Thanks to the Internet, Mathematics is Now for All
He wanted to explain math exercises six to students located in different cities throughout Mexico. Faced with the fact that there weren’t too many options available, he turned to the Internet and created highly attractive didactic videos. Today, those videos have been watched more than 60 million times, have close to 210 thousand subscribers, and have given birth to a community of students who help solve mathematical problems through social media 24/7.
“There’s no need to be afraid of numbers,” says José Andalón, promoter of Mathematics for All (www.math2me.com), a project born in Mexico that has already spread to other Latin American and Caribbean countries.
The creators are excited by the initiative, as are students and many parents who visit the portal in order to learn about mathematics and thus help their children solve the problems posed by teachers today.
Not only that, but Andalón is convinced that math is also a useful tool for any activity.
Two years ago, this project won a FRIDA Award which, according to Andalón, served as a major platform both in terms of dissemination as well as for networking with other persons and organizations.
The following is a summary of the dialogue LACNIC News held with those responsible for Mathematics for All.
How was the Math2me (Mathematics for All) program born?
In March 2009, José Andalón was trying to find a way to explain some exercises to six students who lived in different cities to help them prepare for a math competition. The solution he found was to create a website where he could organize and explain the exercises through a series of videos. Initially, the domain name used for the website was www.asesoriasdematematicas.com, but two years later, in 2011, this name was changed to www.math2me.com so as to use a shorter, catchier name. It is worth noting that, since the website’s creation, the idea was to change the negative perception towards mathematics, which is why Maria González worked on the communications aspects and how to make math attractive to students. The program currently includes more than 1600 videos which have been viewed more than 60 million times, while its YouTube channel has more than 210 thousand subscribers.
What goals have been set for the Math2me program?
Our goals are to create videos about mathematics and to make them available over the Internet so that anyone can study them and put an end to the myths according to which numbers are the bane of the planet. It’s very important to show students that mathematics is a necessary requirement to develop our logic and to help everyone understands that, to a greater or lesser extent, math provides useful tools for any activity they may decide to undertake in life.
We prepare videos with an average duration of seven minutes, mainly covering middle and high school level topics ranging from arithmetic through calculus, and also include stories, jokes, tricks, and mathematical curiosities to show that there is no reason to be afraid of numbers.
How does Math2me (Mathematics for All) work?
When a user decides to learn about a certain topic, they can go to www.math2me.com or www.youtube.com/math2me, where they will find videos on the topics of their choice (playlist), such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, analytic geometry, pre-calculus, and calculus, among others; in turn, each chapter is organized by chapters. Users can also choose to use the search function. In addition, iOS and Android apps are also available.
It should be noted that not all doubts or questions relating to math have to do with equations or numbers, but instead with answering questions such as “Why study Math?” or with motivating Math students. This is why math2me also interviews individuals working in different professions and prepares animations answering these questions.
Finally, our social media profiles such as Facebook and Google+ have allowed us to build a community of students who help answer questions and clear doubts.
Is math2me intended only for students or is it also for teachers and parents seeking to learn and improve their math skills?
math2me aims at students aged 10 to 19, though our website is also visited by parents who want to help their children with their homework and adults who need to refresh their math skills in order to complete their studies.
Teachers also use math2me material in their classes so that, instead of spending the greater part of each class explaining a given topic, they can devote more time to student/teacher interaction.
How has the program affected Mexico and the region? Have you noticed an improvement in the learning processes for the students participating in the initiative? Do you know the results?
According to YouTube Analytics (May 2009 – March 2014), Math2me has been implemented as a teaching tool among Latin American students, mostly in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina; 57% of its users are male and 43% are female. Based on the comments we receive daily on our YouTube channel and website (available underneath the videos), students have improved their grades and have been able to pass exams and complete assignments which they were previously unable to do.
In addition, judging by the average 2.6 million monthly YouTube views, users have great interest in using the materials offered by math2me.
How did participating in FRIDA affect the program?
Overall, FRIDA has been a significant platform for dissemination and networking with other individuals and organizations. It also provided international exposure to our work, gave us the opportunity to attend the PRE-GF and IGF 2012 meetings, and offered us financial support that helped us cover math2me expenses.
The FRIDA Award has undoubtedly allowed us to have contact with organizations such as LACNIC and Google, both of which have since remained open to answer our questions or doubts.
How do you assess the impact of your participation in the FRIDA program?
After participating in FRIDA, we now have a new perspective on Internet Governance, one that strongly values Internet access, freedoms, development and innovation.
How do you think these ICT initiatives can be amplified to bridge the digital divide and contribute to the educational and social development of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean?
By strengthening infrastructure and human resources so that initiatives can reach more people throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Just as the Internet is a network, FRIDA initiatives should create a network both within its own community as well as with other similar initiatives, as this will strengthen everyone involved.
Finally, reach out to the community and inform them about the projects that are underway so that they can become a part of them.