Guest Post – Lucinda Legere – Mathematics Teacher, St Pius X College
I often find myself in professional conversations about the integration of ICT into mathematics education that begin and end with the use of a textbook on a personal learning device (PLD). However, we are teaching students that not only demand, but deserve more prominent and effective ICT integration in the classroom. This belief drives me to regularly re-think my own teaching practices and forces me out of the comfort of the classic “open the textbook and turn to page X” approach.
I would like to share some of my Windows 8 experiences in the hope to inspire you to branch out and carve your own path in the e-Learning world. Integrating technology into the classroom and effectively teaching 21st century skills to students doesn’t happen over night. It starts with just one step in the right direction, perhaps one ICT activity per week, and eventually turns into a new and exciting way of educating your students!
Annotating Graphs With Skitch
Skitch is a fantastic new app that encourages students to creatively annotate their work using captions, arrows, shapes and much more. I decided to integrate the use of Skitch into one of my introductory lessons on graphing simple parabolic functions and describing the translations and stretching of the curve. Students were asked to demonstrate their understanding by entering a simple parabolic function into a graphing application of their choosing, take a screen shot, open the screen shot in Skitch and then annotate their parabola. I asked them to point out the x intercepts, y intercept, equation of the axis of symmetry, coordinates of the vertex and any translations or stretching of the curve. Please check out the sample of student work below.
I ran this activity with my Year 9 Accelerated Mathematics class, and it was highly engaging as students really enjoyed using their Windows 8 tablet to complete what is traditionally a pen-and-paper task. The discussions we had in the classroom after students completed their annotated parabolas was rich and student-lead. Some of the insights that this activity lead to were “some parabolas have no x intercepts”, “the axis of symmetry isn’t always x = 0”, “sometimes the x intercept, y intercept and vertex are all at the same point”. Students were also able to receive real-time feedback from their peers by sharing their finished products with the class, which I believe is an extremely important opportunity to facilitate for students.
This experience engendered a culture of open sharing and creativity in my classroom, with a group of highly skilled students that often shy away from such tasks.
Sky Drive and Web Apps in the Classroom
We are currently working through the Stage 4 outcomes on data analysis and students have been asked to work in pairs and develop their own personal research project. This research project has been designed as an open task where students were able to choose any topic they were interested in, and the topics undertaken included opinions poverty and immigration, and starting a recycling program at school.
The students were given an open, but specific, set of criteria and on-going deadlines to meet for each stage of their project, all of which was to be completed via Word and Excel Web Apps and shared with me for ease of feedback and supervision. This project has covered important concepts such as sampling techniques, choosing and creating graphs to represent data effectively and analysing data to draw conclusions.
Students have created their own survey questions and have been responsible for surveying their targeted population, collating the data and analysing it. By sharing their documents with me, I am able to provide students with continuous feedback and assist students with navigating the use of Excel. This project has been a tremendous undertaking, especially with a class of 33 students! But, it has provided students with a real-life application of data analysis that they would never get from a text book. It gives students an opportunity to work on their interpersonal skills, having to approach members of the school community and public to ask them to complete their survey. It provides students with important 21st century skills, such as using cloud technologies and spreadsheet software to collaborate effectively and draw conclusions from data.
This project has been all about empowering students to take control of their own education and direct their own learning in a way that is interesting and provides rich opportunities.
For more Windows 8 Apps for use in the Mathematics Classroom, check out our Windows 8 Apps for Mathematics Board.
Lucinda Legere is a Mathematics Teacher at St Pius X College in the Northern Sydney Suburb of Chatswood. She is passionate about integrating ICT into the NSW mathematics curriculum and utilising modern technology to engage students. Lucinda believes in the importance of providing students with 21st century skills through targeted ICT learning opportunities and aims to be a key influencer in this area.
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