#Peel21st Blog Hop – Being Flexible, Low Tech Options in the Math Classroom

This post is part of a #Peel21st Blog Hop.  Once you have read through my post please scroll to the bottom and click the links to read and enjoy what the other awesome Peel 21sters have to say about Math, Tech and 21st Century Learning.

When I originally signed up for this blog hop my plan was to share my experience with using the app ShowMe in a really great spontaneous math (division) lesson.  My grade 3 students and I were having a debrief about their division task (How many ways can you put 18 into equal groups).  The chat was so engaging that I put ShowMe on the ipad, Air Played it and recorded their answers orally and visually.  I was going to post that video on this blog tonight but I’ve lost the video.  I don’t know if I didn’t save it or didn’t actually record it but technical difficulties are a reality when you are using technology in your classroom.  I’ve had to learn to be flexible and think on my feet.

So let me give you another example.  Last month we were looking at 3D solids (prisms and pyramids) and the students rolled up paper into tubes – yay G.O.O.S Bin – and created 3D Skeletons of their solids.  They could work alone, partners or small groups.  I always give the students this option as I feel it’s important to honour their moods at the time and their preferred learning style.  It’s interesting because they rarely choose the same grouping.  For this activity even the students who were working “alone” were not really because the discussion and conversation was so alive.  I heard comments like “this is the best math ever” “this is like art/math”, and “my solid has triangles that makes it as stable structure” or “When you see a solid like this it’s so easy to count the sides and vertices”.

I was going to have them share the attributes as a group but I had kids finishing at different times so instead I decided to use a low tech option.  I asked them to grab either their own device or use the classroom iPad to make a video to describe.  This made them even more excited and it gave my kids who have quiet voices in the class an opportunity to shine.  In fact the 2 videos I am going to share feature some students who are reluctant to share so it’s fantastic that they were able to and they did confidently.  It was also a great opportunity for me to reflect back later on as I uploaded their videos into my google drive and provide feedback to the students and know what we needed to work on with 3D solids and where we could go next.

So to recap and reflect here are 3 main points to consider when using technology in the classroom during math or any time.

1. Go with the flow – technology doesn’t always work the way you want it to be flexible and think of a new plan.

2. Consider low-tech options.  I learned this from my awesome ITRT Tina Zita.  You don’t have to use fancy apps.  Just using the camera roll, voice recorder, or the video recorder is simple, easy and fun for kids.  It can be any device and easy if you are just starting out with tech.  And low-tech options have less tech-problems

3. Recording with voice or video gives your quiet or reluctant speakers a chance to share their story and have their voice heard.  It also give you time to go back and reflect on their understanding and learning.


Tell me what you think – and then hop on over to some other great #Peel21st Blog posts

Phil Young –http://wp.me/p3RGo2-1LB

Jay Wigmore – jwigmore.wordpress.com

Don Campbell https://ateachingyear.wordpress.com

Jonathan So – http://mrsoclassroom.blogspot.com/2015/04/blog-hop-digital-learning-in-math.html

Jason Richea –  http://beyondangrybirds.blogspot.ca/2015/04/edtech-numeracy-unite.html

Tina Zita https://misszita.wordpress.com/​

Graham Whisen – http://ideaconnect.edublogs.org/2015/04/14/digital-learning-with-math/​

6 responses to “#Peel21st Blog Hop – Being Flexible, Low Tech Options in the Math Classroom

  1. Thanks for highlighting that #21stCentury learning isn’t about adding the flashy tech! Keeping it simple but meaningful is key. The camera roll is my most used ‘tech tool’ as well. Great simple way to document learning.

  2. Low-tech options are sometimes the most effective choice for students especially for the reluctant type who might also be teach-fearing.

    And yeah tech doesn’t always work….and you gotta go with the flow

  3. Shivonne, your blog post reminds me that it is not the tech that makes lessons meaningful but the teacher. This has been resonating with me for a while now as I look at all the teachers who have been asking me about what app should I use for this, or how do I use tech here. Then when I recommend the app or tech they tell me the lesson bombed. It didn’t go the way they wanted it too. Many teachers think that tech is the end all to be all, that its some sort of miracle cure but it isn’t. It doesn’t replace good teaching. You were able to recognize that change needed to happen and then you were able to adjust and go with the flow. This is because of excellent teaching skills. Bravo and great post.

    • Thank you – what a nice compliment!

      You make an excellent point. Good teaching is good teaching whether you are using tech or not. Tech isn’t what makes it strong. It isn’t what gets the students to understand a math concept. It makes my life easier for documenting and it certainly hooks the students in but it’s still all about knowing your students and meeting their needs.

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