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Polyup Addresses Gap in Computational Thinking Skills with Launch of a Free and Open Problem Solving Platform for Math Teachers and Students

Educators have a new digital resource to address the increasing need for computational thinking and problem solving skills among students. Polyup, a Sunnyvale-based company led by a distinguished team of math education researchers, physicists, technology developers, educational philanthropists – and one enterprising high school senior – today launched the multi-dimensional digital world of ‘Poly,’ a personalized AI sidekick that taps into student’s emerging interest in “modding” to develop skills that are increasingly relevant in today’s world.

“Computational thinking is rapidly emerging as an essential skill for today’s students, and will cause a transformational change in how critical thinking and problem solving skills are addressed in our math classrooms,“ said Professor Yahya Tabesh, co-founder of Polyup, and winner of the Erdős international award for his sustained and distinguished contribution to the enrichment of math and computer education. Dr. Tabesh’s research on cognitive learning systems at Stanford University sparked the idea for Polyup as a computational thinking playground. “By putting a physical form to key math concepts in an open platform, Polyup is a unique resource helping teachers inspire a mindset in their students of seeing the tangible impact math can have on the world around them.“

“Technology has fundamentally changed our world, yet the way we learn and approach problem solving has remained relatively the same,” said Shaya Zarkesh, co-founder of Polyup. Zarkesh has always loved mathematics, as evidenced by awards won for his problem solving pursuits, and hopes to spread his love for math to the world with Polyup. “By building a global community of math content creators, we hope to encourage the development of computational thinking skills and in the process empower a new generation of critical and agile thinkers.”

Polyup is available for free via web for laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The visual, self-paced environment allows for students to freely experiment with numbers and functions. Through the web portal or app, players can both engage with and create Poly Machines that reveal gamified computational challenges which must be correctly modified before the players can advance to higher levels.

Teachers and students are able to generate unique Poly Machines tailored to mathematical skill levels ranging from 3rd grade through 12th grades, and share them with their classroom, or to other users around the world. The flexible platform provides a variety of activities perfect for supplementing curricular work and engaging activities for new concept introductions. Backed by months of extensive user testing, Polyup has found that these activities revitalize the classroom by encouraging rapid experimentation and instilling a growth mindset in mathematics.

The result is a dynamic, innovative user-led movement to ignite interest, engagement and fluency in key computational thinking skills used in concepts from number sense, order of operations, and word problems to functions, algebra, sequences, series, algorithms, logical thinking and numerical solutions.

“Polyup blends visual mathematics problems with algorithms. It introduces people to computational thinking in a casual gamified environment,” explained Jo Boaler, professor of mathematics education at Stanford University, the faculty director of youcubed at Stanford, and an advisor to Polyup. Boaler added, “Polyup is one of the greatest platforms I’ve ever seen - I suggest math teachers give it a try, it’s free - and great!”

“Ultimately, Poly Machines can be associated with physical, real-world objects, from robots, drones, to books and classrooms, and players will be able to creatively mod(ify) their functionality with math,” said Dr. Amir Zarkesh, chief executive officer and co-founder of Polyup, a particle physicist, serial high-tech entrepreneur, award winning teacher, and father to Shaya. “We have started a partnership program for robotics, games, toys, publishing, and consumer electronics companies to enable creative engagement in their products with a Modding-as-a-Service business model.”

Polyup’s leadership team also includes Zohre Elahian, a philanthropist in education and director of the Global Catalyst Foundation; Josh Freeney, a gaming and education technology expert and a partner at YETi CGI; and Shahin Hedayat, an accomplished serial high-tech entrepreneur.

To play Polyup and join the movement visit Polyup.com.

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