The studies of Science and Mathematics occupy two of the three problem areas in education for children and adults. The third is reading comprehension. Science and Math are different animals, however, because Math is dealing with numbers, rather than letters and Science combines math with reading comprehension to show mathematical sequences of reactions inherent in different modes of scientific inquiry, such as Chemistry and Physics.
So how would assistive technology provide an extra leg up that is not available in traditional classroom learning? There is only so much you can do with a lecture and a chalkboard. This is where modern technology has an edge over the classroom. With most of the educational applications available in this day and age, the moving computer graphics and verbal direction provided by the application would provide an incredible leg up to students needing extra help in either Math or Science or both.
Algebra and Geometry are two of the mathematical principles that young students find hardest to master, with hundreds of formulae to memorize and solve, with requirements to show the work inherent at every step. Educational applications incorporate mathematical formulae and show problem solving step by step on a repetitious basis while explaining to the student the core rules for solving the equation. Units where this would be extremely helpful would be Multi plying binomials, quadratic equations, and graphing.
For scientific applications such as Chemistry, students are often hard pressed to memorize the Periodic Table of Elements, in addition to the Elements themselves and how and in what combination they are combined with other elements to form still other compounds. An audio visual display of examples of combinations of different elements and a small representation of the Table of Elements itself would aid students in finding ways to learn the material faster, and be able to retain the information for test time.
For Physics, where there are different formulas for motion, speed, heat, volume and other measurable ratios, a visualization of the formula playing out on screen can mean the difference between learning the material and the formula and retaining it for the test. Examples of test questions with verbal explanations for how the formula may be solved in each case with a visual of the application solving each sample equation is infinitely more effective at helping students master difficult math and science equations.
With Science, assistive technology could show visual representations of scientific concepts such as the difference between diverging and converging tectonic plates beneath the earth’s surface. Visual aids go a long way in giving a picture of the concept in the student’s mind, which is very important for not only retaining the information learned but understanding it as well, which is needed to move on to the next module.
Chemistry and Physics are only two disciplines of science in which students learn principles and concepts of the discipline in a linear fashion, first this, then this. To be able to visualize each concept can make a big difference between success and failure where the classes move so quickly from point to point through the school year, there is often little extra time to devote to intense study on only one point before moving to the next.
Earth Science is another scientific discipline in which visualization can be a key element in learning. Earth Science includes modules for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, geological erosion, the scientific process by which plants process carbon dioxide, amongst other units. Students will benefit from and will enjoy learning about each key point in the process and will be enthralled while watching each step in a volcanic eruption or an earthquake.
With Assistive Technology, learning becomes less stressful and more enjoyable for students of all ages.