Mathematics

by | Mar 1, 2016 | 0 comments

Technology is shaping and changing our world. Learners are different! Expectations are different! Learning is different! (even though testing isn’t!) It is a challenge getting it right! Changing to adapt for learners today is important. Doing this in a way that they also do well in existing exams is good!

Using technology for the sake of it is a bad! Looking to enhance and enrich learning and teaching is good!

  • What constitutes authentic use of technology in maths?!
  • How can technology enhance and enrich learning in maths?
  • How can technology help with teaching maths?
  • argggghhhh – TIME – SUSTAINABILITY! How can we do this in the time we have!?!!!

Technology can enhance and enrich mathematics learning considerably at all stages and it can help teachers with their teaching practice as well. This page is to explore some options to get the most out of using technology for maths.

Technology used effectively for learning Mathematics:

There are a number of themes worth exploring for mathematics learning! Ways that technology can be used effectively in learning mathematics. Each of the themes will be extended upon below.

Technology use in Maths:

Here are some tried and true ways that technology can be used effectively for maths learning.

Access, Research, Investigation and Resources

Just having the ability to go into more depth on a topic or lead learners to resources to read and reflect upon is an obvious and easy application. A great way to learn as a teacher as well. For example, the other day we were finding the diagonal length of our classroom using Pythagoras Theorem (fun stuff!) and we wondered if there was a name for the diagonal across the room and sure enough . . .. … there is! The “space diagonal” pretty cool name hey. This led on to “face diagonals” which made a lot of sense and gave relevance to the question. This, in turn, led us to explore Pythagorean Quadruples in cuboids which are a whole lot of fun. I will let you explore those yourselves! Go on Google it! The point is that the lesson and the work around Pythagoras was so much richer through the investigation of one term and came about through being led by inquisitively.

Access, Investigation and exploration tools:

There are great tools, services or apps for most subjects. Maths has a number of crackers. I have chosen to highlight a couple of tools and why they make the learning better.
GeoGebra: (clever name) This powerful tool takes a bit of getting used to but is superb for investigating patterns and properties. The GeoGebra community is huge with Geogebra tube and other great resources all ready to be used, built upon, shared or embedded. Geogebra files can be embedded into pages when a concept just wants to be highlighted too. Check out learningshared.com.au/geogebra for more details and examples, including an embedded bit of locus fun.

Desmos Calculator (and Classroom and Now Desmos Geometry): again just a superb tool for investigating properties and patterns. Users can easily graph to compare and contrast and recognise features. The tool changes the emphasis of a lesson to be about what is happening and why as opposed to labourously plotting and hand drawing each graph. Users can go into far more depth with the content and they ask different questions as they explore. Read more about Desmos Calculator and classroom on learningshared.com.au/desmos

Formative Assessment Tools and Feedback:

Formative assessment is particularly great to get a temperature check or pinpoint issues in the classroom. There are a plethora of tools and a number are highlighted with a great overview and outlines on our learningshared.com.au/formative page pulled together by Elle Smith. Many of the tools enable the option for recording results if users have accounts. The more seamless the exercise and the more sustainable the solution the better!! (ie can you find or share content.) Tools like Kahoot are a lot of fun but students that are a bit slower or make mistakes early can often switch off.

Tools that also tick other boxes are worth exploring further so let’s have a look at a couple that also build on Soft Skills.

goformative!!! this is a newie for me and I was only shown it the other day in an all-staff meeting by our Head of Science Bec Collett. I have since tested it out and it certainly has legs. It is superb! I look forward to using this more but for now, some details and information can be read on our goformative page: learningshared.com.au/goformative

Quizlet and Quizlet LIVE: Tools like Quizlet are superb with so many quizzes already created that you can use but particularly harnessing Quizlet Live which also builds on soft skills with students in making them move into groups and communicate in the group while competing against others is pretty cool. Check out the review and overview of Quizlet and Quizlet live at learningshared.com.au/quizlet

Tools for help, support and extra practise:

There are a myriad of tools to aid in this area, in fact, it is a little like drinking out of the fire hydrant (to coin a phrase) so choosing an appropriate tool that works for you is important. There are so many so let’s focus on some great ones out of Sydney.

