Avneet Makkar, a mom from Bengaluru, was finding it difficult to get her daughter to like Maths when she came up with a plan. She went on to create a math-learning app to help kids learn the concepts in a fun and easy way.
Most children dread math formulas, symbols and problems, more so when they are unable to connect these to their day-to-day lives. Apps like the one by Avneet, an IT professional, promote hands-on learning, so that kids don’t just study to fare well at school but really understand the subject in the process.
Express Parenting spoke to Avneet to know about the challenges in teaching kids and their solutions.
How did you come up with the idea?
Being a mother and someone who loves the subject, I faced challenges in getting my daughter interested in Mathematics. While I was exploring teaching material for her, I realised that most things out there still looked the same as when I was in school. Then, I spoke to few of my friends and colleagues who said they also faced the same problem while teaching their kids. So, that’s how I thought of launching an app which focuses on math by building conceptual understanding, application and above all, thinking, reasoning and questioning skills.
As a parent, what challenges did you face in teaching Maths to your daughter?
My observation has been that students find math difficult only when they don’t understand the subject. This often means that we as adults are not able to go down to the level of the child to make them understand. While teaching my daughter, I found that most books available in the market were very procedural and did not explain the “why” behind the concept. Also, there was no focus on some key concepts that build the foundation of math learning like for example, place value. I also found that solving word problems was a challenge and there was no methodical approach to teaching them. The other biggest challenge is that our math curriculum does not focus on logical thinking and reasoning skills, which are life skills and are so essential in building a strong foundation in the subject.
Tell us about your app.
The app beGalileo is a highly personalised math-learning program. Once a child enrolls in a beGalileo program, he/she first goes through an AI-based assessment test called MIDAS. The inbuilt intelligence of the system uses the results of MIDAS to track down each child’s individual learning curve and the results are sent to the parent. The AI-based system can track if basic concepts are clear, and questions are thrown at the child accordingly. Once the child masters a particular concept, only then does the system challenge the higher order, with application-oriented questions. Not only this, but the child’s preferred learning method is also given importance. If a child is a visual learner, videos are shown; if the child likes games, math-based games are given. The platform has everything, from videos, games to books, anything to make maths fun for the child. Parents can enroll the child in a beGalileo programme by locating the nearest beGalileo centre. Students use the beGalileo app at the centre in the presence of a teacher, and parents use the app to track the progress of the child. It’s available for download at the Windows Apps-Microsoft Store.
How is AI aiding children’s education today?
AI can help personalise each child’s learning. AI can help create a better professional environment in which teachers can understand students in a better manner. Every student is different and has a unique capacity for learning. Some students are better at thinking with the “left brain”, which is known for analytical thinking skills, while others are better at thinking with the “right brain”, known for creative, literary and communication skills. An AI-based system can help teachers customise each student’s learning plan based on his/her learning capacity and interests. This is a sharp contrast to a one-size strategy, where teachers produce a one-size-fits-all curriculum for all students. The AI based tools market is getting popular now, and is expected to reach market size of six billion dollars by 2024.
Can you suggest some tips to get kids interested in Maths?
The most significant thing while teaching math is merely to encourage your kid to see numbers all around them. By making it enjoyable, parents can help children associate Maths with fun, pleasure, parental love, and personal care. Instead of being intimidated, children will be excited about the subject throughout their school years. Below are three tips to get children interested in maths.
1. Give real life math situations
Help your kid visualise the implementation of math in everyday situations to fix real-life issues, for example, ask questions like how many tablespoons create a quarter butter cup? Can you sort your toys by colour? If you need to split eight chocolates between you and your sibling, how will you guarantee a fair share?
2. Encourage math games
Playing games is a fun way of developing math skills and making connections in real life. Some of the games that cause interest in math can be introduced to the child at an early age, such as Snake & Ladder, Chess, Rubik’s Cubes, etc.
3. Build something together
Any activity involving measurement involves counting, adding, and multiplying. Whether you’re building a house with matchboxes, shoe boxes or a tree house, it doesn’t matter. In addition to studying the notion of forms, Legos and other construction toys are great instruments to incorporate numbers and spatial thinking into playtime.