For decades, the U.S. K12 system has struggled to produce successful student outcomes in mathematics achievement compared to the rest of the world. The elementary grades is when the foundation of mathematics gets laid, but is often when students begin slipping behind. Many elementary teachers also identify math as an area they are less comfortable teaching compared to other subjects.
As of now, two major shifts are occurring in the U.S. K-12 education system. The new online end-of-year test, which replaces the old scantron multiple choice test, is proving to be the most challenging test of the modern U.S. Education system. School systems are rapidly upgrading their technology, training, and infrastructure which invariably have turned out to be a big boost for the teachers and students. The other shift is in the funding guidelines at the federal, state and local level. This emphasizes the need for research-based and research-validated learning tools.
Sokikom was founded by Snehal Patel, a former elementary math intervention teacher, to help schools address the K-5 math gap. Sokikom is the only bilingual online supplemental math program where elementary students help each other learn in a team-based game as well as being able to learn independently or through teacher-assigned practice. Unlike any other math program, Sokikom was developed through 6 SBIR grants from the U.S. Department of Education. Sokikom is the first program in the U.S. to show significant increases (18%) in the new online state test (SmarterBalanced) through a year-long 3rd party study published in a scientific peer-reviewed journal.
Bringing the Excitement that Every Class Needs
What makes Sokikom unique is the blend of team-based social learning along with myriad levels of independent learning options, that excite students and differentiate the entire experience of learning math. Ms. Kobs, a 3rd grade teacher that uses loves Sokikom because “The level of engagement my students have for Sokikom is intense. They would rather learn math on Sokikom than go to recess! My kids are empowered to do math much more than previously.”
The Math Program is designed to cater to grades K-5. The program starts with a diagnostic assessment test that places the students at the correct skill level. This ensures that each student receives a personalized and differentiated instruction. The interactive learn by doing experience assures to make math as exciting as possible. It also includes instructional videos to help students when they face any difficulty. After independent practice, students can play team based multiplayer games where they collaborate and compete in real-time to solve math problems.
Sokikom makes Math less Intimidating
It is a sight to behold when students are using Sokikom in the classroom. Students tend to become intensely engaged and experience social learning where kids help each other to learn math. Tackling a tough math concept becomes much less intimidating when students can see their classmates come together to solve problems and help one another. This culture of compassion has inculcated a thinking of the highest order and has created a positive approach to math amongst students. Mathematical discourse, which is essential to higher-order mathematical thinking, takes place naturally in the context of team-based games. “One of my students that rarely participates in math discussions I saw explaining concepts to another student and asking questions from another student that were all in the same team.” Ms. Houghton, 4th grade teachers.
The Math Whiz with the Mission to Make Math Lovable
A former elementary math intervention teacher, Snehal Patel is the Founder and CEO of Sokikom, with a mission to positively transform the beliefs and mindsets of students and teachers in mathematics. His experience teaching math dates back to his elementary school days where Patel helped his fellow classmates in many cities and states throughout the country. Snehal immigrated to the U.S. from England with his parents when he was 1. Like many immigrants, his family moved around a lot seeking opportunity. Patel moved 17 different times to various cities and states throughout the country by the time he graduated high school. Unbeknownst to many, Patel grew up as an undocumented student through elementary school and into middle school. He continued helping his peers as a math tutor in college and high school. Patel later became the youngest senior software engineer in his department at Motorola. His passion for positively impacting the teaching and learning of mathematics has even got him invited to speak at several events and conferences, including TEDx. Snehal is also the principal investigator and awardee of 6 SBIR grants from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), a research branch within the U.S. Department of Education. Before Sokikom, Snehal started a math tutoring company as a franchise for Mathnasium, an international chain of K-12 math tutoring centers, where he grew his location to the #1 performing in the world.
Changing the Way the World Looks at Math
Throughout his life, Snehal has found that due to lack of foundational math skills, many students end up getting frustrated with math and lose confidence, especially in later levels. This leads to a vicious circle of avoiding math courses which are the gateway to math and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) related careers. But if the U.S. is to maintain its leadership position in the global economy, this needs to change. As a country, the U.S. is known for celebrating success in sports and entertainment but is not that keen on celebrating academic success, especially in elementary math. One of the key goals behind developing Sokikom was to help students develop a natural joy and love of mathematics by engaging them at their level and allowing for collaboration through team-based games. And then, involving educators in celebrating student math achievement. Schools are already beginning to show some remarkable changes. Schools are now holding Sokikom achievement assemblies and announcements regularly. Sokikom student achievements are being listed on school web pages and newsletters that go out to parents. All this is bringing more focus to celebrating what students are truly capable of achieving when given the proper tools and framework. “We’re excited and grateful for the opportunity to help positively transform mathematics learning culture in the U.S.” Mr. Patel
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