ST Math moves beyond the novelty and gimmick of teaching technologies, reminding us that smart boards, shiny gadgets, and flashing lights are less important than good teaching., Beyond Gamification:
Cutting-Edge Technology Meets Alternative, Progressive Education

Neuroscientist Shares Life-Changing Visual Approach to Math Instruction at TEDxOrangeCoast

Santa Ana, CA, May 20, 2011 The non-profit education researcher and publisher MIND Research Institute's Co-Founder, Dr. Matthew Peterson, spoke yesterday at a prestigious non-profit TEDx OrangeCoast event in Costa Mesa, celebrating innovative ideas in technology, education and design. A selection of more than 15 innovators from organizations including PepsiCo, UCI, and PIMCO were invited to present their ideas worth spreading. Dr. Peterson, a neuroscientist, discussed “Teaching without Words.” He explained how and why visual games are a highly effective way to communicate math concepts to students without reliance on abstract math vocabulary or symbols. Dr. Peterson developed a visual, computer-based math education program, ST Math®, that is used in K-12 schools to help dramatically increase students’ math achievement.

“The idea worth spreading here is that all students, not just those with special needs, can benefit profoundly from some opportunities to learn without any words at all,” said Dr. Matthew Peterson, Co-Founder and Senior Institute Scientist at the MIND Research Institute.

More than 1,000 guests gathered at the event to hear a compelling lineup of visionaries, including Dr. Peterson, share the transformations that occur when borders are crossed and barriers are broken. TEDx Orange Coast’s “Innovation Without Borders” was held at Segerstrom Concert Hall. The complete list of speakers is posted on the TEDx OrangeCoast website at

Through a scientific study in collaboration with UC Irvine, Dr. Peterson and MIND Research Institute put ST Math into 106 elementary schools in Orange County. Within one year they were able to triple the rate of growth in math proficiency compared to neighboring schools that didn’t use ST Math. Last year, MIND replicated the result in Silicon Valley, Las Vegas, Chicago and Houston. This simple innovation of removing language barriers is able elevate math proficiency everywhere we put it.

“Because these visual games allow students to touch, feel, see, and interact with mathematics it’s able to clear up many of the mysteries of how math works,” said Dr. Peterson.

Innovations are often developed through a collaboration of people who share revolutionary ideas in thinking, products, processes, or organizations. And today the most successful innovations are those developed because no artificial borders were tolerated. Borders may be geographical, cultural, educational, physical or psychological. No matter their foundation, they often stop people short of realizing their innovative potential. TEDx OrangeCoast was a day of innovative revelations with all borders removed.

The goal of TEDxOrangeCoast is to create a platform for ongoing support of innovative ideas and to promote Orange County as a hub and springboard for all forms of innovation. TEDxOrangeCoast is a not-to-profit event and is being organized and produced by a team of volunteers who are committed to the vision of TED and who support TEDx, independently organized local events that promote great thinking and action.


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