Conventional lecture courses for subjects with problem sets can be inefficient.

For dyslexic students if the information comes in too quickly, they can’t follow steps as a teacher works through problems in real time. A recurring scenario for many students (and not just the dyslexic ones) is that to truly understand, the students must work through the material themselves at home.

The lucky ones have a parent, sibling, or someone else to be a tutor, while others may struggle looking at incomplete notes with only a hazy idea of what teachers did to arrive at their answers. Having teachers notes or having a flipped classroom (watch a video first, then see the problems worked by a teacher) can improve this situation, but inevitably there will be times when having more examples of correctly solved problems will just help.

The most common problem we see with homework is that there’s too much of it assigned to students (especially dyslexic students who should have extended time accommodations). Students can’t efficiently learn if they are assigned crushing amounts of homework and can’t see the big picture of what they are doing.

Tutors can definitely help, but the key is not only solving a particular problem, but knowing why certain steps were performed and why certain methods are applied to different types of problems. Only then can students get a big picture or bird’s eye view of the topic and be able to apply their knowledge to new problems. Sometimes tutors who are math experts themselves may not understand the types of difficulties that dyslexic and / or dyscalculic students may have.

Teacher’s manuals and apps can come to the rescue. Now, I’m not suggesting that students cheat and just copy answers. Some students may undoubtedly do this.

What I am saying is that working with answers or model answers can can work well for dyslexic students as well as others.

As for dyslexic students in particular, many learn well by inductive learning, being provided with examples, then reasoning back to principles and recognizing patterns. Dyslexic minds are often great pattern generators; it may confound some teachers when students don’t learn as they have been taught, but the flipside of the learning preference may be unique problem solving and surprising ingenuity.

So what kind of technology may be helpful for student learning?

 

MATHEMATICS

By now, many students have discovered Photomath, but if you haven’t, it allows you to take a picture of a problem in a math text (or handwritten problem), then it solves and also provides step-by-step problem solving. There is a free trial, it is available on iOS and Android, and the price ranges from $2.99-$19.99 per month depending on what features you choose and $59.99 for one year.

 

 

 

 

If Photomath is too pricey for you, there are a variety of other “Math Solver” apps, but Microsoft’s new Math Solver is FREE! It’s available for iOS and Android. Learn more HERE.

Microsoft’s Math Solver can be used for Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus! Like PhotoMath, you can take pictures of problems (typed or handwritten) or enter problems with a keyboard.

 

 

 

 

These solver apps can really help students especially if there’s not someone else around to explain answers. Some students may still benefit having someone walk through problems, help identify mistakes, and label types of problems and their solutions, and provide big picture views of what why certain things are done with math steps.

For reviews of other math solver apps, including Geometry visit HERE.

When our kids were homeschooling, neither wanted to listen to video lectures. They preferred talking over math lessons or skimming chapters in math books themselves, then head directly to solving problems. They like to learn by doing problems and having answers to some of them help them understand how the problems were solved.

In our homeschool, we required much less homework than traditional school; the goal was to do as many problems as necessary and understand the steps.

Checking work and seeing where mistakes were made.

 

WHAT ABOUT NON-MATH SUBJECTS?

People may have different opinions on this point, but as we were homeschooling for several years, I found Teacher’s editions of textbooks very helpful for summarizing material and explaining information. Sometimes these editions are available through eBay or Amazon; other times a publisher may refuse to sell the edition to anyone without an educational email address.

Are there any non-textbook publisher ways to get answers? Yes. There is a crowdsourced “cheat” site for textbook answers called Slader. Your student may already know about it. Enter a textbook title or ISBN number and you’ll not only find answers, but also step-by-step explanations of answers. The information here is unofficial (think Wikipedia) so it’s not perfect, but for students who struggle for hours with homework and can’t find help, it can be a starting point.

 

 

 

Dyslexia | Dyslexic Advantage