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Interactive Math
basel problem

Problem Statement

How can UX enhance instruction in higher mathematics?

Background

Learning mathematics can be difficult, because most concepts are inherently abstract. For even the most dedicated student, learning a new area of mathematics can be hampered by the effort of translating vague concepts into a workable mental image or model.

Leaning outcomes can be improved via student-centered design and development of static images, linear animations and interactive pieces for trigonometry, calculus and statistics.

My Roles

  • Client-side developer
  • Interaction and visual designer
  • Animation and art director

Methodologies

  • Instructional design
  • Software development
  • Usability assessment
  •  
  • Overview: Under broad direction from the real-life mentor of Stand and Deliver protagonist Jaime Escalante, my projects were led by math education researchers from across the world. Working from rough instructional narratives, I created detailed animation specs. I directed visual designers to produce static artwork and linear animations. I created and maintained a design system including visual style guide and code libraries. I developed rich, interactive pieces. Instructional reviews were held with a panel of other math education researchers. Usability studies were conducted in students' classrooms.
style guide
calculating erf

Findings

  • Working Against Constraints: The use of standard symbol-color pairing to address variations in color vision is not feasible in this context. The interactive nature of the pieces does assist in meaning discernment.
  •  
  • Classroom Context: Use of these pieces in constrained environments — e.g. projection in a brightly-lit classroom — relies on careful palette choices. Further in-situ assessment of the palette's effectiveness in more varied settings is recommended.

Outcome

  • Hundreds of rich illustrative, interactive pieces

Reflection

  • Numeric Precision: Be mindful of tradeoffs when balancing the need for real-time interaction with numeric and visual precision.

 


Interactive animations: Chain rule, null hypothesis, multifunctions, volume between rotated functions.
interactive math example for chain rule interactive math example for algebraic expression
 
interactive math example for chain rule interactive math example for algebraic expression
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Code and data shown have been modified and do not represent actual data.