Join hundreds of maths teachers in the TES Maths group. Find lesson ideas and inspiration, share best practice and get your questions answered by your peers. This is also the place to go to debate the latest issues in maths teaching.
There has been a lot of talk on here about using iPads, iPods and iPhones in lessons, and I have just read the thread nabout mymaths with the recent contributions by the man Alex who has been making apps.
I have an iPhone and an iPod Touch, my daughter has an iPad, so I am reasonably familiar with how they work, but I have some questions about using these devices in the classroom:
1) If you use an iPad in the classroom, can you project things on the main board, and can you use an IWB to control an iPad?
2) I have download Alex's app to my iPhone but it is looking for another iDevice in the neighbourhood to play with - so I guess that's how it works - do these maths teaching apps assume that each child/pair of children has an iDevice?
3) Mainly, can one use iDevices in the classroom in any way besides each child/pair having a device and doing games with each other / against the computer? I mean, does anyone use them for whole-group teaching? Do you ask them to bring their own, or do you have a set for classroom use?
Thanks for any help you can give me to get my head around this - I feel like it's a train that's pulling out of the station and leaving me behind!!
The questions you are asking are the same questions that are being asked by everyone else who has looked at an iPad; that you are asking them at all suggests you are in fact on that train. It is possible to do almost anything you want by jailbreaking the device (not recommended). My prefered vision for use in the classroom is to see them connected to projectors via bluetooth (this can be done, on a jailbroken iPad, Youtube it) and then they can be used as mini-whiteboards that can be passed to the students or carried around, allowing the lesson to be delivered from anywhere. One thing I cannot see happening is using the IWB as an input. And one device per child is a completely different conversation!
likeglue2Projection is possible on an iPad, you just need to the correct adapter. But I only found it worked if I was showing photos or presentations done on KeyNote. I couldn't figure out how to get it to show, for example, a website page.
Rustybug, in answer to your first question - the iPad can project things on to the main screen using a connecting cable just like a laptop. If your students were to have iPads, you can use an Apple TV (£99 - connected to your projector) to choose which of your students iPads to display on the IWB at any time.
Third question - the iPad is actually not a great tool for students playing games against each other/the computer, mainly due to Flash issues that prevent access to sites such as MangaHigh - which will change with HTML5. For me, the iPad allows creativity within Maths, students have a greater variety of ways to demonstrate their learning; developing video content, creating mindmaps, building comic strips etc in a matter of minutes. It is also great for afl, Socrative (free app http://www.socrative.com/) allows students to provide great feedback from any web-enabled devices.
I agree with cas38 about the IWB as an input to iPads, where do you think this would be useful? Apps like Splashtop Whiteboard or Doceri allow you to turn your iPad into a mobile IWB to be carried around the class in the way you describe, so you can teach from anywhere.
In response to Q2:
This teaching app (mathstrainers) that you have downloaded can be used standalone (for practice or timed practice against the clock). However there is a feature that allows two persons to play head-to-head and yes, in this mode, they do each require either an iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad device. This does not have to only be used in school: this could be used at home or anywhere (outside, on the bus, in the car...) where two people have one of these devices each.
As far as I am aware there are schools that have class sets of iPod touch's or iPad's that could use this feature in a class setting - or individual pupils may be allowed to use their iPod touch's for this purpose. I am working on another app (probably to be named MathsTeacher) that will allow teachers to monitor, guide and control activity of the mathstrainers app in the classroom so that responsible and appropriate use is made of the app to encourage progression in numeracy.
Connection between devices uses bluetooth so there is no need to allow connection to the school's network.
Hope this helps
Well, I'll only be using iPads in the classroom when they are part of the exam...
cyolba, Ned Ludd's best mate :)
I did a talk at the MA conference this Easter about using iPad in mathematics.
Over the last couple of years, I have investigated the 1600 or so apps that claim to be about maths learning. Almost without exception, they are dire. So, we are currently creating an app for learning mathematics, called Beluga.
It will be available in the summer and will be entirely free. We are covering the entire curriculum, from understanding what a number is to calculus, with a learning environment that students can learn mathematics through - rather than just practice questions, which is what most apps do.
