Good morning! I am a first grade teacher, formerly PK teacher. I just finished my masters in May (yea!) with a degree in Mind, Brain and Education – a subfield of education. The first program was started at Harvard by Howard Gardner and Kurt Fisher (if you haven’t read any of Kurt Fisher’s work on Skill Theory and you are interested in the cognitive processes involved in learning, you must read his work!)
Cut to the chase. When I moved up from PK to 1st I was shocked by my students’ lack of number sense. I spent an entire year and all last summer trying to figure out what was missing. In Nov I attended a workshop that on number sense. When I heard the presentation I recognized all the “big” names of the research I had been investigating. The workshop was a training session for an iPad app (Native Numbers). It seemed like a valid, robust app, but I am a skeptic and had to know: would this really work.
I am here to tell you that with the first skill set I saw every cognitive model of learning embedded in this app. I also realized that this app is more than a learning tool; it has built in formative and summative assessment as it is adaptive and levels up and down based on student performance and leads to mastery.
Now I am on a “mission” – everything we read tells us our students are lacking number sense. I believe this app is a fabulous tool to remediate those deficits. I have no vested interest in this app except that I am one of those people that has to solve problems and when I think I have found possible answers, I have to share that with others. Our kids are too important not to share---which is why I love reading blogs! I am asking for teachers to simply read the research and then try out the app and give me feedback---or give the feedback yourself to the developers. I am that convinced. I am not a salesman and I feel quite strange in this new role I have taken upon myself…but I have nothing to lose, or gain, except knowing that maybe we can have an enormous impact on our students!
If you have any questions, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org Check out the app at www.nativebrain.com – you can find the background of the developers and read about the research behind the app. You can also watch a video on that site or go to these YouTube links:
I know this was long, so thanks for reading. Please let me know if you have questions!!!
Rene Grimes, M.Ed.
June 8, 2013