Kids experience technology in a variety of ways, some households are very reliant on technology and others are not. How do you plan in your instruction for students that have various levels of exposure to technology?
There is a great article included in Mathlanding that would be beneficial to all teachers to read before they start using apps in their classrooms. "Apps in the Elementary Classroom" presents the importance of deciding what the learning goal is first then the role of the app in that learning. Take the time to read this brief article about the need to plan before integrating technology in the classroom.
To make effective use of the computer students need keyboarding skill. I realize the subject here is math ed. but we do ask students to write on occasion, and using word processing software is a tech basic that has benefits across the subjects. Some say that young stus don't have the fine motor needed, but I know a school (and a tech. teacher) who used Type to Learn, and other programs, starting in 2nd half of 3rd grade, and having many students at 30-40 wpm by end of gr. 6. This typing facility had enormous impacts in language arts and social studies as well as in math.
Boy would a time machine be helpful he. It sure seems like keyboarding skills are a no brainier, but are they. I some times see young kids tapping away on their iPads and their older siblings texting like the wind with their thumps, are traditional keyboarding skills really required? How much time away from other areas do we want to commit to teaching and learning this skill that might already be obsolete?
I don't think it's enough for our students simply to be consumers of technology created by others. If we want them to create themselves, through writing, programming, etc, thumbs don't cut it. Thumbs won't be producing novels, documenting research, writing the code that keeps us safe from cyber-terrorists, or in our arena, explaining mathematical thinking. The level of typing competence described by Uncle Bob above was accomplished with two 15-min sessions per week (supervised by a vigilant, supportive adult), a small commitment for the benefits achieved. The time spent is returned many times over in efficiency over the long term.
I think this is where technology exposure really plays a big role. Yes, many young kids can use an Ipad easily. Yes, many children by the age of 10 own a cell phone and are texting away. This, however, is not the case for every child, and these mediums require different skills than typing. With the direction and role technology is playing in our culture, I don't think we can ignore the fact that students need to learn how to use it properly. Do we really think that the computer is going to be replaced in the near future? If not, than we must continue to provide students with keyboarding skills so that they can communicate in this day and age.
We are working on a project using student response clickers and mental math. As students see the mental math question they text in their response. The software then displays the four most common responses students made. This technology raises the level of engagement for all students and has prompted a much more dynamic discussion than any of us imagined. Currently we are field testing this in 16 classrooms 1st thru 5th.
I am a math teacher using mental math activities and response clickers in my classroom. Can you contact me at my contact information on the site or through our class website? I am interested in what type of software you are testing.
Smeehan and Martinteach,
Are their specific websites that you have used that might have more information on the use of response clickers in mathematics education? I would love to add more to this site on this topic.
Clearly there are differences in student exposure to tech and different levels of comfort, but for younger students K-5, these differences have not been in my experience big road blocks. I am repeatedly surprised at how fast our students pick up the skills they need to accomplish the tasks they need to. If the student task or project is very tech heavy the teacher should provide some activities to allow students to ramp up.
Even in areas of poverty, technology can be very engaging and young students are very eager to get to use the new tools. The biggest difficulty, of course, is having enough for everyone to use it.
The present day is no doubt an age when there is cut throat competition and increase in population has added to the woes. The children are the real sufferers as education has become more intensive and every child is under pressure to perform right from early age. It is at this spot that online tutors can really help children do the extra to get an edge over others.
At this level, any technology should really be utilized with parental support, guidance, and modeling. It is important that children have good role models to show them how to use the internet responsibly and to show them where to go to get reliable information. Parents often benefit from online resources that may help refresh or teach them about a mathematics skill they have forgotten.
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