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[Product Update] A Sneak Peek at Edmentum’s New Algebra Course

Friday, April 21, 2017 -- Brianna Pyka

Last year, the Edmentum Courseware curriculum team set a pretty exciting and lofty goal to create a flagship algebra product. A couple of elements were the focus of this goal: create a quality offering with a focus on student-friendly engagement; provide improvements for current and future Edmentum Courseware customers; and continue to aggressively innovate one of our most used courses. As you may guess, this process included many steps and cross functional teams. In this post, we’ll give you a peek into our efforts by covering where we started, how we arrived at addressing important improvements, and what you can expect in the new version.

The Edmentum Courseware curriculum team began revamping our algebra product by analyzing the current algebra learning tools available, both within Edmentum’s courses and beyond. In addition, they surveyed over 1,000 math teachers to ensure they received feedback directly from the source. Key features and known opportunities were also discussed between our Product Management and Curriculum teams to tease out common feedback. Then came the next phase—deciding what’s most important in an algebra course.

Here’s what we heard from surveying educators:

  • Standards – address them all and address them well
  • Practice – practice, practice, practice!
  • Spiraled concepts – providing instruction once is not enough, curriculum must solidify the base
  • Spiraled concepts and practice . . .
  • Conceptual understanding – if students don’t have a strong understanding of relevant skills, those skills will fade
  • Real-world relevance – emphasize the relevance of algebra as a whole in daily tasks and career paths

Next, the team began working on the course design. Here’s what we focused on providing:

  • Warm-up question or activity with every lesson
  • Defining the algebraic relationship to represent real-world data
  • Sharing mathematics and STEM in the news in addition to highlighting career applications
  • Practice before every lesson, unit, and semester assessment
  • On-demand practice by lesson, unit, or semester
  • “Interactive math tools for students to explore almost every course concept.”
  • On-demand tool use, but also embedded into activities.

We can’t wait to show you this new course in action! Here are a few sneak peek examples of what kind of activities you can expect in a typical lesson:

Interaction with Graphing Tool:

Provide a linear function in equation form. Have the student graph the function in the graphing tool and click on the intercepts to show the coordinates. Take a screenshot and paste the image within the space provided.

Utilizing the Drawing Tool:

Prompt the student to sketch out the graph of a function that has the following key features:

  1. Exponential function
  2. y-intercept at (0,4)
  3. As x approaches positive infinity, approaches 1
  4. Ask for students’ interpretation of their graph by having them identify key features and make a statement about what we can read into the context about it

Edmentum New Algebra Course Graphing Tool

Putting Knowledge into Practice:

Create a mock advertisement/pamphlet that illustrates how to read graphs “in a flash”. Narration should be from an outsider perspective, observing the people involved. Start with an idea like this (flesh out details like specific business descriptions, names, and street names to read more naturally than the placeholders):

“Look what happened here! Mr. [name 1] approached in a rush on Street A to the corner of A and Avenue Three with his printouts of graphs for a business presentation on [insert detail here], while Ms. [name 2] approached the same corner from Avenue Three with her printouts for her presentation on [insert detail here]. They collided, and their papers went everywhere. And you, Good Samaritan Citizen, want to help them organize their papers quickly so they each make it to their meetings. Don’t you wish you had read and studied How to Read Graphs in a Flash?”

We look forward to sharing even more details with you in the coming months! In the meantime, check out our complete course catalog to learn more about all of Edmentum’s high-quality online curriculum offerings.