Thursday, December 20, 2012

Changes in resourcing math classrooms

Over the last five years there has been a change in resourcing mathematics.  Once the domain of the textbook and worksheet, increasingly mathematics is becoming a dynamic and thought provoking class engaging students in a range of activities that go beyond the chalk and talk lesson.


iPads are becoming a go to tool for mathematics classes.  The symbolic data entry problem can be overcome (unlike with laptops) enabling a range of activities.  Tools like Socrative allow formative testing to occur and can help drive students through the learning process.  Organisational issues such as lugging texts, diaries, bringing pens can be reduced to "have you charged your iPad today".  Active lessons requiring spreadsheets and graphs can now be done at the desk, rather than at the computing lab.  Social learning, such as generating texts based on mutual learning of students or sharing of video tutorials between students,  is now possible with increasingly ubiquitous internet access.


iBooks are exciting.  Now with access to math tools, it is easy to generate an iBook/ebook.  Hop into iBooks Author, type up your material for a lesson, issue it to kids. ... but now the process continues ... learn what works in your social context, edit the iBook and re-issue it next year.  Get the kids to comment on how good it is and make relevant changes.  Share the iBook so that others can use your starting point.

Social Learning Networks

Social learning networks take teaching to a new level.  By extending the reach of teachers beyond the classroom, teachers are able to broaden their subject base beyond four hours per week.  Students are able to see what problems other students are having and help out, or get help on a "just in time" basis.


Interactive whiteboards are an easy to implement supplement to teaching.  Remember the days of rubbing off notes three minutes are writing them.  Not being able to go back and revisit notes and remind students that you had already covered a topic.  Not being able to save notes and store them for students to later look at solutions for problems they have not completed.  Being able to display video easily without having to set up projectors or TV's.


Before screencasting I would get frustrated re-teaching the same idea as students became ready for it, based around a need for differentiation in the classroom and being able to present ideas as students were ready for them - scafffolding at the right time.  Now I can generate a series of screencasts and link them together with apps like edmodo (for embedding it within a series of lessons) or prezi (to show how a subject links together).  They also force me to think how I reached an idea and how to better present it.

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