A few years ago, when Allovus Director Hayley Nichols was volunteering in her son’s third grade classroom, she noticed almost all of the children were laboring with basic math skills. She stood amazed as she watched the students counting on their fingers instead of quickly calculating numbers in their heads; they were also struggling to get numbers down on paper.
A bit surprised by this discovery, she casually mentioned the inefficient way she saw kids were doing math to a fellow Allovus Program Manager, Kim Rush. Turns out Kim’s husband, David Jeschke, was working with the Seattle School district on the same problem and he had created a simple solution. Using the many skills he had honed as a developer at Microsoft, Jeschke had produced and coded an online math program to teach grade schoolers how to solve math equations in a more efficient way.
Armed with this knowledge, Nichols immediately asked Jeschke if she could test the program in her son’s class. Within several months, the students using Jeschke’s XtraMath program knew their math facts better than the other children at school. Of course, very soon after, all the teachers in her son’s school wanted to use the XtraMath program in their classrooms as well.
To make the XtraMath program a little more user-friendly some design assistance was needed for the user interface. Nichols certainly knew where to find some design resources and she offered to re-design the look and feel of the program as a donation from Allovus. Jeschke agreed and XtraMath got a complete makeover from two Allovus designers. The final result was a clean, attractive interface the children liked and found easy to use.
Flash forward to today, many school districts in the Seattle area are using XtraMath and many children are benefiting from the experience and earning higher math scores, too. Even Sylvan, a company that provides tutoring, recommends XtraMath to their students.
In this case the answer is clear: Two Moms + one developer × two designers = Better learning.
Try out XtraMath: https://www.xtramath.org/
I have used Xtra Math over this years in teaching both 2nd grade and 5th grade. It is a wonderful tool that all students enjoy and engage in to motivate self learning at school as well as at home. Students enjoy making gains and reporting to each other the amount of gains made as compared to other students. Educators have many issues on competition, however, at times, it can be a good thing and help in the motivation of learning.