The Future of Mr. Math

Look into the Future

The full Mr. Math vision is not just an great new way to experience direct instruction from an expert, but an entire suite of resources to help students everywhere be as mathy as they can be. Particularly, one of the goals of Mr. Math is giving students the appropriate chance to practice - both in quantity and at the appropraite level of difficulty.

I would describe the polished, finished product as a well-organized, easy-to-use resource platform that offers students the ability to read online lessons (textbook style), create custom practice worksheets, and view answers in either video or written format. Unlike any large math resource that previously existed, this massive collection of practice will be dynamic and exhaustive. What will make these resources collectively powerful is the organization of math skills that is impossible to find or implement in a traditional year-by-year, teacher-by-teacher education system. I affectionately call this mapping "The DNA of Math" - read on further below for some additional thoughts about why my math mapping is a necessary game-changer.

The fully functional math suite will include:

  • Premium live online lessons
  • Free, incredibly thorough web based lessons
  • Dynamic practice problem generator
  • Practice problem solutions for every single problem, written and video
  • Many other minor yet useful tools such as "ID My Homework", lesson search and topic filtering, and formula sheets
  • A colorful blog about math, life, ridiculousness, and site updates

Covering all mainstream math (both lesson and practice content) from middle school through Calculus is no small feat - so rather than toil away offline, I've found a managable way to open up the magical math doors of MrMath.com and roll out content as it is finished. Here is an ordered list of what's been done and what's still to come, ordered by release priority:

Open doors for online live-online premium lessons
Complete the DNA Mapping
Create practice problems and written solutions for all Calculus lessons except ones designated with optional priority
Create practice problems for select VIP Knowledge and High priority lessons, from Pre-Algebra to Pre-Calculus
Create written solutions for select VIP Knowledge and High priority lessons, from Pre-Algebra to Pre-Calculus
Publish official Mr. Math formula and study sheets for Calculus
Publish VIP Knowledge and High priority web lessons for Pre-Calculus and Calculus
Publish official Mr. Math formula and study sheets for all topics
Create practice problems for all remaining lessons
Create written solutions for all remaining problems
Record and publish video solutions for problems in select lessons
Publish all remaining web lessons
Record and publish video solutions to all remaining problems
Add Geometry course
Add Differential Equations course

I have programmed the site so that links to released content will be active, and links to forthcoming items will be inactive - for example, if I publish one specific web lesson, the link will automatically activate!

The DNA of Math

Traditional math educations systems work great, but have a few shortcomings that often cause gaps in math learning. Missing math knowledge typically leads to students' occasional struggle at best, and a permanent lack of math confidence at worst. One cause of this is the necessary lack of consistency in teaching year-over-year. On one hand, having a new math teacher every year has its perks - after all, you don't want your Kindergarten teacher prepping you for the SAT. But while teacher-changeover each year is a necessary part of education, for the right student in the wrong situation, knowledge gaps are created when a student starts a school year with a new teacher who doesn't correctly know or assess what a student already knows - because the student sure as heck doesn't know what he or she doesn't know. Another common cause of math knowledge gap happens because skills from long-ago are lost, or because textbooks teach you new topics without systematically identifying the building block skills from your past that are prerequisite. Mr. Math cannot change education holistically, but he can address these common problems.

The DNA of Math solves both the "instruction continuity" and the "prerequisite tracking" issues. Unlike a single text book, which necessarily has a scope of a single year's course, The DNA of Math seeks to interconnect every skill from Pre-Algebra through Advanced Calculus. You can think of it like one giant course, but digestible and appropriately organized. When you think about it, there really is a skill-by-skill way to start with your grade-school knowledge in the humble beginnings of Pre-Algebra (what integers are, what variables are, fraction skills, etc.) and end with Calculus knowledge, without "restarting" every September. That singular road is long and multifaceted, but there is a story to tell - a plot, so to speak. And just like any story, some parts are more important than others. Accordingly, each Mr. Math lesson is earmarked for degree of importance. And also just like a story, some parts make more sense when you remember what happened earlier in the tale. Once again, each Mr. Math lesson links to which other skills are prerequisite so that you can instantly assess whether or not you know the math you are already supposed to know, before wasting your time by ineffectively fumbling through material which you don't yet have the foundation for.

What the DNA Allows

This streamlining of knowledge is only possible due to the organization and singular completeness of The DNA of Math. Additionally, such a thorough curriculum allows for things like:

  • Efficient Learning - No more course-by-course "restarting". Every Algebra (and sometimes Calculus) book you pick up starts with Pre-Algebra topics. This is potentially wasteful, nearly always confusing, and leads to a lack of unity in math. Ten algebra teachers would write ten different year plans for the skills they plan to teach in an Algebra 2 course, none of which is necessarily aligned with a student's past and future experience. Mr. Math's story is one whole. "Courses" are used to classify skills for organization and convenience, but because the picture is complete, there is no need to explicitly repeat material. Instead, prerequisites skills are always identified for students to assess their readiness for a lesson's material.

  • ID My Homework - for example, students can use this MM search tool inspired by the game "20 Questions" to figure out that what they're working on for tonight's homework is really called "solving radical equations", and jump to the lesson on it if they want, or find extra practice problems.

  • Unified and Connected Curriculum - It doesn't matter that one school puts this topic in its "Algebra I" course, while the school in the next city over puts it in "Algebra II". Mr. Math keeps each lesson in one place, and connects it to the right prior lessons to make sure the skill doesn't show up too early or too late in the "storyline" of math. It also helps students ensure no skill falls through the cracks that will be important in the future, just because their teacher that year happened to run out of time or elect to skip it.

Miscellaneous Site Functionality

Beside the major content listed above that will be added as fast as humanly possible, a number of very cool features will be added and enhanced as time goes on, in no particular order - most of which are only possible due to the concise and well-organized nature of the DNA of Math.

Finish programming "20 Questions" style algorithm to launch the "ID My Homework" (IDMH) function on MrMath.com
Beside practice problem generator, consider publishing static or dynamic "final exam" mockups as an additional study aide
Publish official Mr. Math formula and study sheets for all topics
Consider a video blog component
Consider live seminars across the continent USA for exam prep seminars such as SAT and AP Calculus

With so many ways to make math happen, who really knows what the future holds? Have ideas, questions, or comments?

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