Algebra is the gateway to higher education and future employment, yet students struggle to succeed in algebra so much that the failure rate is astounding. In the Los Angeles School District, for example, 61% of students either failed or got a D in their first Algebra course in 2004. Numerous research studies identify the challenges that students struggle with as well as potential strategies to help students overcome conceptual obstacles. In particular, research indicates that the use of technology can facilitate the transition from arithmetic to algebra. This summer, Apple released software for the iPhone/iPod Touch, which includes potential for peer-to-peer interaction, connection to third party accessories such as sensors, and other new capabilities to its touch screen interface. The growing, unique capabilities of these and other future handheld devices will make it possible to give teachers and students affordable and continual access to multiple technologies in one device. Can these technologies help turn the tide of failure in Algebra courses?

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