How Learning Science Influences Math Solutions: Behind the Cube

Go Behind the Scenes at McGraw-Hill Education

Learning science serves as our guiding compass — it influences the development of our solutions, our interactions with educators, and our vision for the future of education.

To take a deeper look at how learning science influences our work, we’re taking a look at one team member at a time — particularly those that take their dedication to learning science to the next level. Today’s highlight:

Margaret Bowman, Associate Academic Designer

What do you do at McGraw-Hill Education?

I am a Middle School Math Academic Designer, where I help write the math curriculum for students and teachers in grades 6–8. In Academic Design, we break down the math content standards, organize how to best present the content, and write the content for both the students and the teachers. We collaborate with each other and with Elementary and High School Math Academic Designers to ensure that as students progress through the topics from year to year, there is alignment in what they learn. We also collaborate with people from other departments, such as Instructional Designers and Media Designers, to ensure that each element of the program is designed in the best way possible for students to learn.

How does learning science influence your daily work?

As math content writers, the most important part of what we do is design content that will most effectively help students learn and provide assistance to teachers when and where they need it. Most of us have been teachers before, including myself, so we use our experiences, along with what we learn in professional development activities, from our consultants, and from our own research to write and design our content. We use learning science principles when writing math problems, writing scripts for videos and animations, and when choosing art or photos to enhance the product.

Can you give a specific example of research or principles that you would recommend for educators who are interested in improving their practice with learning science?

Technology use, or multimedia, can help students learn and potentially increase students’ value for learning, but only if it’s designed and used appropriately. Increasing TPACK (technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge) is a great way for educators to improve their classroom practices. This can be achieved through professional development opportunities, collaborating with other teachers, and researching online.

What innovations or areas of interest do you envision are upcoming in the learning science field?

This would entail learning science specifically in Math (and maybe this is already happening, I just haven’t had time to do more research), but I’d like to see U.S. schools transition to integrated Math in middle and high school, as opposed to Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Geometry, and so on.

Find more Behind the Cube by following our Series or past posts here.