Alachua County public schools try out new Algebra Nation features
The original Algebra Nation is a self-guided learning platform, similar to Khan Academy. Students can watch instructional videos in which dynamic personable teachers explain concepts and demonstrate solution steps,, try out practice problems, or ask for help with problem-solving strategies in a discussion area staffed by volunteer peer and teacher experts.
The UF Informatics Institute analyzed data from more than 80,000 students and found that in the 2015-2016 school year, students who utilized Algebra Nation received significantly higher scores on the EOC exam than non-users who were matched on factors such as prior achievement, demographics, district characteristics and teacher years of experience.
But their work also indicated that how students use the platform is important. For example, students who spend their time watching videos don’t improve as much as those who balance video viewing with doing practice problems. This spring, students in Alachua County Public Schools are using a version of Algebra Nation that includes some recommendations about using the platform effectively, such as a pop up message suggesting that the student try solving a problem instead of watching another video. The updated system also suggests that the student watch a specific tutor, perhaps one who goes into more depth. Teachers will share their impressions of the new features with the VLL team at the end of the semester.