#mathchat Thursday @ 7:30 – What types of tech should we use in lessons and when?

Tonight’s math chat provided several examples of technologies that teachers use to enhance their lessons and make them more engaging for students. Podcasts, SmartGoards, GeoGebra, Google Docs, Cameras, 3D Virtual Aids, Virtual Manipulatives, and Online Games and Simulations are some of the technologies participants mentioned. Most of these technologies are newer technologies and often when we refer to technology most people today think of things that can be done with a computer. Some items that are considered technologies of not to long ago are calculators, rulers and protractors. Not many participants referred to those items but they are still excellent tools that students use.

When should technology not be used?, was another discussion which participants weighed in. Most participants commented that technology should be used as needed and as a means of engaging students. Most were concerned that students become dependent on the calculators and would prefer use the calculator instead of a paper and pencil. This is a discussion that has been going on for ages. Do calculators slow down a student’s ability to complete math problems with paper and pencil? In my opinion, once students understand and grasp a concept and can master how complete problems with paper and pencil they should be able to use a calculator so that they could complete their math assignments faster and more efficiently. Students should also be taught that a calculator is not a crutch and anything they can do on a calculator can be done with paper and pencil. Also most standardized state assessments (PSSA) require students to complete a section of the assessment without the calculator.

The discussion above led to the question about how participants feel about no Interactive White Boards (IWB) or online activities in the classroom. Not many participants responded to this question but in my personal opinion the idea of not having an IWB or online activities in the classroom seems far-fetched in most classrooms of today but before IWB’s teachers found ways to engage students in math lessons. I also believe that good math teachers will reach and engage students whether they have IWB’s and other technologies in their classrooms or not. Math classrooms continue to change as more technologies become available to teachers. With these technologies educators can make math come alive in the classroom.

The discussion ended with the question about what technologies will participants use in their classrooms in the up coming school year. Podcasting was a popular response because several participants were interested in how to do a podcast. I will definitely introduce the teachers I will be supporting to GeoGebra, screencast, and provide professional development on using calculators more efficiently.

As always it was another informative discussion.