Math Anxiety: How To Use Technology to Cope
NB This article is part of a series of articles we comissioned
authors from around the world to write for us. Their brief was to scour the Internet and find
interesting and stimulating math topics to write about. The articles do not necessarily represent
our beliefs. They are included here to give you some creative food for thought, so that you can
take them and work with your teachers to build a better math platform and environment for you
to better excel in ... Please just enjoy the articles and please don't read too much into
When a student says "Help me with Math" it might just be that he or she needs something simple explained in a
way that's more understandable.
However, for some students out there, the cause of the problem isn't a lack of understanding when it comes to
The problem is an actual fear of mathematics and what their performance could represent.
For all those people who go into a cold sweat when trying to divide a simple restaurant tab, the term for a
fear of having to do math is math anxiety. This can affect people of all ages, not just students who live in
ever-waking dread of a pop quiz in Algebra.
Fear makes it hard to concentrate, and it can erode performance far below what just a bad case of nerves
should. Fortunately for students there is technology available, as well as science, to help them cope with and
eventually overcome their math anxiety.
Thanks to advances great and small in simple, portable technology it's become easy to soothe some math anxiety
in students. Calculators, particularly graphing and scientific calculators, can make it much simpler for
students to focus.
The routine of a machine, along with the sheer computational power it offers, can help students keep on task.
Additionally, more advanced calculators can automatically handle more complex steps which might trip students
up if they're having trouble.
The use of technology goes far beyond just keeping a calculator at one's desk though. For instance, students
who need help understand math can go to a website like HelpMeWithMaths.Com, where the Internet will provide
simple, basic answers that students need to their questions about how to get the right answer on any given math
With animation and narration it's even possible to see problems being solved, which can sometimes be what a
student needs in order to figure out his or her own problems.
Science and Psychology
Technology is one way to help students who have math anxiety, but it's equally important that teachers as well
as the students themselves, keep in mind the condition. It's important for those facing math anxiety to work in
a supportive, positive environment, for one thing.
They need to focus and take deep breaths, and they need to take the problems one step at a time. If they can do
that, then with technological aid, they'll succeed at math.
Math anxiety is going to be a little different in everyone. That's why it's important to keep in mind that the
first approach won't always solve a student's problem.
Technology, environment, teaching method, all of these things need to work together until students can overcome
their anxiety and perform well.
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