I have been blogging about the project, which you can read on our site:
Part 1: Independent Learning has failed so far...
Part 2: Working with the Brain
Part 3: Why Touch?
Part 4: Learning Analytics, Adaptive Learning and Artificial Intelligence
Better - Safari hates TES!
I am using hubby's old iPad 1 in the classroom at the moment. I am still in the 'setting up and playing' phase, and have found some apps like 'teacher planner' and 'things' to be useful in terms of my organisation. The main reason for having it (for me) is that I have a mac at home, which means I have access to iBooks author (free app for the mac). I am making my own iBook (works as a pdf too) of rich tasks etc, which will mean that I have all my investigations in one place, on my iPad. The sixth form are getting their own iPads via some pay-weekly scheme the school have set up, so I plan to use some graphing apps with them, and will also start creating revision guides in iBooks, rather than the current paper version.Apple TV is great, so long as your school's proxy server doesn't interfere. The alternative is to plug in with a cheaper cable option, but it means you are tethered to the front of the room when using it with the IWB. Get yourself on Twitter, and check out #ipadchat for more ideas :)P.S - my investigations so far are available here: http://bit.ly/y9kP8N and will be updated again very soon :)
NEARPOD and Beluga
I am really excited about these developments and the potential impact they will have in learning.
NEARPOD appears to be working along the same line of thought as myself but for free and allowing teachers to create their own material. I have looked at the website and would love to hear more about the use in classroom. Does the technology have to be hooked up to the school network for an internet connection or is communications via bluetooth? Is there any sort of head-to-head challenge mode? How does it work when some students work much faster than others (i.e. differentiated work) - can pace adapt to the individual?
Reading the Beluga material, again this seems a different approach at using the iPad technology - the app will adapt and work with the individual, allowing progression through Maths at their own pace. And it will hold a complete curriculum of Mathematics. I feel that this is an ambitious, adaptive approach that will provide a real use of the technology. It also draws on game-based learning, which is a motivator that pupils understand and engage with.
I will be watching this develop keenly. I feel that there will be a step improvement in engaging with Maths and by this a similar improvement in success in the subject.
Bring it on indeed. A step-change in:
1) Kids' ability to play games (They do too much of this already. Education shouldn't be about entertainment. And, of course, I'm sure Mr. Gove will jump at the chance to change the outmoded and worthless GCSEs into a game player's paradise. Employers, too, will be chuffed to bits at the mathematical expterise of their employees).
2) Depedence on spending huge amounts on technology that will need to be updated every 2-3 years. (Because, let's face it, the public sector is awash with cash at the moment and will be for the foreseeable future).
3) Giving kids another way to avoid work. (Because the security measures in place in schools' networks are so difficult to bypass. MI5 could learn a thing or two from school network managers).
4) Giving everybody from Mr. Gove up an excuse to employ more unqualified staff in sink schools, reserving the proper teachers for Eton and its ilk. (If a software package can deliver differentiated work that the kids are engaged in (as is suggested here), why do you need an expensive graduate to watch over them?)
I find it odd that many of our competitor nations do not feel the need to sell out their future tobig business on the flawed concepts that a) business is best; b) kids are commodities; c) sitting down and learning something that is hard is not a worthwhile enterprise; d) expecting kids to only work when they re being entertained is somehow a good thing. But, od ocurse, these things are only for the oiks. I bet the top private schools don't spend lessons on Manga High, do they?
cyolba, warming himself up with a weekend rantothon :)
Of course this won't work. Yes - I'm contradicting myself. Pupils don't want to learn so the last thing they will do is to work on their games machines playing at Maths things when there are much more fun things they can play with available. After all practising Maths is hard work. We shouldn't be thinking of new ways to engage pupils in the classroom or elsewhere - they just aren't interested.
On the other hand though, I have seen pupils who do actually care about their learning and are prepared to put in effort to succeed. These are the pupils we can work with. I've noticed that pupils from different backgrounds and cultures have different attitudes towards learning.
If we can provide tools (and that is all that these things are) that can assist the teacher to allow interested pupils to move forward, then that must be a benefit. If they already have the hardware themselves there is no outlay - pupils should be allowed to earn the trust of the teacher to show that they are actually engaging with the material - if they don't then fine (no use of their mobile device in the classroom).
