Use What You Have!

A few jot notes on what I believe counts as good use of technology in math and science learning environments:

– applications that get students interested in math/science tasks

– technology used for assessments (Seesaw, Fresh Grade)

– technology used for classroom communication (Google Classroom- forms, etc.)

As I have mentioned a few times before, incorporating technology that is meaningful into the classroom is the only way to use it. Technology has to add something to the students learning. For instance, using an iPad or flip camera to document a nature walk for science and then later commenting on what they witnessed using a program such as Evernote is a great way to get students engaged in a task and find meaning with what they are doing.

One of the questions asked was “is this a vision or is it possible in real classrooms?” For schools that do not have access to a plethora of technology, even one classroom iPad can work wonders for such an activity. The teacher can have students rotate who films a particular lesson or item of interest and the students at their own time can add their own touches (voice notes, written or drawn notes) to the project to demonstrate their learning. This could be uploaded to a program like Seesaw so that their projects are filtered into their own accounts.

Other programs like 10 Frame Fill (application) allow children to practice recognizing additive 10 families (1 and 9, 4 and 6). In a kindergarten classroom I taught at the beginning of the year, I had paper 10 Frames that the students would use with tokens. Few children were interested in it but when I downloaded the 10 Frame Fill application, they were fighting over the iPad because they loved it so much.

One of the challenges when trying to incorporate technology is ensuring, as last week’s readings/videos demonstrated, that teachers do not assume a student already knows how to properly use technology. Making sure that students are appropriately using technology (and know how to use it!) is a vital lesson that lies in the hands of the educator.

3 comments

  1. Great post, large companies like Apple take quite a large chuck of the pie when it comes to technology. It is heartening to see non profits like the Raspberry Pi Foundation start to come into play as the tech they offer like the Raspberry Pi was built to teach children about physical computing through a cheap usable single board computer. All of their software is open source and they offer a huge repository for lessons on their website. We use Ipads as well and they are great machines, but I hope that schools that are looking at spending their hard earned dollars start to move away from Apple and look at other options as I believe that open source hardware and software is a positive direction to move our corporate, consumer based culture towards a more communal, knowledge sharing community.

  2. I love your first note – getting students interested in math/science!
    This year and last year I used Splash Math in my class. I have never seen my students so excited to learn math. Parents constantly tell me that their child loves doing math at home to earn coins. Technology that supports student learning and engagement is vital.
    I also use technology for assessments, and I think its valuable for students to document and view their learning over time. It is remarkable to see them reflect on the goals they’ve met and compare their work from the beginning of the year.
    I like your idea of incorporating technology on a nature walk. I have used iPads outside for math when students were challenged to find as many 2D and 3D shapes as they could, being as creative as they wanted to. Students were taking pictures, using the draw tool to then outline the shape, and typing the shape underneath. A great way to bring meaning to math and help students see how it relates to real world.

  3. I learned the hard way not to expect students to be fluent with technology last year when I taught IT for the first time. There is so much computer skills that, as professionals, we take for granted. Even though kids these days are often called “digital natives”, there are still many out there who do not have the intuitive feel or knack for learning new gadgets or how to use certain tools on the computer. I think that any time technology is introduced, the teacher would definitely need to budget time to get people on board first.

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