Bringing Psychology into the Mathematics Classroom (Guest Post: Tom Mitchell)

(by Tom Mitchell, Lecturer in Psychology at Edge Hill University)

It was wonderful to be back in a classroom setting when visiting Caddington Village School, with many keen students eager to show off their maths knowledge to a new face. Having seen some results of the Number.fy app performance, it was refreshing to be shown how it was being applied in practice, with the level of student engagement in using the app fantastic. An important factor in learning is the amount and type of feedback each child receives in their times-table or number bond sessions and this has been well considered; a clear use of colour to denote correct and incorrect responses, a comparison between actual and correct response for each question, and a total time taken. All this information enables students to track their own progress with mental maths... I was even challenged to complete my own twenty random questions!

My interest in the app developed from the media coverage on the BBC and various other news outlets, and as a Psychologist who researches cognitive development in numerical processing I was intrigued by the type of data that was being shown: a clear increase in the amount of information these students were processing, and a clear difference in what they were expected to achieve at that level, and where students were demonstrating success. I was enthused on reading the first published academic article relating to this project, and so picked up the phone to chat to Mike about where he saw the project progressing and what he wanted from the App. Therefore I am thrilled to be on board with this project as an independent researcher able to assess the merits of using this type of technology in education.

There are many ideas myself and the Caddington headteacher, Sue Teague (who has a strong drive for meaningful research in her School to inform educational outcomes and pupil progress), are considering, the first of which is to conduct a side-by-side research project with two schools, to look at how the app is developing numerical cognition in early number processes in primary year 2. A second strand to the project will be to look at the longitudinal outcomes of using this technology in the classroom and see whether this impacts positively upon KS1 and KS2 assessments, which will be monitored over a number of academic years. This project work will be presented at a British Academy Workshop at the end of September, with my next post reflecting on feedback received there to inform the development of this research.

I look forward to being part of this journey, but will need to improve my scores next time (19/20...1m34s).

(Editor: must try harder!!!!)