then students are given a purpose for why they have to study them in the first place. With classroom instruction, homework, and other practice opportunities, the Fraction Factory app can improve the student’s performance when studying this particular foundation of math.
Play outside of the classroom is encouraged but there are instances when scores must be reviewed. Have students play the game in class and email screenshots of their game averages to ensure that the scores reported are in fact those of the student.
This application connects students to the job world, the real world, by solving real-life problems using reasoning. Computation of fractions and determining proportions are a part of everyone’s everyday life when it comes to making decisions. Use this game as part of an m-learning model to address common educational standards that expect students to master decimal-to-fraction conversion and the ability to assess proportions.
The images used above are from the iTunes store.