How students and teachers are using iPad apps to accelerate math learning – Part one

By Scott Dowling – Numeracy Resource Teacher, and Tyler Cave – Student Work Study Teacher

An important part of any school day in a Simcoe County classroom is assessing how and what students have learned during a math lesson. This information helps teachers figure out what should be taught next to best meet the students’ learning needs.

For the most part, teachers assess the students. However, it is equally important to have students work with the teacher to monitor their own successes and identify some challenges in order to set goals and improve work for the future. This helps them take ownership of what’s being taught and give their voice to how best to learn.

Teachers at Coldwater Public School are using innovative iPad strategies to encourage students to assess their own learning, build comprehensive learner profiles and capture real time student voice and thinking in order to make the learning and teaching of mathematics adaptive to the needs in the classroom.

Self-Assessment with Educreations at Coldwater Public School

Collaborative Inquiry facilitated by: Daina Greenwood (teacher), Grade 6

Using an iPad app called Educreations, students are taking a critical look at their own math work to reflect on what their successes are, what they struggle with and what they need to learn next. While this self-assessment strategy has been used by teachers for a long time, using iPads helps to make this happen in a way that could not happen in the past with a pencil and paper.

This is the way it works: At the end of a math lesson, students answer a math question that reinforces the new learning from that day. After they complete their work, the students use the tools in the app to colour code their answer based on how confident they felt in answering the question or understanding the math concept. A red colour would indicate the student saying “I don’t get it” or “I am just guessing”. Orange colour code means that the student is “mostly getting it” or “almost there” and green means that “I definitely understand this!”

Take a look at these examples below, where Grade 6 students use an iPad tool, colour coding and voice recording to reflect their understanding of how to solve a math problem:

This student shows that she is confident that she can determine the litres of water wasted per day from a leaky tap.
This student shows that she is confident that she can determine the litres of water wasted per day from a leaky tap.

 

This student is unsure which type of graph would best suit the data, but can easily come up with another survey question based on the data.
This student is unsure which type of graph would best suit the data, but can easily come up with another survey question based on the data.
This student uses voice recording to explain to his teacher why he was not sure which type of graph would suit this survey question.
This student uses voice recording to explain to his teacher why he was not sure which type of graph would suit this survey question.

Recording student voice has many benefits to the student’s learning:

  • Students are always encouraged to build self-regulation skills by learning how to check progress on their work and critically reflects on their own strengths and needs. This will help the student identify and reach their goals.
  • Voicing a mathematical solution reinforces new learning for the student.
  • In a busy classroom, a teacher can sometimes have a hard time getting a chance to talk to every student at the end of a math lesson to see how they are doing. However, by having the solution and student voice of the child recorded at the moment they solved the problem, the teacher can revisit the student work and the student voice reflection to help plan the best possible math lesson for the next day’s class.

When asked about using iPad apps like Educreations in the classroom, one Grade 6 student commented: “It was an effective way to do math. It was fun to type with the colours, kind of like mini-smartboards. The colour shows understanding, more entertaining, neater. The next steps is for the app to have a ruler choice, hard to draw straight lines.”

As you can see from this student’s voice, the technology is working for the students to help them stay engaged, understand the math and reflect on their learning.

This post is part one of three in a series. Come back on Friday, Feb. 13, for part two on building comprehensive learner profiles with Google Forms.

2 thoughts on “How students and teachers are using iPad apps to accelerate math learning – Part one

  1. Pingback: How students and teachers are using iPad apps to accelerate math learning – Part two | Sharing Simcoe

  2. Pingback: How students and teachers are using iPad apps to accelerate math learning – Part three | Sharing Simcoe

Leave a Reply