Using Technology to Support Success in Mathematics
An essential component of each student’s portfolio was their reflections on their learning. During the reflection process the student had the opportunity to better understand their strengths and weaknesses as a learner. The aim was for them to become more aware of their learning style or styles and the steps they need to take to become more successful. Once they have this awareness they should have all the skills and tools necessary to be actively involved in the learning process and to therefore take responsibility for their own learning.
Work that geometry students have been doing in their current trigonometry unit has taken advantage of each student’s greater level of metacognition – learning how they learn – and OneNote has been our key application in the learning process.
Microsoft OneNote was a new addition to the suite of productivity software installed on each SIS laptop this school year.
As the teacher I created class notes using PowerPoint which my students opened in OneNote and shared in real time during an `interactive classroom’ session. Students were encouraged to add to the class notes using text, images, audio or video files. As learners who are aware of their learning styles and abilities, they chose the method or methods that best supported their learning. At the simplest level, students were able to add text or captions to the notes to elaborate on the ideas I presented in their own words.
Here is an example of a screen where the student was able to add her own notes and circle text with a highlighter to draw attention to an easy way to remember the three trig ratios.
Visual leaners were able insert images to help develop a concept when new terminology was introduced. They had the option of doing a screen capture of a geometric construction, to insert images from the internet, or to use the OneNote drawing tools.
Here is a screen capture of the results of a Google image search for `angle of elevation’:
Students could select any of these images and send them straight into their notes – and OneNote even took care of automatically noting down the source!
Auditory or visual learners find watching or listening to a Podcast very appealing because it is media that they are familiar with. Podcasts are an excellent learning tool because they enable students to participate in ‘anytime, anywhere learning’. Podcasts can be repeated, which allows the student to learn at their own pace. They can also enable teachers to use class time more effectively as they can deliver content outside of class, which frees up valuable face-to-face time for supporting and extending students. The class has become familiar with iTunes University (iTunesU) as an excellent source of audio and video Podcasts. They can search from a variety of subject areas and topics, from elementary to university level, and the vast majority are provided free of charge. Students download the audio or video file, evaluate its usefulness and drag and drop the best onto their notes.
Using their inbuilt webcams, students can also record their own videos. Problems which seem easy at school can become more difficult when working on an assignment at home. Capturing my explanation or one from a pupil mentor is a fantastic addition to their notes!
Our Geometry course has made extensive use of Geometer’s SketchPad, a program that has enabled the students to manipulate their constructions to better understand geometric concepts. The constructions help to bring the notes to life, especially for students who learn best by doing. They had the option to take a screen capture of their constructions to add to their notes; to save and insert the actual Geometer’s SketchPad file; or to use a free screen recording utility, such as CamStudio, to record a video of the construction and how it changed while they manipulated it. The students found that they had the resources on-hand to find solutions to the trigonometry problems that were presented.
In future classes we will look at using communication and collaboration tools to continue to build success in mathematics. This will include the use of Skype to conference with teachers or fellow students, to save work in the `cloud’ to enable groups to collaborate on solutions, and the investigation of online math help sites to get instant assistance from students around the world!
To read more stories about Shekou International School visit their website: www.sis.org.cn/why-choose-sis