Finding it hard to function in a one-to-one 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 technology-based lessons in such a way that they can be saved and used again next year. Over time, you will have a nice collection of technology-based lessons that you can implement throughout the year.
To get you started, here's 5 simple ways to create a technology-based math lesson:
1) Use Virtual Tools such as GeoGebra.org to create Interactive Animations
GeoGebra is a multi-platform 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 non-commercial 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 hand-crafted 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 web-based 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 Multi-Media 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 multi-media 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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Hi!! 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.