Extending Mathematical Learning Beyond Computation: Creating Math with SMART amp

A SMART Customer story with Rita Della Valle, High School Mathematics Teacher

Teachers and School

Rita Della Valle – HS Mathematics Teacher
Jeannabel Reyes – Student Teacher
Technology High School – Newark, NJ
Timothy Nellegar – Instructional Technology
Newark Public Schools – Newark, NJ


Students struggled to move beyond computational learning of math concepts.


Integrating SMART amp helped move students beyond computation and contributed to an average increase
of 11% between interim assessments.

Motivation: Moving Beyond Computational Learning

Technology High School (THS), located near historic Forest Hill, is Newark’s Magnet High School for Applied Science, Engineering and Technology. THS is committed to maintaining a rigorous academic and technical program, pushing student growth and challenging students in the core academic areas.

Teacher Rita Della Valle’s main goal in the 2016-17 school year was to create a space where her students could engage in creating math rather than doing math. More specifically, she wanted her students to be able to work in collaborative work spaces, in order to improve their understanding of conceptual math concepts, and engage in robust academic conversation.

She wanted to be able to provide her students with engaging lessons that naturally led them to reference other students’ work. As part of their own exploration, she wanted her students to complete error analysis. She wanted her learners to be able to examine, contribute, and process content collaboratively, in order to achieve a higher level of critical thinking skills, as well as increase their math scores.

Rita set out to achieve the above objectives by providing her students with rich tasks that encouraged them to apply prior knowledge to new concepts in SMART amp. She felt SMART amp would enable her students to work collaboratively, and improve their understanding of tasks, by asking them to construct viable arguments and critique the mathematical process of others within a collaborative workspace.

Mathematics Brought to Life

SMART amp helped Rita empower her students as classroom content producers, rather than just consumers. Through SMART amp, her students were able to bring mathematics to life. They used their workspaces as a sounding board for discussions to facilitate a deeper understanding of content strands as they worked.

SMART amp helped make her students’ conceptual learning and mathematical processes visual.

Outcome: Moving Beyond Computation

By shifting from a learning environment that used minimal technology in the 2015- 2016 school year to one that heavily leveraged SMART amp to engage her students in a collaborative-based scope and sequence in school year 2016- 2017, Rita was able to:

  • Enhance the pacing of her classroom.
  • Focus her students on peer-analysis.
  • Enable student-centered learning.

Rita believes that the immersion of SMART amp into her classroom helped provide her students with a medium that fostered student discovery, and led to deeper understanding and student progress in outcomes. She found that SMART amp empowered her students to become involved in content creation rather than just content consumption, and proved to be valuable in their academic achievement.

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Posted: June 27, 2017
in Outcome Studies