UNITED WE SOLVE FOR X: The tag team of Study Edge and the University of Florida's Lastinger Center for Learning has created Algebra Nation, a free online platform where teachers, students and parents can peruse videos, study guides, and prep exercises related to Algebra I. Students can login through Facebook--or iOS and Android apps--to access over 200 video lessons and exercises, many created by Floridian teachers. They can also post questions on a digital wall where their peers, teachers, and Study Edge's full-time staff can answer the queries, all around the clock.
Using Facebook in schools, of course, is a tricky endeavor, so teachers can also access all of the videos and exercises on the Algebra Nation website for use in class.
Funded by UF, the platform was initially designed to help Florida students pass the state's Algebra I End-of-Course exam, a pre-requisite for high school graduation. (Last year over 40 percent of those who took the exam failed it--which means they have take it again the following years until they pass.)
But wait, you ask: Isn't Florida one of the 46 states committed to adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? Yep, that's right but formal adoption doesn't kick in until 2015. In the meantime, the state will use the Next Generation Sunshine State Standards (NGSSS) for 2013. Next year, the state will adopt hybrid CCSS/NGSSS standards before going full CCSS.
So while Algebra Nation is currently designed to meet the Sunshine State standards, Study Edge founder and president Ethan Fieldman invites others to check it out. Word has gotten out since its soft launch to ten schools less than two weeks ago, as teachers from over 20 states have requested access to the Nation. Fieldman assures us that the platform's content will evolve to keep up-to-date with changes in Florida's math standards. "The majority of our videos are already Common Core-aligned," Fieldman adds.
And here's a handy little cheat that Fieldman shared. Anyone can sign up and select "Other high school" to check out all of the materials. The only thing you won't get are reports for individual student and class usage that teachers at recognized schools have access to. Given all the attention he's getting though, we imagine that may change soon.