Research has shown that areas in the human brain become specialized for the processing of numerals and that this specialization may be the result of sensorimotor experiences.
‘Sensorimotor’ refers to the way in which we experience numerals, both by visually perceiving them and by physically interacting with the environment through writing in order to perform the specific movement that defines the shape of each numeral. Research suggests that this physical act of writing numerals is an important component in building those specialized areas of the brain that help us to quickly and easily read and recognize numerals.
These findings have important implications for the way in which children learn and practice number. When writing, we create a unique series of strokes with a pen. When typing, the letters are ‘ready-made’ on the keyboard. Through the action of handwriting our brain processes information differently, enabling the development of cognitive skills that keystroke methods cannot replicate.
Technology, including the use of iPads in schools , has hugely benefited education. However, the potential impacts of abandoning handwriting in favour of keyboards have been largely overlooked. If a student’s ability to quickly access cognitive information relating to numerals is impaired, it could have flow-on effects on their ability to learn and master more complex mathematical challenges.
The Quick Math series aims to utilise the advantages of technology for learning, while maintaining the crucial benefits of a paper-and-ink education. As well as solving mathematical questions, students are required to handwrite their answers on screen, thereby gaining the sensorimotor experience of numerals necessary for the development of those areas of the brain which process number.
“It’s important to consider all of the cognitive processes involved in solving mathematical problems”, says Alison, Shiny Things Educational Researcher. “As creators of educational apps, we included the digital ink technology in the Quick Math series rather than restricting users with ‘ready-made’ numbers, ensuring that it provided appropriate math practice for all stages of development.”
Shiny Things’ latest, Quick Math+ is available for both iPad and iPhone. With a focus on mathematical operations, this app introduces four game modes that will test memory, logic, estimation and pattern recognition. With advanced handwriting recognition by MyScript, Quick Math+ allows users to draw their answers directly on screen, making it the slickest way to improve your mental arithmetic skills.
About Shiny Things
Shiny Things is an educational software company based in Sydney, Australia. Quick Math+ follows the success of the company’s original app, Quick Math, with over quarter of a million downloads across 127 countries.
For more information about Shiny Things and to see their full collection, visit www.getshinythings.com