After several years of research and development, an education-based app created by ACU faculty and students is now available for all Apple devices.
Mitzi Adams, instructor in ACU’s Department of Teacher Education, worked alongside three other ACU students to develop an application called “Count On It.” Adams applied her 25 years of teaching experience to find a way to effectively and efficiently communicate math fundamentals to children, educators and parents.
“I kept asking myself the question, ‘How is it that some students develop proficiency regardless of my approach and others do not?’,” Adams said. “I wondered if there was more involved than just the method of teaching.”
While pursuing a Masters of Mathematics in Elementary Education, Adams came across the term, “subitizing.” Subitizing is essentially the ability to look at a number value and know immediately what that value equates to. Adams found that through extensive research, there was a relationship between deficiency in basic math skills and poor subitizing skills.
Clement Ho, junior computer science major from Bejing, China, was hired as the mobile developer of the “Count On It” iPad app in December 2010. Over the past few years, Ho has taken on the responsibilities of developing and designing the website accompanying the mobile application to make the the application more user-friendly.
“We’ve spent a lot of time enhancing the user interface, making it visually appealing and creating good user experiences for our customers,” Ho said. “We needed to focus our attention on making the application easy to use and understand so that our customers can take advantage of this useful tool.”
“Count On It” is made up of four functions applicable to math education: Quick Add and Add It Up, each used for strengthening mental math abilities, a virtual abacus, a key feature for both visual and auditory learners, and a quiz function.
The creation of “Count On It” required more than just extensive research. Adams felt that the use of ACU students and their skills would be much more beneficial and cost effective.
“I learned that to a hire a company would cost me tens of thousands of dollars,” Adams said. “I did not have that kind of money to spend. I wondered if there might be students here at ACU with the skills and interest.”
Lyndon Willoughby, senior graphic design major from McKinney, used his graphic design background to bring a more polished look and unifying theme to the app.Â Willoughby benefited from the hands-on experience and feels better equipped in his future job search.
“I have learned a ton from ACU’s Graphic Design department, but hands-on work is so useful before graduating.” he said. “It was really beneficial for me as a student to work on something that was actually going to be released into the market.”