What are the most popular or needed math online resources for adult learners?

Did you know that LINCS currently provides resources for adult learners in the form of America’s Literacy Directory? What other resources do adult learners need in order further their own education and training in the area of math? For example, learners can use www.freerice.com to independently practice multiplication tables. What other online resources do your students use? 


Khan Academy is really, really popular, but ... it is full of pretty basic mistakes.  Many are so basic that students don't even notice them (he says that two plus itself times one is the same as two times one ... which made me just about fall off my chair, but I suspect others would have automatically screened it and turned it into what he meant).

The other little reality is that his videos are all about procedure, not concepts.  They're great if they're backing up good teaching, and the practice exercises are good (except when his lesson is about the area of rectangles, and the questions are about the area of triangles, which he didn't include -- I hope that's not typical but can't count on it).   



I use the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives in  my classes before my program could purchase their own set of manipulatives.  Now, I use the site to demonstrate how to use the manipulatives we have purchased.  I LOVE teaching factoring quadratic equations, multiplying binomials, dividing polynomials, demonstrating functions, the list goes on and on.  Below is the link but here is a tip; do not link that says "Download a free version" - no need to download it because it is web-based.

Link: http://nlvm.usu.edu/en/nav/vlibrary.html



The website that I really like is hippocampus.  It has a full algebra curriculum and 3 "developmental " math courses.  Each course is set up with units.  Inside each unit are lessons.  Inside each lesson are topics.  Each topic has a video presentation, which includes real world context, worked examples through khan academy, practice exercises and finally review questions to show mastery.  At the end of each unit is a Tutor Sim which provides real world situations and asks the students to apply their knowledge of the concept to the situation.  There is also a puzzle, which is usually a game to practice the skill.  Sometimes I find them confusing.  And finally there is a real world project that students can complete.  I use many of the videos when I am teaching and then post them for my students (sometimes I post them ahead of time so students can prepare for class).  The one negative thing about hippocampus is that you don't log in and you don't have an account.  You can not track the work that students do.  To get around this, if I assign anything, I have the students take a "print screen" of the page that shows their score and they email it to me.

One of the sites I really like to use with adult learners is www.gregtangmath.com -- I had the pleasure of seeing Greg Tang present at the ISTE conference in San Antonio 2 years ago - the take-aways for me from that session made the whole conference! If you go to his website - check out a game he created call Kakooma. I LOVE it!!

Have folks seen these videos? I think they each pose very compelling and powerful critiques as they talk about the severe limitations of learning through watching videos. I plan on showing the first one to my students once classes start in a month. I'll let folks know what how they respond.

What do others think?

Jessie, I had never seen freerice, but that is a pretty awesome dual-incentive to have rice donated for every correct answer you give. The Basic Math (Pre-Algebra) is not bad - it's rote, but it's fine for students who want practice along those lines outside of class... and it's for a good cause.

I'm not sure if you are only asking about sites geared for students themselves to use. If you mean for teachers as well, I recommend checking out CollectEdNY.org. It is geared towards teachers, not students, but it has a lot of resources that would be helpful to adult learners in terms of engaging classroom materials. CollectEdNY reviews free online teaching resources for use in adult ed classrooms; the reviews are written by adult ed teachers and professional developers from NYS. The site also allows any adult ed teacher to reply to the reviews and ask follow-up questions or share their own experiences with the resources being reviewed. CollectEdNY is a collaborative project of the NYSED, CUNY Adult Literacy/HSE Program and the Literacy Assistance Center, funded by the NYSED Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services. 


Mathematics Professional Development Coordinator

CUNY Adult Literacy and HSE Program


I think it would be horribly egregious to judge the value of learning by video on Khan Academy!  

One (of many) pervasive problems with Khan Academy is that he throws in advanced topics in the middle of basic things.    When a student asked me for resources to understand averages and KA was still kinda new, I checked it out...  Khan Academy Average Lesson is my blog post about it.  






These are lessons made by math teachers :-)   

I love www.mathantics.com           It has free, well-done, entertaining video lessons of operations through geometry.  They have started algebra.  The worksheets are a subscription service but worth it.  If the student doesn't understand the worksheet problems, another video does the worksheet with the student!  

gfclearnfree.org  is a Goodwill training site that is good for students with basic operaqtions skill needs.  Each number needing to be entered while working a problem has a block to be typed in.  The next block for a number will show up only when the first number entered in the answer correct.

a feature I use with www.mathisfun.com is the mathtrainer (search for it).  It can do timed/untimed addition, subtraction, multiplication, division drills.  

And a last resource - mathtv.com - is problems that accompany a series of textbooks.  This professor has his students (3-4 for each problem) show how to work a given problem.  One video clip for every problem is a Spanish-speaking presenter.  

Math Playground has a lot of good stuff, and most of it avoids being childish. Many of the games are more along the lines of critical thinking than drill. I just had a student in class this morning getting excited about this: http://www.mathplayground.com/GapZappers/Gap_Zappers.html

I like the list of resources that everyone has provided -- I'm a fan of Thinking Blocks as well.  Does anyone know a site specifically dedicated to adult learners of mathematics?  I know there are some ones for GED Math that truly are not good but was wondering people's thoughts.  

Also one site that I encourage  my Spanish Speaking students to reference is https://www.spanishged365.com/matematicas.   


Hi everyone.

Glad to see some more online resources.

I presented a workshop on this topic a couple years ago. Here are some resources that haven't been mentioned yet.


This is at the pre-algebra level. The videos are kind of corny, but the materials are a complete pre-algebra community college developmental-level math course (the same material I had been teaching before community college developmental math changed nationwide). For students who are at that level, something like this can help them prepare for college placement. I think this course is also listed in Hippocampus (which is part of NROC - National Repository of Online Courses).

For even more advanced students, the Community College of Aurora (in Colorado) has an on-line (but not interactive) Algebra review. Find it at:


For multiplication fact drills, I like:


         It is FREE and timed.  Make it a game – can a student finish 15 multiplication facts in 1 minute? You set the operation (add, multiply, subtract, divide). You pick the Highest and Lowest number that will be in the fact. Do the facts in groups:  0 low, 5 high; 6 low, 8 high; 7 low, 9 high; 5 low, 9 high. That reinforces those "big" numbers. Practice it yourself first so you can give students explicit instructions on what you want/expect them to do. If they can practice at home, they can do a "print screen" of their best result, put it in a Word doc and e-mail it to you.

For a little geometry, try GEOGEBRA. Totally interactive - the student can play around with constructing figures/shapes. And FREE.


                main site – must download software; click MATERIALS to see activities


                WHY “invert the 2nd fraction and multiply” works


                exterior angles of polygons


No one has mentioned Shodor.


Click on LEARNER ACTIVITIES. Sort by subject at the top.

The site looks like it is for K-12, but a lot of activities are available that fit with what our low-level math adults need. There is a good index, but it can take a little time to find exactly what you want.

And my all-time favorite -



There are games and worksheets. Teachers can also (by "copy, paste, crop") make fractions to use in instruction or quizzes - check the TEACHERS section.


I'm excited to try some of the other sites people mentioned that I hadn't heard of.


Dorothea Steinke

Lafayette, CO