I was recently asked if I knew of any ways to help a child learn the multiplication tables. My immediate thought is that this seem to be one of those things that just have to be done by rote. The better we remember the tables, the easier it will be to handle more complicated multiplication. I even said that perhaps understanding of the concept of multiplication, which is important, would come about later, and may not be necessary at the start. On reflection, I am not sure.
In my recent conversations with students, many told me that they did not enjoy mathematics in school because it appears to be largely rote learning and not always an opportunity for stretching their analytical thinking to understand the mathematical concept.
There are indeed tips and tricks, and of course apps, which make mathematics more accessible by stressing on the mechanical aspect but not necessary aiming for understanding. Perhaps these are good for giving confidence or increasing the motivation of the learner but not sufficient for deep learning in mathematics?
Here are a few samples of such tips, tricks and an app (free too). What do you think about them?
Drawing Lines to Multiply (Was first told this was Japanese, and now Mayan in origin)
What seems interesting for this app is that you can set the multiplication sets as well as whether the questions should be sequential and sequential ordering would be helpful for learning.