Finding it hard to function in a onetoone environment? Stuck giving boring lectures? Still standing at the xerox machine for hours making copies of worksheets? Then it's time to move into the 21st century and bring technology into your classroom. I'm not talking about just posting worksheets in your Google Classroom feed. I'm talking about truly using technology to teach the mathematical concepts that use to be presented in lecture format.
First off, anyone new to implementing technology in the classroom should definitely start off slow. Creating one technology related lesson per week will keep you extremely busy. Always create your technologybased lessons in such a way that they can be saved and used again next year. Over time, you will have a nice collection of technologybased lessons that you can implement throughout the year. To get you started, here's 5 simple ways to create a technologybased math lesson: 1) Use Virtual Tools such as GeoGebra.org to create Interactive Animations GeoGebra is a multiplatform mathematics software available to students, teachers, and schools. It can be implemented for all levels of education, and it makes a connection between algebra, geometry, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics, and calculus. It's an easy to use interface and is available in many languages. The authoring tools allow you to create interactive animations that can be used to "spice up" your old, boring lectures or the animations could be used as an inquiry based lesson. These animations can be housed on the GeoGebra website or embedded on your own website. Because this software is open source, it is 100% free for noncommercial users. 2) Use Google Sheets to help Students Think Critically A nice way to do a lesson on scatter plots is to create a Shared Google Sheet in which students add their collected data. Some aspects of mathematics need to be experienced with, not dictated. Allowing students to collect the data is very valuable and should drive instruction. This also allows for a large amount of data to be collected in a short amount of time which will give students more time to analyze the results and think critically. Since students are collecting the data, errors are prone to happen. Allow these "outliers" to show up, but use the opportunity to discuss what outliers are, how they affect the results, and why they happen. 3) Use Desmos.com to allow Students the Opportunity to Explore Desmos is commonly known as a free online graphing calculator, but what people don't realize, is that it offers much more. It can be used to graph functions, plot tables of data, evaluate equations, explore transformations, investigate families of functions, and much more  all for free! Desmos also provides handcrafted activities created by teachers. If you only want to use it as an alternative to the traditional graphing calculators, Desmos is definitely more fluid and more interactive. Graphs that are created using Desmos can be emailed, embedded in your website, or used to create an image. 4) Use Zunal.com to create a Mathematical WebQuest Zunal is the easiest way to create a WebQuest. A WebQuest is an activity where students use internet resources to acquire information that is then used in a group project. Zunal gives you an easy platform to create and house your WebQuests. It is webbased software that lets you create a WebQuest in a short amount of time, and best of all, you don't have to know anything about HTML coding. Don't have time to create a WebQuest? Don't know how to create a WebQuest? No problem! Zunal also provides easy access to browse WebQuests that have already been created by other educators. 5) Use MultiMedia Projects to allow students to make their own Math Tutorials Instead of having students watch someone else's math tutorial video, have them create their own. Have students record video or use a screen capture program with slides in a slideshow. The advantage of doing this using a variety of multimedia aspects allows students the opportunity to create something original which will make them think more about the mathematics. Above all else, remember to focus on 21st century skills and content knowledge. Within each lesson, emphasis a deeper understanding of the mathematical concepts rather than shallow knowledge. And engage students with as much real world data and tools as you can. Any form of technology is a tool for more student centered, relevant learning. It's not what you use, it's HOW you use it!
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A little over four years ago when my school corporation started talking about going 1to1, most teachers went into panic mode. What exactly did this mean? What kinds of changes were going to take place? And most of all, my fellow math teachers exclaimed, "math curriculum can't be digital, students HAVE to show their work." I contribute most of these fears to a lack of experience with technology and how to implement it within the classroom. For me, the good part was that it was going to take at least two years before the transition to 1to1 was actually going to take place. So my thought was: jump on the bandwagon and get ahead of the game.
I immediately started researching digital curriculums, 1to1 environments, leaning management systems, and various options for classroom websites. I attempted to read everything I could, good and bad. And believe me, there are lots of philosophies out there to read. Next, my plan was to take several months and experiment with what was going to work for me in a math classroom setting once every student was given a device with internet access. Prior to this time, I was already using lots of different types of technology within my classroom such as graphing calculators and a student response system (iClickers) along with a few others. And anytime I wanted to involve the internet in my lessons, I just needed to schedule time in the computer lab. Not a problem, we had been teaching like that for years. But now, we were going to be given an opportunity to expand our use of technology in new and unique ways. After months of researching and trying out different options that I had found on the internet, I finally decided on creating a classroom website. It turned out that what I actually created was a nice resource for students and parents. Assignments, lecture notes, powerpoints, and videos were now available 24/7. Students could choose to learn anytime and anywhere that fit their needs. Great! I had got my classroom ready for the 1to1 movement PRIOR to our school implementing 1to1. Little did I realize that the only thing that I had truly done was "digitize my curriculum". I had made digital files of all of my worksheets, lecture notes, and powerpoints and had placed them on my website. Yes, this saved time and money (no more standing at the xerox machine making copies & wasting paper). but I had not actually created a "digital curriculum". After I had been using my classroom website for about a year, I stumbled across an article on the internet that talked about a "digital curriculum" verses a "digitized curriculum." Boy, did that open my eyes! Now, don't get me wrong, having a digitized curriculum is good. It does allow parents and students access to everything they need 24/7. What better, more convenient learning environment could we possibly provide our students in the 21st century? However, I wanted to truly engage my students in learning and technology that would prepare them for college and any future career that they might choose. So once again, my researching started up again. Finally, after a couple of years, I am starting to see the positive results of building a digital mathematics curriculum that I like. It is constantly changing and evolving as I come across new ideas. And I am sure that it will continue to be an ever changing process that I update regularly. In my next blog entry, I will share some of the early ways that I started using technology to build my digital curriculum within my mathematics classroom. Every teacher, who is just starting to create a digital curriculum, needs to start out slow and create a good plan for implementation.
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AuthorHi!! My name is Amy Cole, and I love to teach and develop curriculum. After 28 years of experience in the classroom, I've decided it's time to share what I've learned from my experiences as a classroom teacher. ArchivesCategories 