Indianapolis high school adopts math educational tech from IU, IUPUI startups

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School establishes learning commons, launches Graspable software

INDIANAPOLIS -- Students at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School have the opportunity to strengthen their math skills by teaching their peers and using technology and services from startups launched by Indiana University and IUPUI education experts.

Crossroads Education LLC, an education and logistics technology startup, has created the Community Mathematics Assistance Center in collaboration with IU and Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School. Students are paid to work as peer tutors in the 2,000-square-foot space, which facilitates collaboration around math content during the school week. Kevin Berkopes, director of IUPUI's Mathematics Assistance Center and Statistics Assistance Center, is the company's founder and CEO.

George Sims, assistant principal at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School, said the IU Health Careers Opportunity Program, or IU-HCOP, presented an opportunity for school leaders to meet with Berkopes.

"We were already familiar with the idea of a Math Assistance Center because of our partnership with IUPUI and the Special Programs for Academic Nurturing program," he said.

Sims said the school's Learning Commons provides students the opportunity to gain critical math skills as well as the soft skills of collaborative learning and communication.

"The Crossroads Education learning space will provide our students with the tools and support they need to become even stronger math students," he said. "The Learning Commons space at Crispus Attucks has had more than 2,000 visits since it was implemented."

Berkopes said the peer-driven workforce quadruples the number of content teachers at the school.

"Students teaching in the Learning Commons scales equitable access to support to the entire school rather than just focusing on innovating in the individual classrooms," he said.

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School has also adopted Graspable Math technology from Graspable Inc. Students open a browser on an electronic device and follow a URL link to a page with a set of algebraic equations. Students can touch the screen to move the terms around to solve the equation or to simplify and rearrange expressions. Graspable was founded by Erik Weitnauer, president; David Landy, research and product leader; and Erin Ottmar, teacher outreach and content leader.

"The interactivity of Graspable Math is amazing," Sims said. "The students and staff have really taken to using it. They quickly learned how to use the program, which is fairly intuitive and simple to use."

Sims lauded the leadership at Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School for adopting the services and technology from Crossroads Education and Graspable to strengthen their students' abilities in math.

"STEM education helps to support career and college readiness. The use of interactive, adaptive and collaborative tools and methods supports the acquisition of 21st-century skills," he said.

Crossroads Education and Graspable licensed their innovations through the IU Innovation and Commercialization Office, which protects, markets and licenses intellectual property developed at Indiana University so it can be commercialized by industry.

About the Indiana University Innovation and Commercialization Office

Indiana University ICO is tasked with the protection and commercialization of technology emanating from innovations by IU researchers. Since 1997, IU research has generated almost 3,000 inventions resulting in more than 4,500 global patent applications. These discoveries have generated more than $142 million in licensing and royalty income, including more than $115 million in funding for IU departments, labs and inventors.

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