2/6/2017 9 Comments
Tech as a Tool for Exploration & Visualization
Although I just posted recently that I strongly believe that the classroom needs to be rooted in pen and paper, that does not mean that our students need to be stuck in an era before technology. There is nothing wrong with allowing eager learners the ability to take advantage of living in the 21st century. In fact, that is part of what education is all about. Improving ways to teach, learn, and grow is how we make the world a better place.
I think the most effective way to integrate technology in a math classroom in the 21st century is to use interactive apps that allow students to explore, investigate, manipulate, and visualize properties.
Allowing children and young adults to explore math through virtual tools is amazing. They can discover new connections by engaging on new levels which will increase their academic success. Most of us grew up in classrooms with limited technology. Just a few decades ago there was typically only one computer lab for the whole school and we all took turns getting to experience the cutting edge technology of DOS, Windows and Macintosh.
This was the birth of technology in the classroom; integrating virtual lessons to enhance our comprehension while having fun. And those were the days that were the best. When it was your classroom’s turn to play Number Munchers, you were having a great day at school. You could sharpen your basic math skills while playing video games, which was living and learning in the future to our parents. Not to mention a ton of fun for us kids.
Tech for Hands-On Student Engagement
Adding excitement helps improve the ability to learn through increased engagement.
Our kids get the same thrill and benefit of having technology in their classrooms as well. Even though the technology has grown leaps and bounds since we were in grade school, the feeling is the same. We are instantly more enthusiastic when we are able to explore concepts through other platforms.
Top 7 Interactive Apps & Virtual Tools for an Inquiry Approach
1. GeoGebra - It’s no secret that I love GeoGebra. Their application of dynamic mathematics software is great for all levels of education. It brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package.
2. Ooops App - This “Order of Operations” activity is a fun way to practice the order of math equations and problem solving. This addictive game app sharpens math skills as well as cognitive development and critical thinking for any algebra students.
3. Hands-On Equations - Just like it sounds, this Hands-On app allows you to interact with algebra with games and lessons. Students will have fun with the experience of having success with sophisticated algebraic equations.
4. Attributes by Math Doodles - Discover the joy, wonder, and fun of mathematics through patterns and interactive puzzles while using different parts of your brain. The key to understanding math is understanding patterns. That’s why this app is perfect for exploring math. In a brain-based approach like my own favorite Math Doodle Notes, students get to creatively use both hemispheres of their brain while learning basic and complex concepts.
5. Algebra Touch - Students really get a hands on feel with this app. Using the touchscreen technology you can manipulate algebraic equations, such as isolating variable by dragging X’s and Y’s to either side of the equation. It’s a perfect all levels of algebra, from beginners to advanced.
6. Geometry Pad - For a more advanced geometry student, this app packs tons of benefits. Students and teachers can use it in class for a deeper understanding of geometric concepts. Easily create complex geometric sketches, measure everything you have in a document, and experiment with shapes and transformations.
7. PhET Interactive Simulations: Math - “Beautiful and responsive tools bring light to tricky math concepts.” This free app is great for students and teachers in beginner or advanced math subjects. It includes a draggable “Trig Tour,” an interactive “Function Builder,” curve fitting and graphing apps, and more!
Technology will never fully replace performing math by hand, yet it is a fantastic way to explore mathematical concepts. I hope some of these help build your students understanding of higher-level math concepts! Share your own favorites in the comments area below to help us discover more great apps!
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