Duolingo is ready to branch out to other subjects when it comes to their language learning app. After months of being in a beta version, the American educational technology company launched their new math app — Duolingo Math.
The announcement comes just as a national study has shown the largest drop in math test scores for fourth and eighth graders since recording began in 1990.
The number-focused app will be the first subject expansion that Duolingo has made beyond its popular language learning and literacy application. As of today, the app is available on iOS today and Android users should keep their eyes peeled for their version of the math learning app soon.
According to Duolingo’s official blog, the company wanted to make math less of a stressor in people’s lives, especially for teens. “... many people experience stress when faced with math-related situations—this is known as ‘math anxiety’. Recent studies found 93% of U.S. adults have experienced at least some math anxiety and half of high schoolers have very high math anxiety,” the blog reads.
Once a user has downloaded the app, they can choose between an elementary version, which gets into basic math concepts like multiplication and division, or an adult version, named “brain training,” which focuses on similar concepts. Brain training “strengthens mental math skills and covers more advanced topics.” For example, users will encounter an everyday, applicable task such converting between ounces and pounds.
The app, which will be free to use for now, also allows learners to use virtual tools like clocks to get a better picture of the math problem or concept they’re working on.
The Duolingo team explained, “Each of our exercises are uniquely engineered for the content they teach. One way we do this is by having learners manipulate virtual tools ... Having learners interact with these tools allows them to focus on the most important mathematical aspects of the objects and deepens their understanding of the underlying concepts.”
One of the most exciting parts of Duolingo Math is that the concepts taught and put into practice are applicable to real-life experiences like calculating a tip or reading and setting a clock. Though the more you advance on the app, the more complex the learning gets — a beginner or novice math student could really benefit from the app.
The app was made with the education losses related to math in mind.
“Our mission has always been to provide high quality accessible education and I don’t think that necessarily stops at language learning,” Duolingo lead engineer Sammi Siegel said in an interview with TechCrunch. “We’ve seen the stats on math, education and losses over the pandemic.”
The “Nation’s Report Card” found that “the average fourth-grade mathematics score decreased by 5 points and was lower than all previous assessment years going back to 2005” and that “the average eighth-grade mathematics score decreased by 8 points compared to 2019 and was lower than all previous assessment years going back to 2003.”
It seems that Duolingo Math may have come at the perfect time for students and adults alike, and while the lessons may start simple, the app has future dreams to expand to more complex concepts. Siegel told TechCrunch that Duolingo’s math app may start to teach linear algebra or college-level math.
Siegel also said that the app is designed to include bite-sized lessons, just like its language-focused predecessor along with interactive exercises and streaks.
Right now, Duolingo Math is available in an English user interface for iPhone, iPad, and some iPod touch devices. Find it on the App store!