Monday, November 22, 2010

Conceptua Math

Back in my Favorite Products post from ATIA I mentioned a new website called Conceptua Math.  I was so impressed by this product that I felt it deserved a post of it's own.  Conceptua Math is the creation of Arjan Khalsa, while the name might not be familiar, you probably know his work - Intellitools Classroom Suite.  He put a lot of research into Classroom Suite, really pumping up the math section, and has brought the same drive to Conceptua Math.  Arjan was also the inventor of the Intellitools keyboard, helped launch the Assistive Technology Industry Association, and was the CEO of Intellitools for 20 years.  His continuing support of Assistive Technology includes starting the non-profit AyudaTec,, to provide targeted AT in Latin America.

So, now that you have some background, what is Conceptua Math - a web-based set of materials for teaching fractions.  I'm pretty sure there are quite a few of you looking at your screens rather strangely...why is a teacher of students with significant cognitive disabilities talking about fractions?  I thought the same thing so I talked with Arjan (for quite a while at his booth) and his explanation is quite simple (from the Conceptua Math Website):

Our goal is to build strong conceptual underpinnings in the complex area of fractions in order to provide a basis for comprehension in all of the topics that follow. We know that many students struggle with fractions through high school, and we want to help remedy that situation.

OK, so that makes sense, but again, why fractions...because it's just counting!  Really, when you come right down to it, making fractions is all about counting, and many of our students work on counting their entire life!  Why not also teach them fractions also (which if you've ever tried to cook are extremely frustrating!).

The beauty of this product is what you are able to do with it.  For free you can use 13 whole classroom instructional materials (Free Fraction Materials) - identifying fractions, adding & subtracting fractions, & comparing fractions to just name a few.  For a very reasonable price you can subscribe to the Premium Features like a full scope and sequence, instructional support & formative assessments.  Also included in the Premium features are independent practice activities for students.  The activities include text-to-speech for instructions, Instructional support to help students find the correct answer if they have trouble (not just telling them it's incorrect), and a formative assessment.  After the assessment is given students receive their results, the option to review what they missed and suggestions on how to continue (do another of the same type, practice with support or work on a preskill).  The Premium Features also include data collection.

Conceptua Math is reasonably priced:

For school and school district use: 
  • Classroom Price: $100/year for up to 30 students.
  • School Price: $600/year for up to 200 students.
  • Volume Pricing: Conceptua Fractions costs $3/student per year in smaller quantities, and drops to $1.50/student per year in larger quantities. 

I am very impressed with this product, it is research supported and they have put a lot of thought into it.  While is not entire math curriculum, it is a great supplement to most programs.  Please check it out!


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