Numeracy skills are used throughout a learner’s life and career, but is the modern workforce equipped with the knowledge they need in this area?
In this article, we go through some of the key challenges Oceania and the British Isles face in terms of maths education and examine how EdTech could play a role in preparing young people with the skills they need to succeed in a maths-focused career.
Workforces suffering from poor maths skills
Skills in maths are becoming a weak point for Australian, New Zealand, British and Irish workforces. All four countries rank outside the top 20% of OECD countries for maths performance and understanding of numeracy in a test of 15-year-olds. Poland and Belgium in Europe, Canada in North America and South Korea and Japan in Asia, were amongst the best performing countries.
As a result of poor numeracy skills, the UK government recently declared that an anti-maths mindset was damaging the UK economy and announced plans to make studying maths compulsory up until the age of 18.
Meanwhile, a report from the productivity commission found that Australians are falling behind when it comes to maths and English skills, which is having a knock-on effect of a decrease in employment rates for VET and university graduates, leading government ministers to set out foundational learning as a top priority for the new Labor government.
An OECD report found that countries with higher numeracy skills had higher average wages for workers. This demonstrates that if countries don’t ensure young people can utilise strong numeracy skills in the workforce, they could be doing serious damage to their economies long-term.
How can edtech and online learning help?
Utilising edtech can be a great way to encourage learners to improve their maths skill set and have the confidence to apply numeracy in their careers.
Maths can be difficult for visual learners or learners that are more creative than purely logical. With this in mind, edtech has the chance to make maths come alive through interactive and engaging games, videos and experiences.
Moreover, allowing learners to practise skills in a digital space creates a learning environment that everyone can access equally, with multiple students accessing personalised and dedicated learning at the same time.
Reduce “Maths Anxiety”
Many learners can find maths an intimidating subject. Using Australia as an example, studies have found that up to 17 per cent of people in the country experience regular anxiety around maths, reporting feelings of worry, confusion and stress when presented with maths problems in a learning environment or in the outside world.
Edtech can help to solve this issue in a number of ways. Online learning allows users to work from the comfort of their own homes and work at their own pace. Often, being surrounded by others can add additional pressure, and learners can feel embarrassed by their level of knowledge. Online learning can give users the privacy and time they need to tackle questions in a comfortable environment, reducing the risk of “mathxiety”.
Which Edtech companies are leading the way in maths learning?
Edtech companies have been at the forefront of numerical tuition, with innovative platforms seeing huge boosts in investment and revenue.
Spanish startup Innovamat recently announced funding of $21 million as they seek to revolutionise maths education in schools across the world. Using a mix of traditional learning methods, as well as virtual maths games, they aim to make maths more accessible and help students apply it in real-world scenarios. Furthermore, the edtech company uses bespoke tracking software to ensure that teachers can get a clear understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their students and alter learning plans accordingly.
Elsewhere, Norwegian startup House of Math raised over $4 million to go further with their maths platform that uses gamification as a core part of learning. This form of learning can have a big impact, as gamification can drive up learner urgency and engagement, and it has been used by some of the biggest edtech companies in the world to bring in many new learners.
Meanwhile, online maths school Breakthrough Maths, based in Ireland, has made waves in the Republic after finding success during the COVID-19 pandemic. With plans to expand to the UK, Breakthrough Maths takes a digital-first approach to maths tuition, utilising the flexibility of online learning to teach maths amongst small groups that are encouraged to collaborate on solving equations and sums.
Finally, on a governmental level, edtech and online learning is playing a greater role in helping children to access maths tuition in the UK, with the British government announcing free online numeracy lessons for students in small islands such as Guernsey. As a result, online learning can help to deliver high-quality maths tuition, even in areas that previously may have struggled to provide a solid education in numeracy.
The edtech sector is brimming with innovative and exciting companies that are aiming to change our approach to maths tuition forever, instilling a new generation of learners with an eagerness and excitement towards numerical learning.
Education providers specialising in maths can feel emboldened to lead the charge in improving the numeracy skills of Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland and countries around the world through innovative educational technology and online learning.