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How Technology is Changing Math Classrooms for the Better

math is everywhereGuest Post by James McConville, as part of the EdTech Blog Swap

Math is everywhere, there really is no escape!

Sounds ominous, but there are so many opportunities to see math that is readily available in the world around us.

This blog post looks at all the opportunities there are to discuss math with students and how technology supports they way we do that.


Making connections to what we already know.  Mind mapping the big ideas.

I’m been thrilled to see recently published math textbooks include a mind-map for each chapter to graphically show how the concepts in that chapter related to information that students already know.  Take for example the mind-map below.  Imagine if a student was to keep a year-long journal of things they learned in math as a mind-map.  They could then ‘connect-the-dots’ to make sense of what they have learned.  By the way, this mind-map was created in bubbl.us 2.0 beta.  bubble.us has a great interface and is a free online mind-mapping site.


mind mapping


Virtual Manipulatives

The latest breed of math textbooks are so much more than just a paper resource.  If you haven’t checked the CD or website that is linked to your school’s math textbook, here are some nifty features you can expect:

  • note taking –ebooks have a way to store notes in the student’s version.  The can personalize the book and make notes of the ah-ha’s in a way that we would never want them to do in a paper book.
  • virtual manipulatives – these are typically java or flash-based interactive learning objects that reinforce the concept.  My favorite site for these is the Library of Virtual Manipulatives.
    (Editor’s note: DreamBox Learning also has virtual manipulatives that any teacher can access for free!)
  • videos – watching someone else solve a math program can really help students.  The great thing about online videos is that they can be watched over and over again.  Of course YouTube has lots of math humor, here is one of my favorites with Ma & Pa.

Thinking about math

The two photos in this post are from the creative commons on flickr and they do a great job of getting us to think about shapes in our environment.  With all the cell phones in students’ pockets, what if they all had to capture a ‘math’ photo each day and shared them with a common tag on flickr.  There would be a lot of math to discuss!



Post a comment, how do you thing technology has changed the way we think about math?

Wall photo from eworm on flikr, mind-map by James McConville, pear shapes from Kaptain Kobold

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