DoE UMass Dartmouth Grant Targets Math Education
The United States Department of Education has awarded the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth $2 million for a research effort aimed at improving math education. The funds will be used by the university's recently dedicated James J. Kaput Center for Research and Innovation in Mathematics Education to "examine new strategies to excite students about learning math, and increase the number and diversity of students in the math, science, and engineering pipeline," the university reported.
The Kaput Center opened Sept. 14 to focus on K-16 math education, including the exploration of tactile devices as learning aids and the continued development SimCalc, a suite of tools for math education. DoE grant funds will be used to support SimCalc MathWorlds, which offers software simulations and interactive mathematical representations, along with curricula and teacher training. James Kaput, the late professor for whom the center is named, originally developed the program.
"This is a critical time in the education of our students,'' said Kaput Center Director Stephen Hegedus in a prepared statement. "We need to offer a quality education that is research-informed and helps children develop the critical skills and motivation necessary to enter careers in mathematics, science and engineering. This will eventually have an impact on our local and global economy and productivity as well as address issues of social injustice in education today."
According to the university, the grant was awarded following a study of Texas middle school students that indicated that the use of SimCalc "significantly" improved student math performance.
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