Reflections on My Use of Technology in Math

In looking back at the path I have travelled over the past three years since TAS went 1-to-1 with laptops, I feel I have made substantial growth as a teacher in today’s world. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the process has been a gradual one, although quite rewarding. I now watch the students grasp concepts at a much quicker rate than they did 4 years ago. I believe this is the case largely because of the lessons I am creating that involve technology and the fact that the students have so many resources at their fingertips that they can peruse and learn from as well. Studies have proven that the brains of the digital natives are wired differently than ours, and as teachers, we need to keep this in mind.

Someone once asked me, “If you had the choice, would you get rid of the laptops and go back to how teaching used to be done?” My immediate answer was, “No way!” I have absolutely loved the results I have seen by the students and the professional growth I have made as a teacher. In an attempt to share my journey with you, and possibly spark some ideas for your own math classroom as you move forward on this journey, I have created a list of how I have incorporated various forms of technology in my classroom. My list includes everything from the “experimental” phases to ways that I am currently utilizing technology in the learning process. I can’t guarantee that they are all innovative uses, but hopefully something to get you going.

Started with simple tasks

  1. Sending files digitally, helping students organize their notebooks digitally
  2. Creating instructional videos (including audio and visual demonstrations) for my students to access from home
  3. Finding algebraic patterns and determining formulas by using excel
  • writing formulas either    1) from scratch   OR    2) using the function bar

Creation of several new projects using technology

  1. Excel spreadsheets (Dream Vacation/Stock Market)
  • Basic formatting – borders, alignment, font size/style/color
  • Data collection – sorting, filling rows/columns
  • Math specific – using formulas to convert prices; dragging formulas;  formatting different number types; translating data sheets into graphs (circle, simple/stacked/side-by-side bar graphs, line graphs, histograms, scatterplots)
  1. GeoGebra (Photo Essay) – this is free downloadable software
  • Importing photos of real life and identifying math concepts in the photos
  • Measuring angles
  • Angle sum theorem
  • Area and perimeter of shapes
  • Parallel lines and its relationships
  1. CamStudio or Smart Recorder paired with the Wacom tablets
  • Create instructional videos – visual and audio recordings – student produced
  1. PowerPoint/Windows Media Player
  • Create Statistical Videos – Reporting Data with a Twist
    • Music, graphics, voice threads, data/graphs
  • Determining the fractional value of a flag (see example below) 
    • Importing photos, utilizing drawing tools, inking capabilities of Wacom tablets to illustrate the math, audacity to record the steps/explanations

Fraction Flag

Internet searching for purpose of exploration

  1. Photos/graphics
  2. Online math games for practice
  3. Stock market investments
  4. Planning a dream vacation – finding flights and prices for flights/hotels using Travelocity, expedia, and airline websites; converting currencies using an online conversion tool

Smartboard Resources

  1. Daily lessons created and taught using the Smartboard
  2. Utilization of the gallery tools
  3. Insert interactive lessons from or adapted from  “Illuminations”, “Shodor” and “ExploreLearning”

Online Textbook

BrainPop videos

Blackboard (Online Classroom)

  • Daily warm ups
  • Quizzes
  • Discussion boards
  • Links for resources (answer keys, videos, note pages)

DyKnow (monitoring and vision)

  • Student monitoring
  • Digital file transfers
  • Lessons (teacher-created panels, student-submitted panels, ability to replay panels)

As I move forward and continue to develop units that are connected to the NET standards for both students and teachers, I can see several links/connections already. For one, I believe I havefacilitated and inspired student learning and creativity” by creating experiences in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Additionally, through the various forms of multimedia I make available to the students for our projects, I encourage them to “select programs effectively”. We talk about the variety of programs chosen and converse about the pros and cons. I ask students to be the experts for their peers when they have questions. I have found this to be very successful; much more than what I can provide for them. And furthermore, the projects that I have created support the student’s own learning process as well as the learning of others.

The whole process of CREATING is exciting and refreshing!