In terms of drill apps: we see so many higher ability pupils at advanced levels in their Maths using their calculator for the most basic of sums: they may be able to understand the Maths but the pace of work is inhibited by their poor numeracy. It is so important at the earlier years to get pupils numerate and then to keep them numerate: there is a good argument for mental maths practice in the classroom - but differentiation is such a problem to organise (some are left unchallenged and others can't get off the ground). Using handheld devices for drill practice in the classroom makes some kind of sense to me: pupils will work together but independently of eachother at their own pace - with the proper monitoring features built into the devices to ensure they keep concentration, can get assistance when it is needed, can see progression to new levels (c.f. game play), and the teacher can record these results - then I see this as a powerful tool is a good teacher's armoury.
Having looked at Nearpod - it is in "beta" and requires registration - I presume there is a central data server that contains all the lesson materials - it reminds me of Qwizdom but with iPads/iPods. I expect it will need a connection to the internet which has specific problems as well in our culture. Having also looked at Beluga's revision package, I am less heartened by the hype - but I like their ambition and intentions.
'Good' resources don't make 'good' lessons. All of the teachers whom
I consider the very best can teach a class with literally a single
whiteboard pen, a single whiteboard and a sheet of paper for each
pupil. Technology should not replace where it does not improve, there
are places for technology, mainly for circle theorems, and showing
pupils alternate angles or real time plotted distance time graphs. For
showing videos of ideas, pictures of real life maths, layering sounds
and music over images, or metronomes.
What technology should not be used for is glorified flash-card games.
I would like to make the distinction between teaching and practising skills. I believe teaching and learning is something for teachers and pupils - technology can be used to improve communication and engagement.
For practising skills however, I feel that technology can be used very successfully to maintain and improve numeracy levels.
ALEXWATT I feel that technology can be used very successfully to maintain and improve numeracy levels.
I've got to say that the technology that actually maintains and improves numeracy levels was in use by Roman times - the wax tablet.
It's modern equivalent, a wipe off board or an exercise book is by far the best way to practice numeracy.
(Though to work on mental arithmetic, very little beats a dartboard - though there are clearly drawbacks when behaviour is an issue!)
With a dartboard you can practice your two and three times tables. Only one person can play at a time. It is a game though and it would engage them. Doesn't quite work with decimals, place value, or integers though.
ALEXWATTWith a dartboard you can practice your two and three times tables. Only one person can play at a time. It is a game though and it would engage them. Doesn't quite work with decimals, place value, or integers though.
You need to do a bit of adding and subtracting too ... (depending - I tend to add the three darts and then subtract from the running total). You then need to keep track of whose go it is and what the scores are. There is also the social interaction element of playing nicely together.
Then you need to know that you need to have an even number when the total required is low. And then working out which double you need. As someone with good numeracy, but who rarely plays darts nowadays, I am always incredibly impressed when the commentator says something like: "so, treble 18, single 7 and double 10 to finish".
Clearly decimals and place value won't work, but darts is not to be underestimated.
ALEXWATTFor practising skills however, I feel that technology can be used very successfully to maintain and improve numeracy levels.
Well obviously, since you're developing and promoting your product on here.
But sorry, I just don't believe it.
The best way to practice maths is with pen(cil) and paper. That way there's a trail that can be examined when things go wrong.
I've yet to see an "app" (and the ones illustrated on your website certainly don't do this) that capture the "workings out". At best they have an answer box (like MyMaths), at worst a multi-guess option (common with Quizdom and with your app).
So great, the app can capture how many questions have been asked and how many have been answered correctly. (Yes, a boon to marking.)
But, without a great deal of thought and planning, (something I've yet to see in these apps as most are randomly generated for good reason), the "wrong" answers will never allow a teacher to identify why the answers were wrong.
And the right answers won't actually show you that the kid actually knows what they're doing. The kid may have worked out a strategy to eliminate many, perhaps all, of the "wrong" answers without actually being able to find the correct one.
Top of page
TES Editorial © 2012 TSL Education Ltd. All pages of the Website are
reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit any material on the
Website for any commercial purposes. TSL Education Ltd Registered in England (No 02017289) at 26 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4HQ