Technology

My philosophy about using technology in the classroom is that it is easy to teach with technology but we must make sure that technology helps facilitate learning. It is not enough that technology help make our jobs easier. Although I do believe that that is a big role that technology plays in a teacher’s life. Helping to reduce the carbon footprint of schools by reducing the number of textbooks out there, reducing that amount of paper that we use, photocopying that we do and hence amount of energy that we use, time that we need to do our job, etc. However, our number one priority should be helping our students learn in better ways.  Secondly, technology should be making quality education more accessible to more students.

Technology should enhance learning by allowing for reasoning and sense making in mathematics. It should hold students accountable for making connections between the application of an idea and the justification of a concept. So there are multiple uses of technology in learning and I believe that we are just at the beginning of the use of technology in education in general.

At my school I am very fortunate to have access to almost any tool that I could ask for and I am fully aware that not every school has this advantage. Because of this, I can experiment with technology in how helpful it can be in the classroom. I use the TI-84 graphing calculator mostly because it serves the purpose of preparing my students for their standardized testing in a college-prep environment. There are other choices, but I believe it is definitely sufficient. I use GeoGebra currently because it is an opensource software but have also used Geometer’s Sketchpad and feel that they both have many benefits in terms of dynamic geometry software.  I am also starting to work with Geometry Pad, an iPad app that is an excellent dynamic geometry app.

I started taking part recently in an iPad pilot program at my school and have been enjoying finding apps that have been helpful in the classroom. One that I have found most helpful in working with students individually (outside of the classroom) is called Educreations. You can find all of my educreations videos at my site here. This is just a site that allows me to create hand-drawn videos on the iPad and narrate while I am drawing and then post them for students if they need some review, extra help or clarification of other students’ presentations from class. It’s actually really fun and interesting for the kids. I think our next way to work it out might be for all of them to do this and and we make a site for our class and share the videos in class. I’m not sure. We’ll see, it’s an experiment.  Here’s an example of one of my Educreations videos:

My school is also starting an iPad pilot program which I took part in starting last year.  I’ve had an iPad and played with many apps that I’ve found useful or not very useful.  You can read my blog entry about what I think about apps.  I also have a list of apps (you can find linked in that blog entry as well) from last summer that I gave out at a talk that I gave .  Here are some more that I think are useful that I’ve used more recently.  I’ll be doing a talk on them and the pilot program that I did this winter at a conference this summer.

Here are some iPad apps that I recommend highly.  Feel free to contact me if you’d like to know how I use them in my classes.

GeoGebra
Notability
Voicethread
Desmos
Educreations
Geometry Pad
MyScriptCalculator
Algebra Touch
Sketch2Graph

Here are some GeoGebra applets that I use in the PBL curriculum with students for different problems or labs.

Geogebra Applets