Breadcrumbs seems at first glance to be a math practice app, but the real lessons focus on the process of solving problems. The app, developed as a prototype by the EDesign Lab, gives students the freedom to solve math problems in their own way through sketching, taking notes, testing theories, and erasing failed strategies. Throughout this process, Breadcrumbs records the student’s screen and creates a video of their activity. Students can then go back through their process, code their problem solving steps, and share work with their peers and teachers.
Taking notes while solving a problem feels natural to many learners and most apps constrain this process, but Breadcrumbs gives users full reign of whitespace around the problem to mark up and erase at will. Students can even expand the scope of the screen if they run out of room. Once the problem is solved, the screen recordings are easy to navigate and examine. The animations on the app are cheerful and the word problems are charming.
Breadcrumbs is still a prototype and though the concept is sound, the content varies in difficulty and audience. Teachers may want greater specificity in addressing particular math concepts. Though Breadcrumbs honors the organic process of students, at this point there is no way for users to move the problem solving process forward when they are stuck and no verification for correct answers. The tool seems best to use in a blended environment with a teacher or tutor observing and following up on work in the app.
Breadcrumbs is a unique app that encourages students to think critically about their problem solving process while giving them the freedom to approach questions from their own perspective. This strategy seems like it could be integrated into other education apps and even learning management systems. Partnerships like this could also help Breadcrumbs focus on more specific content that could be used in the classroom.
The Bottom Line:
Breadcrumbs solves the stickiest problem solving problems.
Image: Logo via Breadcrumbs