“Make sure you line up your place values.” This is a phrase I utter over and over in the classroom and write on countless papers. For some kids, it just takes a little practice to remember this step. However for others, practice will not make perfect, it won’t even make “consistent.” That is because so many of our students suffer from Dysgraphia (a learning disability that affects writing), Dyslexia (specific learning disabilities in reading), or some other disability which makes writing difficult for them. But there is an app out there that is finally helping to level the playing field… and it is FREE!
ModMath is a free app on iTunes that is effective because it eliminates the need for students to write out their math equations longhand. In other words, it allows them to circumvent the most difficult part of the process for them, writing the numbers neatly on their paper. ModMath works so well because it allows students to use the touch screen and/or on-screen keypad to set up and solve math problems.
Having worked with children with special needs for years, I know the reaction many people will have – “Well how is that going to help them if they cannot do it on pen and paper?” My answer is always this: What is your learning objective? Is it to get your students to write neatly? Or is it to teach them to solve a math equation correctly? See the thing is, we still need to reinforce the longhand written form of solving the problem for these children, that much is clear. However, it would be a huge disservice to our students if we let them get stuck at this stage simply because their hand-writing and fine-motor skills haven’t developed far enough for them. Think of this app then not as a permanent solution, but as a scaffold to help your students move along learning the math that they are capable of solving, rather than making them frustrated, upset, and stuck at a level much lower than their true potential.
A Simple Overview Of ModMath
- Works as a virtual piece of graph paper that allows the students to set up math problems in a grid format that is easily legible for them. In fact, graph paper was what my student’s were using before I found this app.
- Students can independently solve addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fraction and equation problems, using the touchpad and never having to put a pencil to paper!
- Once completed they can then print out their work pages to turn into their teachers, or they can also e-mail them directly to their teachers.
- The ModMath app is free on the iTunes store, however, it is only available for iPads.
- It has a very simple interface, that requires only a little modeling and practice.
- The setting allow you to display bright text on dark backgrounds, allowing the numbers to be read more easily for students with dyslexia.
Take a quick look at the app being used with a 3rd grade student:
Read more on their website: ModMath