Magazine article Technology & Learning

Seeing Math in New Ways

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Seeing Math in New Ways

Article excerpt

Adding edtech solutions to the equation in K-12 math classrooms is helping students achieve new levels of mastery and confidence. Here some innovative educators share ideas and best practices.


Since implementing a blended learning model in her seventh-grade math classroom at Gilmer County High School in Glenville, West .Virginia, Kelly Barr's students have had the highest WV General Summative Assessments math scores in the school.


The blended model allows special education students in her inclusive math classes to excel, Barr says, because "they can see the math through a more visual way." In addition, tutorial videos enable all students to become more independent learners. "Students know where to seek the information and will make more of an attempt to solve the problem on their own," she says. "Through the differentiation that Accelerated Math provides my students, I am remediating and enriching them at the same time."

The result? Students of all abilities have "a better grasp of often difficult and abstract topics." They're "able to manipulate objects or use math manipulatives" and receive instant feedback, and they benefit from "assignments specifically tailored to their needs."

Barr says focus can be a challenge in the blended classroom, but with a solution called AB Tutor she can monitor all the computers in her classroom simultaneously, message students, and open and close programs-all from her desktop.


The school's technology integration specialist (TIS) Traci De Wall helps both teachers and students make the most of technology tools. Barr and DeWall co-teach eight times a year, when students create and share technology-based projects (from PowerPoint presentations to Blendspace lessons to Discovery Education boards). Through these projects, Barr's students "become producers with technology and not just consumers," and they look forward to these opportunities "to show off what they know."


Lesser teachers might run a mile from a kindergarten classroom composed of 95 percent ELL students who speak six different languages. But Greg Smedley-Warren (or "Mr. Greg," as he is known) embraces the challenge of this class at J.E. Moss Elementary, aTitle I school in Metro Nashville (TN) Public Schools, with joy and enthusiasm-and some exciting AR tools.

With everything going on in his classroom, the tech tools he uses need to be easy to set up and use. "An edtech tool isn't going to be an asset to my students if they can't use it independently. And I won't bring an edtech tool into my classroom if it means more work for me!"

His students'joy, excitement, curiosity, and willingness to take risks, Mr. Greg says, "make our classroom fun and innovative. They arrive each day with a smile "because they love learning and they love being in our classroom."


The iPads and interactive whiteboard in the classroom literally come alive as Math alive's 3D animals jump off the screens to teach lessons on greater than/less than, addition, and subtraction. And the students' improved skills reflect their engagement.

Mr. Greg also uses Letters alive to supplement ABC BOOTCAMP, a component of his TKS (The Kindergarten Smorgasbord) BOOTCAMP curriculum. The goal is to master all 26 letters and sounds in 26 days. "Each day, we introduce a sound and letter and make a silly hat," he says. "As part of this introduction of letters and sounds, we use the zoo animal AR cards from Letters alive. The AR animals get the kids excited and engaged, plus they're fun. Each animal makes the kids laugh and squeal and giggle. Using Letters alive to supplement our research-based ABC BOOTCAMP has helped our students succeed as readers and writers while having fun in the classroom! This laughter and joy is what learning should be! …

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