Kitchener-Waterloo

UW math course for kids gets 10M pageviews this school year, largely during pandemic

With thousands of students learning from home, online math lessons for kids and teens developed by the University of Waterloo saw a huge uptake during the early months of the pandemic.

Lessons allow students in Grades 7 through 12 to practice math and computer science

A local website that helps students in Grades 7 through 12 with math has seen a big spike in popularity during the pandemic. (Submitted by: Lori Belford)

Online math lessons for kids and teens developed by the University of Waterloo saw a 200 per cent uptake in student engagement this past school year, especially during the early months of the pandemic.

The Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing (CEMC) website says it had more than 10 million page views, with almost a third of those taking place throughout the month of April.

That's compared to the over all three million page views the website had last year, according University of Waterloo math professor Ian VanderBurgh. 

"All of a sudden teachers and students and parents were trying to figure out how to work together to do education outside of the classroom," he said.

"Having these resources really has made a big impact. There's been a ton of views and most of that is in Canada, but an interesting amount internationally too."

Canadian curriculum with feedback

The website offers free math lessons and interactive activities for teachers and students in Grades 7 through 12 that follow the Canadian math curriculum. 

The lessons allow students to practice math problems and computer science, but also provides feedback — which may have contributed to the amount of time people spent on the site, VanderBurgh said.

This is an example of a math problem students can try and solve on the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing website developed by Ian VanderBurgh at the University of Waterloo. (Submitted by: Ian VanderBurgh)

Popularity continued through summer

He adds interest continued into the summer months as well, with web traffic surging two to three times higher than it was the summer of 2019. 

"It appears like people are still out there using it, whether it be teachers thinking about the year ahead, maybe it's parents helping kids re-enforce some things to get ready for the fall," he said.

VanderBurgh said he and his team often add content to keep up with student and teacher needs and will be looking at their experiences during the pandemic to improve their lessons.

He wants parents, teachers and students to know that math resources are available to them whether they are learning from home or at school this upcoming school year.

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