Thursday, September 11, 2014

Do the Math...

Often, when we think of students who struggle with handwriting, we are focused on composition. And, indeed, this can be the bulk of the student's obstacle. However, if a student has significant dysgraphia, we will often find it impacts his or her ability to write out their math problems as well.

Over the years, if I was going to make a technological intervention in such a situation, it would include a laptop and accompanying software such as MathPad" from Intellitools. I have really found MathPad to be a great program for the right student. MathPad allows the user to solve arithmetic problems on-screen. The teacher can pre-load problems, which are presented individually. This program is both Mac and PC compatible, and retails for about $99.


More recently, a fellow OT shared with me the iPad app Mod Math by Division of Labor SF. This app is free, simple, and really intuitive to use.

ModMath is a great app for students who struggle with the writing process!

The app removes the need for a keyboard, allowing the user to interact with program using the touch screen.

So free versus a hundred dollars... in some ways the math is easy to do (sorry for the pun).  ModMath is a great app, and will likely be my go-to for many of my students. The cost output is significantly lower than the Intellitools software and a laptop.

However, don't throw out the Intellitools product, there are some really terrific features, which for the right situation will make the proper choice! For one thing there are 300 bonus problems that come with MathPad.  MathPad allows the teacher or student to enter problems directly into the program or to import problem lists created with a word processor. MathPad automatically sets up problems using the correct vertical format. Students can go to the Problem List box to check their answers. MathPad places a check if the problem is answered correctly, or a dash if it’s incorrect. The program lets you set up a file for each student and keeps a portfolio of his or her work.  MathPad also will read the problem to the student, including their answer.

In an email conversation with their representative, Dawn, I learned that they are planning "to launch a kickstarter campaign to raise money for an update to Modmath that will allow students to use it for algebra". In addition they are also hoping to make a version for droid.

So, two great choices to help students whose writing is getting in the way of their math success. Happy therapy!

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