At MIND Research Institute, we know that in order to truly change society's relationship with math and equip the problem solvers of tomorrow, reaching students in the classroom is only one part of the equation. We believe that teachers, administrators, families, and communities are part of a student’s learning ecosystem, and we work to support that holistic system.
As a Content Development Manager for the Research and Development team here at MIND, Nina Wu draws on her experiences as a teacher, dancer, artist, and more to design math experiences for students that support the growth of the whole child—intellectually, emotionally, and physically.
This past June, Nina was invited to take part in San Francisco Design Week and share her insights on creating diverse math experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. The session was entitled “Designing for the Classroom and Beyond,” and featured presentations from Nina and three other designers working in the K-12 educational space.
A screenshot from "SF Design Week: Designing for classrooms and beyond (MIND Research Institute + Khan Academy)"
Nina began her presentation by explaining how she's able to harness her background and interests into her work at MIND:
I never thought that there'd be a job where I could utilize all my disciplines. Fortunately, MIND and I found each other and it's somehow become my dream job where I get to design content and make math experiences for students.
She then gave an overview of ST Math: how the program leverages the way the brain learns, and the design challenges of maintaining the integrity of the program’s unique learning model. Nina dove into some of her work over the years and spoke about how games can provide access points for student learning.
As students make mistakes, return to the puzzles, learn from their mistakes, try out new ideas, level up, and go through that cognitive cycle all over again, they're building perseverance by productively struggling through this experiential episodic knowledge that games provide.
Finally, Nina invited the audience to reflect on the current state of mathematics, tackling the question of how math integrates (or doesn’t integrate) with our culture, and what designers can do to help empower students.
Reflecting back on the event, Nina had this to say about her overall experience at Design Week:
It was great to connect with other designers in the community and industry. We're all working towards a better, more meaningful experience for students and teachers, but coming from different approaches. That's what makes it so valuable to have the opportunity to come together and share.
Nina is exploring ways to bring more humanity into math, and the need to create more inclusive content that represents the stories of the students who are experiencing that content.
You can watch her presentation, as well as a Q&A with all of the designers, below!
Thank you to our friends at Clever for hosting this panel and giving K-12 education designers a platform!