Blended Learning

Illinois District Adds Digital Math Curriculum for Middle Schoolers

An Illinois school district intends to adopt a new digital math curriculum for some of its middle school students. Mundelein School District 75 has signed a contract with Discovery Education to use its Math Techbook in grades 6-8.

The $36,000 budget includes a six-year subscription to Techbook, as well as professional development and salaries for teachers for summer curriculum development. Currently, said Dan Swartz, the district's director of teaching and learning, the plan is to roll out the digital math content to about 400 students. He noted that adoption won't include students in algebra 1 or geometry "at this point."

Techbook was chosen after a year-long review of the service by members of the district's department of middle school math and school administrators. The adoption coincides with the launch of a 1-to-1 program that will distribute Chromebooks to the middle schoolers at the beginning of the school year. The program was also chosen, Swartz explained, because it aligns with a new Bridges in Mathematics program from the Math Learning Center put in place for grades K-5.

The goal, he told the district's school board, "is to increase the percentage of eighth graders to complete algebra with a path of taking calculus by the end of high school."

Math Techbook follows an inquiry-based pattern — discover, practice, apply — that incorporates the use of standards-aligned content, interactives, videos, digital tools, games and math tools such as a whiteboard, graphing calculator and matrix solver. Technology-enhanced items and formative assessments are integrated throughout the program, and both teachers and students have access to dashboards that display student progress from the two perspectives.

The district's teachers also have access to the Discovery Educator Network , a community of educators who gather through social channels, virtual conferences and in-person events.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.