Good use of digital technology in a math classroom

The following are what I personally consider to be worthy pursuits when it comes to incorporating technology in the classroom. In fact, below are some of the things I want to incorporate into my pedagogy over the next year or so.

Digital assessment in class, or at home.

One of the biggest benefits to technology that I am looking forward to developing is a way for me to assess students, and also for students to self-assess using technology. One of the things I want to be able to do is to have an automated test management system that will allow me to assign questions for students to complete as an exit slip at the end of a lesson. I find that if students, (especially the younger high school students), are set to a task that they have to complete by the end of class, it helps with classroom management as it gives students time to practice, and to explore their knowledge about what was taught that day. I personally also have an opportunity to determine student’s strengths and weaknesses. I know of different LMSes that could possibly allow this to be done (I want to look into setting up Moodle for the next school year), and I am looking for suggestions. It would be nice if someone with experience can comment on this.

Using videos to help students learn away from the classroom.

Some students cannot learn math in a traditional classroom effectively no matter what strategies a teacher tries. One can cite academia ad nauseum, or suggest strategies for different struggling students, but I still believe that at the end of the day, some students learn math better independently or by working with people 1 on 1 (as many students in my school do). Instead of forcing these kids to learn how to learn in a classroom, I think one of the things digital technology can do is to allow different avenues for learning. There are videos found online that would allow students to learn pretty much anything that I teach in my classes. I want to one day build a site, or find some way to host a central location where there could be videos given for every single topic I intend to teach. The goal being that this resource could be something I give to parents as an alternative to spending massive amounts of money on tutors. Building this site is a task that I may entrust to certain peer tutors in the future, if I am given an opportunity to work with one closely.

Using technology to give students alternative experiences with math

Despite the abundance of technology available today for teaching math, I still find that I have yet to “make a leap” in terms of how I deliver information. It feels like at the end of the day, students find it most effective when I stand in front of the class and work through different examples as a way of learning the concept, especially at the senior math level. After all, most of my senior students are result driven and want me to show them examples they wish to see on a test. With technology, I don’t think this needs to be. As time progresses, I want to find different activities that can be done on a device that could help kids learn a bit more independently, especially at the senior level. I have already explored using the different activities on Desmos (teacher.desmos.com for anyone that is interested), and I think similar types of learning activities would give students a chance to learn things a different way and maybe help avoid building up misconceptions along the way.

As a follow up to these types of learning activities, it would also be interesting to develop assessments that weren’t necessarily the traditional math test where students are given a set amount of time to solve a number of different questions. With technology, is it possible to assess students on their ability to complete a mathematical task as opposed to answering a question on a piece of paper to show their knowledge? I am interested in seeing what is out there.

I am open to suggestions on any of the things I have listed here. I look forward to your responses.

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