A new math practice tool for students comes to Penn State York

MathTutorPro.com offers students a new way to hone their math skills
Female student looking at laptop computer.

Penn State York senior, Sadie Schantz, practices math equations using MathTutorPro.com.

Credit: Jess Price

YORK, Pa. — Penn State York statistics students now have access to a new practice tool, thanks to a York Launchbox connection. Chemical engineer turned educator, Drew Zmolek applied to the Idea TestLab Virtual Accelerator to develop MathTutorPro.com — a website he designed to help students practice math.

Through the process of customer analysis, Allan Lehman, former director of the York Launchbox, identified an opportunity to use the technology for Penn State York students. He connected Zmolek with Manel Wijesinha, associate professor of mathematics at Penn State York, who worked closely with Zmolek to develop problem sets that would be most useful to her Stat 200 students to give them extra practice with statistics problems.

“Some students have math or statistics anxiety,” Wijesinha said. “By repeating the problems, they can begin to understand the method and the skill for each situation. They repeat the process because the program generates new equations for the same scenario.”

Traditionally, math practice equations are provided in a textbook, but Wijesinha noted that certain students benefit from more.

“There are some students where one or two exercises at the end of the book is not sufficient. Doing problems, especially in math-related fields, over and over gives them some insight. Just by doing it over and over, they get the hang of it. This is an ideal tool for them to develop that skill,” said Wijesinha.

Zmolek’s experience teaching math classes aligned with Wijesinha’s observations and inspired him to create a better way for students to get sufficient practice.

“As the math teacher of record in schools and universities, I’ve frequently observed students struggling with pencil and paper math worksheets, and I knew that there would be a more efficient way for them to learn,” said Zmolek. “I made a math website that provides students with instant evaluations given their response. I also incorporated other features to help them learn important math concepts. I’m glad to see that it’s helping Penn State York students learn challenging statistics concepts.”

The collaboration between Penn State York departments to help a local entrepreneur reach a relevant audience is just one example of what open-minded thinking can accomplish.

Lehman noted, “It’s exciting to connect with a local entrepreneur who’s working on a solution for students. Adding a tool that allows our students to use within their coursework is a win-win.”

To explore the MathTutorPro practice tool, visit MathTutorPro.com.