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Teachers College, Columbia University
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About MathemAntics

Background Information:
MathemAntics™ is a sequence of research-based educational computer activities for teaching mathematics to preschool through third grade students. MathemAntics™ is guided by cognitive research and theory on the development and education of mathematical thinking.  The system is designed to supplement mathematics curricula in the classroom and to provide opportunities for mathematics education in the home.  This project is led by principal investigator, Dr. Herbert Ginsburg of Teachers College, Columbia University, and involves collaboration with Educational Network Services (ENS) located in Concord, MA, and the developers of the Stern Blocks, Fred Stern and Temple Ary.  The project is supported by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the Cleveland Dodge Foundation. 

ENS received funding from both NSF and NICHD (in the form of Phase 1 SBIR grants) for development of a prototype of MathemAntics.

MathemAntics™ currently covers the following mathematical concepts.
  • Number recognition
  • Counting
  • Cardinality
  • Subitizing
  • Grouping
  • Addition           
  • Subtraction
  • Estimation
  • Equivalence
  • Number lines
  • Place value/ Base ten system

Research Plan for 2012-2013:
Five achievement studies are being conducted to evaluate effectiveness of MathemAntics software on PreK-3rd grade students’ math understanding and performance, mathematical strategies, and common mistakes. Over 400 students take part in individualized computerized mathematics activities on a computer or iPad with a trained researcher for about 10 to 20 minutes once or twice a week for several months during the school year. These microgenetic studies combined with qualitative methods inspired by clinical interview methodologies investigate how children’s performance and strategies changes over time through the use different tools and representations in the software.

We also employ data mining techniques to design models of student’s strategies and change in their performance based on the back-end data collected through use of the software.

In addition to the student achievement studies, we are conducting research on issues related to integrating educational software in the classroom. The primary goal of the study is to explore how prepared early elementary (kindergarten – third grade) teachers are to effectively integrate educational software into their classrooms. For the purpose of this study, integration is considered to consist of three issues:
 1) implementation (use) of academic software in the classroom;
 2) evaluation of educational quality of academic software for children; and
 3) searching for high-quality educational software
A second goal of the study is to contribute to the literature on challenges early elementary teachers face on the above issues.
Finally, we will create introductory professional development workshops based on the results of the survey. These workshops will then be offered to participants. In the following academic year, we will expand these workshops in an effort to explore methods of effective teacher training on integrating educational software in the classroom.


  • Article in Columbia Spectator features some of our work in Harlem schools

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