Thursday, June 5, 2014

iLearn with iPads in Numeracy Professional Learning

On Tuesday 3rd June, we held our second professional learning day for the teachers involved in the iLearn 1-1 iPad project. This time our focus was particularly on the effective use of the iPad in the Numeracy Block. We were fortunate to have Melissa King join the presentation team. We had a great day. Some of the activities we engaged in are outlined: 

Teachers engaged in a Quick Read and Respond activity with the NCTM position paper, The Use of Technology in the Learning and Teaching of Mathematics. Individual teacher reflections were captured using Educreations,  a simple digital whiteboard and screencasting tool. 

We also  shared another very useful NCTM article, What Are Some Strategies for Facilitating Productive Classroom Discussions?  The article identifies 9 key strategies for facilitating productive discussions including: 

1. Anticipate strategies that students might use to solve the tasks and monitor their work,  & 2. Use Teacher Discourse Moves to move the mathematics forward"

We then wondered:
How can the use of the a range of ICT tools extend & enhance the mathematical discourse opportunities in our 1-1 classrooms?

In other words, can we think beyond selecting and using the so called " best Maths apps” ? Should we instead be considering how can we utilise the available ICT tools to support the types of discourse  which will advance students abilities to reason mathematically and communicate their solutions with their teachers and peers.

Capturing Arrays with the Camera

Throughout the day participants were immersed in a range of practical warm up tasks and rich investigations. They frequently used the camera and screencasting apps such as Explain Everything to capture and share their solutions.  Melissa also modelled how powerful it is when the teacher is the user of the iPad camera and Explain Everything to capture students thinking during a maths session. The teacher seizes a "teachable moment" and then uses Airplay to discuss student solutions, and also provides enabling prompts to help further the learning.
Cinema Task Solution on Explain Everything

Warm Up - "Busting Arrays"

"Investigating Quadrilaterals" with Geoboard App
Some key takeaway messages from the day were:
  • Using iPads in Numeracy is less about the apps and more about making mathematical thinking and reasoning visible? 
  • The camera on the iPad is a powerful digital tool which, when used strategically, can enhance and support substantive mathematical conversations. 

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