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ALUMNI PROFILE


Alex Randall ’10 works for Reas


MATH FACING THE FUTURE Written by CHRISTINE VASQUEZ


T


he traditional classroom configuration with teacher lecturing at front, students facing forward, is slowly changing. Reasoning Mind (RM), which seeks to provide a first-rate mathematics education to every child, is one organization attempting to turn things around for the better. Alex Randall ’10, an engineering graduate, is an analyst for


RM, which uses a hybrid of online and face-to-face instruction. Founded in 2000, the nonprofit bases its program on an international mathematics curriculum that has proven effective in high-achieving countries such as Russia, China and Singapore. RM promotes its innovative model as one that could improve mathematics education in the United States. Currently, teachers at schools in five states have been trained and certified to teach the RM math curriculum.


“It’s rewarding to know that we’re not only helping kids learn math, we’re also helping them become passionate about it.”


Students, grades two to six, learn mathematics


in “RM City,” where they are guided through the material by an animated “Genie” and receive points for each success. Based on their grade level, students spend the 40- to 90-minute class time participating in interactive lessons and problem solving. They


hone their skills playing games solo or against a classmate, writing e-mails to the Genie, touring the library’s reference materials or decorating their customizable space with points they’ve earned. They are challenged, Alex says, but not to the point of discouragement. “The RM software gives the teacher an opportunity to spend his/her time


more efficiently in the classroom,” says Alex, who helps to design software and improve the business processes at RM. His work also includes leading the configuration of a customer relationship management system and aiding in recruitment efforts for new analysts. Fellow alumnus Richard Bowen ’10, a mathematics graduate, shares similar responsibilities, but with more of a focus on software design. The software adjusts the difficulty level based on the student’s performance


and is designed to challenge students of all learning abilities. Teachers determine students’ activities and use reporting tools to monitor student progress. Alex says that every day is a new challenge working for an organization


that’s changing and growing as quickly as RM. Many schools that have implemented Reasoning Mind have seen a significant increase in their scores on state standardized tests. However, the main goal of the program is to prepare students for the next step. “One of the major benefits of RM is the strength of the curriculum in preparing students for algebra,” Alex says. “It’s rewarding to know that we’re not only helping kids learn math, we’re also helping them become passionate about it,” says Alex.


SPRING 2011 Har vey Mudd College 35


oning Mind, an organization that


seeks to revolutionize mathemati


cs education.


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