The following posting is written by David Moss. David was an elementary teacher who is working on his master’s degree in mathematics education. He is interested in finding ways to effectively support students to learn math by integrating technology. (Note- Scroll down to bottom of the page for additional links and resources).
Technology is becoming more prominent in today’s classrooms. Students use computers, tablets, and smart boards while learning. In mathematics, these tools can be very useful for teachers in engaging students with new material and lessons. Online websites offer teachers a variety of lesson plans and virtual manipulatives. With so many options though, it is hard to find the good sites that teachers can use.
According to ((Moyer, Bolyard & Spikell, 2002) “virtual manipulative is best defined as an interactive, web-based visual representation of a dynamic object that presents opportunities for constructing mathematical knowledge.” While concrete manipulatives are still relevant for uses in classrooms, virtual manipulatives add to the learning experience. Virtual manipulatives give students prompts, feedback, and answers to problems while working on problems letting the students use more self-exploration. Having an internet connection at home is helpful to both the student and parents while out of the classroom while working on mathematics.
The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) is a site with many virtual manipulatives. The site is organized into five mathematical categories (Numbers and operations, Algebra, Geometry, Measurement, Data Analysis, and probability) and by different grade levels. A special feature of the NLVM is that teachers can use the eNLVM to enhance lessons. The eModules are interactive online units include lesson plans, online activities, and online assessments based on state and national standards. Teachers can use the tracking tools that allow students to submit work and answers that they have worked on, and the teacher can view the class summaries as well as an individual students answers. Teachers are also able to change lessons and activities for their students’ needs. This includes modifying, creating, reorganizing, and deleting activities, instructions, and questions. Teachers are also able to share materials with others to collaborate in developing them.
Using technology to get students engaged in a mathematical lesson can be done with a cartoon television sitcom. The Simpsons have a lot of mathematics references from arithmetic to calculus. Much of it is written to have inside jokes with those who understand different levels of mathematics. Simpsonmath.com offers where to find the mathematics references in episodes, transcripts for the mathematical reference, explanations for the inside math jokes, and activity sheets.
There are many websites that teachers can use for engaging and enhancing learning in a classroom and for students own practice at home. A+ Click helps students of all grade levels practice problem-solving skills and to use creative thinking. Math Pickle gives teachers a way to play mathematical games, solve puzzles, and have math competitions in their classroom. For teachers, Education World offers professional development, lesson plans, and resources. Super Kids offers worksheets, games, and “brain food” for students. These are just a few of many websites that can be used.
Smart boards in classrooms are the new whiteboard and give teachers a great way to present websites and virtual manipulatives to the whole class, groups, or individuals. Smartboards support interactive learning to students. They promote student interest, more sustained concentration, and more effective learning (Miller). Smartboards have the potential to make manipulatives
more accessible to large groups of children, and to use the shared learning experience within the classroom to further enrich students’ learning” (Mildenhall, Swan, Northcote & Marshall, 2008).
With the increase of technology, students and teachers can take advantage of these on their tablets, computers, and smart boards. Virtual and concrete manipulatives reinforce mathematical concepts separately but a combination of both is the best way to achieve the best results (Burns & Hamm, 2011). Websites can offer the engagement to lessons and the use of virtual manipulatives through technology creates “the opportunity to make meaning and see relationships as a result of one’s own actions” (Moyer et. al., 2002).
Moyer, P. S., Bolyard, J. J., & Spikell, M. A. (2002). What are virtual manipulatives?. Teaching Children Mathematics, 8, 372-377.
Burns, B. A., & Hamm, E. M. (2011). A comparison of concrete and virtual manipulative use in third- and fourth-grade mathematics. School Science and Mathematics, 111(6), 256-261. doi: 10.1111/j.1949-8594.2011.00086.x
Mildenhall, P., Swan, P., Northcote, M., & Marshall, L. (2008). Virtual manipulatives on the interactive whiteboard: a preliminary investigation. Australian Primary Mathematics Classroom, 13(1), 9-14.
SAVE TIME: INTERACTIVE WHITE BOARD TEMPLATES
Mary Mathews, a student teacher at the University of Nevada, taught a math lesson using an interactive board template. She figured out how to take a regular word document and turn it into a template to write on in the interactive whiteboard. She also discovered the following teacher created webpage where templates were already created by teachers. So, I asked her to share how she did this and where she found the resource.
Using an ActivBoard throughout your math instruction is a great way to engage your students and enhance your learning environment. If you are looking to pull up a document that you can write on during your instruction, follow these 5 steps.
ADDITIONAL MATH WEBSITES (These websites have multiple topics)
Dan Meyer blog-contains video problem context
A collection of high quality math games (We are teachers.com)
IDEAS FOR USING INTERACTIVE BOARD – SPECIFIC TOPICS
INTERACTIVE WHITE BOARD MATH-LINK (created by David Moss)
ADDITION AND SUBTRACTION
Fractions-IXL (Fraction bars)
MATH GAMES/WEBSITES THAT REQUIRES A FEE