World’s first algebra app for iPad made in Dublin

20 Sep 2010

Digital education giant Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has unveiled a year-long pilot of the first-ever full curriculum algebra app for the iPad. The app will be piloted in school districts across California.

The algebra app was designed and delivered by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s R&D hub located in Dublin. This new and innovative development involved a range of disciplines within HMH, including learning design, interactive design and user experience design.

HMH is piloting the app on 400 Apple iPads in school districts across California.

The pilot represents the launch of HMH Fuse, a new mode of curriculum delivery where interactive platforms and mobile devices bring learning to life for students by moving beyond the one-way experience of a print or digital textbook.

The HMH Fuse: Holt McDougal Algebra app will be the most sophisticated use of the iPad’s interactive technology in K–12 learning to date.

Using this revolutionary iPad environment, students receive guided instruction, can write and save notes, access video lessons, and receive feedback on practice questions. The app’s multi-dimensional functionality combines instruction, ongoing support and intervention, allowing teachers and students to customise learning and meet individual needs.

A new era in curriculum development

“The launch of HMH Fuse and this app signal the beginning of a new era in curriculum development, where the goal is not just providing world-class content, but also delivering it in a variety of ways so that students and teachers can individualise the learning experience,” said Barry O’Callaghan, CEO of HMH.

“We believe this pilot will provide the nation with a glimpse into the future of education.”

The app provides the year-long Holt McDougal Algebra 1 course plus ancillary materials and resources. The app’s highly developed comprehension tracking tools provide students with customised support and teachers with real-time student-specific performance feedback.

“The Algebra 1 iPad app combines the interactive mathematics content with the portability and unique functionality of the iPad device to allow students to truly engage in the learning process, becoming active learners who can explore new concepts, interpret information and solve problems,” said HMH vice-president of Digital Publishing, Teresa Hagan.

“The app’s interactive format will resonate with teachers, students, and parents because it mirrors the multi-dimensional digital environment they interact with on a daily basis.”

Empirical Education Inc., a Silicon Valley-based research organisation, will use high-quality, scientifically valid research methods to compare students using the new iPad-delivered content to those using the conventional textbook. A report of the research findings is expected in autumn 2011.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years