High School Teacher in Mexico Uses Maple T.A. to Increase Learning Efficienc - Maplesoft

User Case Study:
High School Teacher in Mexico Uses Maple T.A. to Increase Learning Efficiency

Blanca Flores, a high school professor in Sonora, Mexico, wanted a tool to provide her with a more efficient option for delivering course materials and ensure her students attained the necessary knowledge and skills.

A long-time user of Maple T.A., Flores convinced the principal at Colegio Muñoz to purchase the software. In August 2015, Maple T.A. was implemented for two groups of students in the graduating class.

The pass rate among students taking Flores' course has increased significantly and it has freed up time for her to work with students who are struggling or less proficient with the materials. Nearly all of the students at Colegio Muñoz are now using Maple T.A.

Teaching can be a demanding and time-consuming profession, often involving limited resources, which makes it difficult to effectively deliver course materials and ensure all students achieve the necessary understanding and skills. Finding the most efficient methods and tools is essential to success. For Professor Blanca Flores, a teacher at Colegio Muñoz High School in Sonora, Mexico, Maple T.A. was the answer.

Flores, a university and high school teacher during her 28-year career, has been a teacher at Colegio Muñoz for the last 12 years. She was first introduced to Maple T.A. while working at Sonora University. A group of instructors purchased it and invited her to a presentation of the software. She immediately liked what she saw.  “The school offered it to the rest of the instructors and I became part of a working group that adopted Maple T.A.,” she said. “As a result, we started to apply it in the programming for online assignments and tests for engineering algebra courses. I liked it very much and was convinced it was a powerful tool.”

Flores mastered Maple T.A. over the years, and when she moved to Colegio Muñoz she wanted to introduce it there. She presented it to the high school principal, showing him some of the unique features in the product that can help students. Her presentation convinced the principal, and the school purchased and implemented it. When the term began in August 2015, Maple T.A. was implemented for two groups of students in their last year of high school.

There were several reasons the school decided to adopt Maple T.A., one being that it helps teachers more efficiently allocate their time. Grading students’ assignments can be a time-consuming task, especially in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses. Maple T.A.’s automatic grading feature relieves that burden, allowing teachers to spend more time helping students with the study material. Flores believes that student progress improves with the practice of assignments, and in order to help students keep up, it is important to have numerous individual assignments to allow them to practice as many times as needed. She sees this as Maple T.A.’s greatest asset. “I started with the assessment questions and began implementing assignments in Maple T.A. for students in their last year of high school,” Flores said. “Each student had the opportunity to practice their assignments as many times as he or she considered necessary, to obtain sufficient practice and acquire better skills on the subjects.” Initially, there was some difficulty for students in adapting to the new system, but eventually students began to realize the advantages of using Maple T.A. They were pleased with the fact they could attempt homework assignments as many times as they needed, until they were satisfied with the evaluation.

In addition, cheating was also a big concern with students at the school, which meant homework assignments could be copied from the most responsible student and the learning experience rendered useless, Flores explained. “Maple T.A. helps to alleviate this, as each student is presented with unique questions in each assignment, making it impossible to cheat,” she said. “Now, instead of cheating, students concentrate on finding someone who can explain the process to them to help them understand better, whether it be me or a classmate.”

“Using Maple T.A. allows students to work through their weak points and deepen their knowledge,” Flores said. “It is a strong support for the class. The assignments allow me to verify the progress in their math skills, allowing me to detect their areas of weakness. Furthermore, each time they take a test, I’m able to assign them tasks that give them extra credit. These extra assignments allow me to better prepare them for the final exam.”

The time Flores has saved from not having to grade each assignment by hand allows her to help those students who are less proficient. She works with them to improve their understanding of key concepts, and they go back to Maple T.A. to practice assignments as many times as needed. “For some of them it takes more exercises than others, but in the end they acquire the essential abilities,” she said.

The rate of students who fail her course has dropped significantly since she began using Maple T.A. “Maple T.A. has greatly contributed to the learning environment in my classroom,” Flores said. “The more advanced students become in their proficiency and skill level, the more confident they feel. The instant feedback gives them more opportunities to strengthen their weak areas and they have a greater appreciation for learning from their mistakes, as well as a deeper sense of success.”

The experience of using Maple T.A. has allowed the school to gain confidence with the tool and implement it on a wider scale, with almost all students now using it across all three high school grades. The school is also considering training its teachers in Maple T.A. so it can be their “right hand,” helping reduce the burden of grading and allowing them to dedicate more of their focus to teaching.

“Maple T.A. has helped us greatly, thanks to its diversity of features and the variety of problems that can be solved,” Flores concluded. “Students were experiencing difficulties due to their limited knowledge of certain mathematical concepts, creating a challenge for understanding materials in subsequent years. Maple T.A. has alleviated this and created a more beneficial learning environment for all students.”

Contact Maplesoft to learn how Maple T.A. can be used in your classroom.