Our research project ”Disruptive Learning Through the Integration of Mathematics and Cognitive Training”, together with the support from the European Union through the Horizon 2020 project, is coming to an end.
It has been a long process full of creativity, work with students and professors, digital devices, and a lot of paperwork in order to test our product once more and make sure it is the quality necessary to be one of the best methodologies available online at this time.
Improving the education system with help from technology is something that we strongly believe and support here at Smartick. We know the enormous advantages it brings and the changes that are rising in the world of learning mathematics with the use of devices and gamified methodologies.
This study, together with others that we have conducted in our history, is used to verify that Smartick is a quality product that works. Confidence for everyone who uses Smartick, families and schools alike, who are concerned with their children and students improvement and skills in mathematics.
Smartick and Smartick Brain
For this last study, Smartick wanted to measure the benefits of using cognitive training together with learning mathematics. Thus, we designed a cognitive training platform that presented 12 games specifically designed to train attention, memory, reasoning and other skills such as cognitive flexibility. These games were presented as a continuation of the standard mathematics session in one of the experimental groups. The second group only trained mathematics, without games, and the third group (control) did not have any type of training.
There were three months of training, from September to December 2018, with 447 students at the school, CEU San Pablo in Madrid.
We have drawn the following initial conclusions that we wanted to share with you.
Results of Smartick and Smartick Brain in Schools (2018)
- In the initial study in schools, evidence was found that showed students who did Smartick Brain + Smartick improved more than those that just did Smartick or those in the control group.
- In the second study, we returned to find evidence of the contribution that Smartick has on academic performance in mathematics. In other words, the students that used Smartick improved more than those that did not use the online learning method. Additionally, the more sessions they completed, the more their grades improved in mathematics.
- However, the support of cognitive training had certain nuances in relation to age and gender.
- On one hand, Smartick Brain seemed to primarily affect the younger students (or those that were older but immature). Generally, the changes were more evident in 2nd and 3rd grade when compared to those in 5th grade.
- In the same way, progression was different between boys and girls. Positive effects have been observed regarding the use of Smartick and Smartick Brain in children, although somewhat less in girls. One hypothesis is that the boys felt more drawn to, or showed more interest in, the online games than the girls did.
- For the months that the study was in progress, it was found that each child completed about 3,000 exercises on average, completing an estimated 75 exercises per session. The huge difference is that, when compared to traditional methods, it would be impossible to complete and receive feedback on 75 math exercises in 15 minutes.
- We observed improvements in children with ADHD and/or academic adaptations during training according to what we heard from their teachers. The improvements of some of these students were in response rate and improvement in calculations. In addition, they were able to benefit from boosts in self-esteem, like their peers, and earn rewards – all of this thanks to the adaptability and gamification of Smartick.
- The Virtual World was a motivating incentive with positive rewards for the younger students, which made it an essential element in them wanting to return to practice. The limited time of the sessions, together with the speed and adaptability of the exercises, were very positive variables to increase their performance compared to not using digital devices.
- The children that spent more time playing continued on to progress to a higher level in Smartick (a casually large effect and probably due to the fact that they spent more time in the Virtual World) and appear more motivated.
All of these indicators gave us many clues about where to continue advancing and improving our product to make it more effective and fun for our students, while also improving the level of mathematics within educational and/or family environments.