Imagine being 10 years into your career as a high school math instructor and feeling grateful for having all of the tools you dreamed you’d ever need. Hatboro-Horsham High School (HHHS) math teacher, Ben Bass, no longer has to wish for this scenario. He was awarded an Innovative Learning Grant by the Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation (HHEF), which allowed him to purchase 30 laptops for his math students. The high school supplemented the grant by purchasing the necessary software to support him in the classroom.
“As a result of this grant, my students have access to enhanced learning tools. They are truly engaged in learning and have become active, rather than passive, learners,” shared Ben Bass, whose students have successfully adapted to hybrid learning with three station rotations during class. In the past, technology has not always been as reliable as it is today. Mr. Bass believes the grant has enabled him to do things with the students that would not have been possibly without the funding.
“Doing always trumps watching,” said Mr. Bass, who uses the technology to help motivated students to excel and practice more, while less motivated kids are learning to be accountable. “Right away, I know who needs help. In my ten years at Hatboro-Horsham, I have never been better equipped. Using this new technology, I am able to teach and engage students in ways that were not previously possible.”
Mr. Bass incorporates the software into every lesson. “I assign homework using the software and can track not only whether a student logs on and for how long, but I can see which areas the student has mastered and which areas are still challenging,” explained Mr. Bass, who builds problems using the software, which is intuitive and can help the student based on how they are doing.
“The beauty of this system is that the students learn by doing. If they don’t get the right answer the first time, the software will build a new problem using the same concept, but with different numbers,” shared Mr. Bass. “The students master the concepts by problem solving. And they learn to be accountable.”
“It is extremely satisfying to know that our grant money is funding technology that engages our math students and eventually offers better outcomes,” explained Nancy DeLucia, Executive Director, HHEF. “Through the Innovative Learning Grants, the learning experience is truly enriched and teachers like Mr. Bass are very appreciative of the tools we can give them.”
According to Mr. Bass, the new tools have paved the way for improved communication between parents and teachers. The teacher can see whether or not the student signed into the software and how much time he or she spent on it. This information can be reported back to the parents, if necessary.
Grace McCallister, a sophomore, enjoys the rotation during class because she gets to meet with the teacher in a small group and then works at her own pace on the laptop. “Using laptops for math is a cool way to learn,” she said. “I don’t have to worry about note-taking the whole time so it’s easier to learn.”