*This is my first blog post for my graduate class WUEDT6020 Emerging Trends in Educational Technology at Wilmington University.*

When my school first started adding technology (i.e. BYOD and iPads) about 4 years ago, some teachers were excited about it, others not so much. Our administrators encouraged us to use it in our classrooms, provided some PD on it, and modeled using it in our staff meetings. Eventually most teachers gave it a shot, but our math teachers struggled with how to use it with their curriculum. Most searched for "math" apps. After attending various webinars and listening to several podcasts, I realized "math" apps were not going work - I needed to find apps that were able to be used for any concept, not just specifically for practicing math facts, factoring, or solving equations for example. I needed to find non-content specific, creation-type apps that I could build many of my lessons around. Apps that could be used throughout the school year with any topic. Apps that the students became comfortable with and adept with because we used them consistently. Some of the apps I began using on the iPads were:

Then along came our 1:1 Chromebooks. Luckily they had touch screens because many of the apps I had used on the iPads also had web-based applications that I could continue to use, and many had drawing features, which work really well for math because students can show their work when solving problems and not just submit their final answers. Many math teachers complained because a lot of the applications did not have equation editors so adding complex math equations with the necessary symbols was difficult if not impossible. I have seen much improvement in this area - many more applications have added the ability to write math equations, making them much more user-friendly.

I feel like through the past few years I have really scaled back with the amount of technology I use in my classes. I used to try out new applications all the time and experiment with my ~~guinea pigs ~~students. I would like to fall short of saying that I used to use technology just for technology sake, but now I do think more about whether the technology will really make my lesson better and help my students understand concepts better. Here's a short list of applications we use in my math classes this year:

With the exception of Desmos, the rest are all non-content specific, making it easy to use them for any topic we are currently working on. Actually, I have used the Desmos Activity Builder card sort for many other concepts besides graphing, so I guess you could consider it non-content specific as well! As far as Kahoot! goes, I don't use it because it makes a lesson better, I use it because it's a super engaging way to review before a quiz. Another major player in my classroom is Google Classroom, but I didn't include that in my list because I think of it as more of a learning management system than an application to teach with. It's what's I include links to in Classroom that is the actual EdTech that I use to enhance student learning.

If you teach math and are looking for ways to integrate technology, I would highly recommend you checking out this short list of applications. I have also blogged about several of them in the past as well. (Check out my blog archives on the right side bar.)

What applications do you use in your math classes? I would love to hear about them!

Thanks for the reflection, Caryn! Love hearing how your thinking is evolving over the years!

ReplyDeleteThanks Laura! Notice Classkick was in both of my lists!! Woohoo!

DeleteThanks for sharing the math resources. I have a hard time with making sure I use the right amount of technology. I have always thought I needed to integrate it more and students needed to be on a computer/iPad everyday for x amount of minutes. But after reading your reflection, I realize that I don't want to overuse it either. I have to work within my means and do what is best for students.

ReplyDeleteYes, I definitely think I overused technology in the first few years in my quest to find great ways to use it with math concepts. I agree with you that you have to do what's best for your students. Sometimes the tech doesn't actually help the students learn the concept any better, but in my opinion if it makes it more engaging, that's a win for everyone. Applications that are more game-based such as Kahoot! or Socrative's Space Race are two that come to mind that I use regularly and my students keep asking for more!

DeleteClasskick sounds like a great app for having a blended classroom environment. I like how you can see the students work as they are completing it. I am very interested in how I can create my formative assessments without paper! Thank you for sharing this app.

ReplyDeleteMichele, I really love using Classkick and so do my students. You can take screenshots of a PDF worksheet and put it into Classkick, or you can start from scratch and create your own problems. You can add images and sound clips for instructions too. I like to use it when my students are graphing on the coordinate plane. I just add the coordinate plane image to each slide and give them a different equation to graph on each slide. Super quick and easy to throw an assignment together, even works well for sub plans. I've been home sick but still checking in on my students and leaving hints and comments as they work (that kind of freaked them out at first because I wasn't in school but was still watching them work!). Give it a try and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions! I'd love to help!

DeleteClasskick sounds like a great app for having a blended classroom environment. I like how you can see the students work as they are completing it. I am very interested in how I can create my formative assessments without paper! Thank you for sharing this app.

ReplyDeleteMy students always enjoy our desmos classroom activities. This is the first year that I have actually started creating my own lessons and I could not be happier with the web application. The classroom activities start with a blank slate and help build knowledge through a strategic sequence of student tasks, usually having a different task on each screen as you go through the activity. The Desmos Activity builder allows you to decide which screen you want to design or you can simply start from scratch. Teachers can select from three types of screens which are graphs, questions, and text. I found it extremely easy to add pictures to the text and questions helping with student engagement. You can always go back and modify your activity. My students save student.desmos.com on their favorites and I just provide them the class code. I know quite a few teachers like to provide the URL for their students which is simple enough too!

ReplyDeleteHi Scott,

DeleteHave you tried the card sort feature in the Activity Builder yet? I love it because it can be used for just about any concept, not just those involving graphing. I blogged about it briefly in a past post: https://mathtechyblog.blogspot.com/2016/11/swdmathchat-expressions-and-combining.html

Really excellent job, but after reading, I'm glad I don't teach math though. Your list of different applications to use for math class is very concise. It seems as though the methodology of teaching math keeps changing. It's nice to know that there are plenty of different types of tech to keep up. I also feel as though teaching math requires more differentiation than other subjects and so, again, it's great to see so many different ways for a teacher to connect to their students.

ReplyDeleteJason, you're so right! Teaching math can be challenging. The old ways of teaching math (how we learned math) is no longer considered the best, so I am continually searching for better ways to help my students succeed - sometimes that includes tech and sometimes it doesn't. I really feel that technology helps with the differentiation part though. It makes it so much easier to deliver various levels of instruction to my students - helps me be in two places at the same time!

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