last night I joined VSTE in their Adobe Connect room to talk about our use of iPads and some of my favorite Math apps. It was an interesting experience. I am used to speaking in front of an audience, or at a webinar, in front of a chat room where the audience is “present.” Last night, however, I used the Reflection app to mirror my iPad on my laptop screen. I wanted to demo apps live. To make the content easier to view by attendees, I had to go full screen. That meant I did not see my audience or their chat. I found it a bit disconcerting, being unable to gauge my audience’s reactions while presenting.
Well, I had a couple of Goochland people in the audience, although I didn’t know it while I was presenting, and they liked what they saw. So, I’m fine with all that.
So what did I present?
I introduced the topic by talking a bit about what we call the 21st Century Classroom in Goochland. You can learn more about that form my presentation at the EdTech Conference. We do not have a Math classroom set up in this manner, but we are certainly working towards more technology in the Math curriculum. This push has gained momentum since the Virginia Department of Education announced changes to the Math Standards of Learning tests. The items will no longer be comprised exclusively of multiple choice questions, but will require students to demonstrate a greater understanding of the concepts tested. This is not bad, of course, but change is never easy and our belief is that enhancing classroom environments with technology that allow for greater differentiation and flexibility will help.
The strategy involves using iPads in centers where students collaborate and teach each other. We have selected apps that help students understand concepts. We do have apps that drill specific skills, as this is sometimes necessary, but the aim is to enable teachers to better identify the areas where students need help and work with them in small groups, or individually, as other students collaborate on projects or practice specific skills. In some ways, it s a return to the elementary classroom setting at the secondary level. Julie García (iTunes U link) transformed her own Math classroom several years ago, and we have borrowed much of her approach.
Here is a list of the Math apps I have installed on my iPad. Most of them, and others, are on the student iPads. They are a combination of free and paid apps. The paid ones are definitely worth the money.
Logo Draw (a favorite of mine!)
Wolfram Alpha, Algebra, and Pre-Algebra
Math Flyer (check out the website, too)
Contig (I can’t say enough about this game!)