The overall research goal of this Phase I effort comprises developing and evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of a prototype of a new software product called ASK (?Assessing STEM Knowledge?). ASK is being developed as a teaching tool for use on mobile tablet devices by teachers and students of high school algebra in rapidly emerging one-to-one (1:1) e-learning environments. In e-learning, 1:1 refers to both teachers and students using networked tablets in either a traditional classroom where they are co-located or in a virtual classroom where they are not (distance learning). A specific problem in teacher-student collaboration and teachers? assessments of students? learning progress is inherent in the use of tablet computers in 1:1 e- learning. No current interventions for use on tablets provide a shared workspace for handwritten math notation. ASK solves this problem and optimizes the significant investment in tablet computers that is being made by educators for use in 1:1 e-learning environments. ASK is a game changer. It solves the collaboration problem with first-of-a-kind collaboration functionalities which transform the touch sensitive screens of the participants? tablets into a common intelligent workspace upon which they can interactively collaborate using math notation and assess their students? progress as if they were standing next to each other writing on a whiteboard. Previous studies by experts in education indicate that increased use of collaborative problem solving and frequent student assessments in math improve student performance. Fluidity?s goal is to build an application using recently patented and patent pending novel features designed specifically to broaden the use of their award winning product, FluidMath, which is currently being used in traditional classrooms. FluidMath was originally designed for use in traditional classrooms and does not provide a common intelligent work page upon which separated participants can collaborate as if they were standing next to each other writing on a whiteboard. Fluidity?s recently patented and patent pending technology transforms the GUIs of networked tablets into a common work page on which teachers can use handwritten math notation to collaborate with their students and to assess their students? grasp of STEM principles, in real-time, as they conduct their online classes. Fluidity?s R&D methods will include working with online teachers to test the feasibility and effectiveness of ASK for use by practicing teachers and their students in actual online environments. ASK is easily integrated into 1:1 environments and has the potential for widespread use in transforming and significantly improving the way math and other STEM subjects are taught via e-learning.
The research conducted in this project will help to develop effective technologies for STEM learning and will provide a foundation for improving the learning process ultimately benefiting not only those who have an aptitude for math but also for those who struggle to understand its basic principles.