First up from the newest mathematics teacher celebrity and quite rightly so we have Eddie Woo of Misterwootube.com fame for brilliant examples of passionate teaching and great explanations.

Next up out of Sydney, we have mathslinks.net from Simon Job which just gives really useful and easy to use materials through a sharing community. I really like the maths starters and reckon they would be good for any subject hehe. A superbly designed website too!

All subjects have awesome folks like Eddie and Simon like this. they may not be out of your own city like these two are to me but finding great resources and sharing them is important for us all.

In relation to actual tools, This year I started using Mathspace and I have been seriously impressed on a number of fronts. I have found holes in my teaching at a glance and also been able to give tailored feedback to individuals as required which is proving to be a sustainable solution. Mathspace has a number of modes but I particularly like that it marks working out and gives feedback and support. Read more about Mathspace with screenshots and more detail at learningshared.com.au/mathspace

Creating Content (for teachers and students)

Creating content builds better engagement, more enjoyment of the work as well as pride in work and memorable relevant outcomes. Creating content brings into focus a demonstration of understanding as you need to know the work to be able to explain it. Check out our page on how Creating Content can be great for learning.  learningshared.com.au/content-creation

Creating content generally, leads to deeper learning which is great for “the test in twenty years” or even for the recall the next time the content is needed. There is, of course, a great bonus for everyone in that we end up with personalised, reusable resources. But a big product of content creation that excites me personally is that creating content usually enables and encourages Creativity.

One particularly great way to create content in maths is by creating explanation videos where students add their narration, annotation and interaction as they explain the topics. This can be particularly awesome if the content is the finished product is then shared as a discussion post where others have to provide constructive comments. Check this example where we created Maths videos using explain everything. http://www.learningshared.com.au/2016/05/28/embedded-ipad-skills-explain-everything/

NOTE a good trick here is to share a project so that they can get straight to the scripting and creating. More tips and tricks for this method can be seen in the Explain Everything page with tips for teaching and creating. http://www.learningshared.com.au/explain-everything/

Teaching tools and options:

Mobility and digital handwritten notes: Firstly being mobile while projecting is one of the most powerful classroom management techniques and helps keep students from misuse of technology (of all sorts) When this is coupled with a bit of “Digital Ink” to write your notes then things can get special. Great options for this are OneNote (used for the poster sketch of this session done on an iPad) or notability app. Details of mobility are on learningshared.com.au/mobility and digital ink on learningshared.com.au/digital-ink

Learning Management Systems (LMS’s) there are heaps of these type of tools in free and paid form. Common tasks that are done well with LMSs are recording, disseminating and collecting information, marking, feedback and communications. LMSs can be used in full on depth as well with grade books rubrics etc etc etc or just used well in a simple way. Options are great.
discussions in maths can be really powerful giving the quiet student a voice, allowing multiple conversations at the same time, taking the learning and interaction beyond the classroom. Discussions are beautifully used across all subjects, for instance posting an essay introduction and then commenting on other introductions. For maths basically not getting too caught up in typing maths allows the questions to be answered and asked easily.

Skills from maths  . . . …. for beyond!

Coding and Computational thinking explicitly addressed with a maths focus can be superb and some examples of this can be seen on out learningshared.com.au/tynker page.

that we could all benefit from, then please do in the comments area below.

Spreadsheeting often fits in with the maths department of a school and quite rightly so as it has so many great mathematical niceties. But it is so useful in other subjects and for life skills. Graphing and budgeting (side note graphing is so easily done in other ways) Check out some ideas for getting classes going with spreadsheeting including collaborative spreadsheeting on learningshared.com.au/spreadsheets

Professional Learning Networks, Sharing and Teachmeets:

There are so many people sharing content and wanting to help out. Building your own Professional Learning Network is a valuable thing to do. Great options are via Twitter or Facebook.Teachmeets are also a brilliant

Teachmeets are also brilliant. They are meetings where participants present short presentations, usually on a theme. Finding a teachmeet for your subject or other interest areas is highly recommended. Just Google Teachmeet and you will find local ones. Even better still, start your own teach meet!

In closing (and comments):

This is meant as a page to pull a few resources and thoughts together to help teachers and students to use technology well in mathematics. You may have some comments or further ideas

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