Embrace Change, Evolve Education:
Learning Maths in the virtual classroom

Mar 2022

Embrace Change

Embrace Change, Evolve Education: Learning Maths in the virtual classroom

Due to the pandemic, education systems worldwide, especially those in developing countries, have had to move into online learning. Studies have suggested that depriving students of in-person learning during the shutdowns placed them up to six months behind in academic milestones. Learning gaps have also been widened, with students who had already been on the short receiving end due to their socio-economic backgrounds suffering greater.

At least for the K-12 settings, I anticipate that virtual classrooms will not replace physical ones. Virtual learning has limitations in building the basics in younger learners, especially in fundamental subjects like Mathematics. In Mathematics, mastering the concepts involves hands-on experiences with real-life objects and manipulatives, which a virtual environment cannot fully replicate yet. According to a 2015 study by Ekwueme, Ekon, and Ezenwa-Nebife, hands-on approaches offer concrete illustrations of concepts, allowing the learner to see, touch, and manipulate objects, which can improve students’ learning and performance. This is helpful for Maths as a subject that involves more seeing and doing, rather than listening.

Stepping up efforts for learning in this new normal

Unfortunately, there is little that K-12 students can do to boost their learning. It then falls upon us – policymakers, schools, educators, and parents – to make a concerted effort and ensure students are not short-changed. To ensure our learners have equal access to online resources, schools need to ramp up on the professional development of educators.

So far, I would say that utilising technology for learning has primarily been reactive rather than proactive. It is only when teachers are fully aware of the capabilities of digital tools that they can embrace technology more purposefully, building on physical instruction and encouraging different routes for the same destination. I hope educators will become equally empowered to monitor their students’ progress in physical and virtual classrooms.

Inspirations for the latest My Pals are Here! Maths (4th Edition)

With hybrid learning here to stay, it’s vital to cultivate metacognition in our learners, who have had to adjust to learning independently at home.

As such, our team of authors are thrilled to share our latest addition, My Pals are Here! Maths (4th Edition) to offer support for educators and learners in this post-pandemic world. I am extremely excited for this 4th Edition because we introduce new and improved features to support the development of resilient, creative, and critical thinkers.

We begin with section openers in each chapter – thought-provoking problems for students to think critically about their prior knowledge and build on it. We also introduced a “Home Maths” section to enable parents to reinforce their child’s actively learning. The chapter openers and “Home Maths” sections serve as engaging ways to promote reflective analysis in learners, building their confidence in learning and shaping them as critical thinkers.

The ‘Home Maths’ section

Home Maths

Scheme of Work for teachers

Scheme of Work

To increase the effectiveness of the virtual classroom in this new age of learning, digital resources are now crucial in enhancing teaching and learning for both teachers and students. Complementing the printouts of My Pals are Here! Maths, @Marshall Cavendish Education created a suite of digital features, including animated openers and “LEARN videos” for key topics, virtual manipulatives, chapter tests and question banks. Teachers are also given access to digital resources such as the scheme of work, lesson plans, solutions, and more.

‘LEARN video’ that complements the ‘Let’s LEARN’ section

Learn Video

Learn Video 2

My primary motivation behind contributing to the new edition was to inject new ideas in an established and well-liked series, one I have had a longstanding affinity with. I used the 2nd edition when I started teaching in 2010, and the Teaching Planning Guides in the 3rd edition was my first writing project. Additionally, the series is one of few that currently implements the 2021 Singapore Primary Maths Syllabus. I am truly humbled to have been given the opportunity to be at the forefront of the 2021 Syllabus.

To explore the latest edition and retrieve your free copy today, head to this link.

my pals are here

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