Digital Tools in the Math Classroom
As a Google Certified Trainer, I get to visit schools and work with teachers to integrate Google Workspace for Education, Google’s set of collaborative cloud-based tools. I got into this line of work thanks to a Gmail account I set up in 2011 to get lesson feedback from my classes via a Google form. These were my math classes, having taught the subject from 2004 to 2017. My use of digital tools in math came from wanting to move from the practice to the application more efficiently.
Understanding axes, as an example, is a fundamental but once mastered I certainly resented time lost as students had to draw them when we would investigate linear and quadratic equations. Digital tools allowed me to explore “what if…” and “how could we…” questions with my classes, building understanding as well as fluency.
Ultimately though, math is a language of the universe and a written discipline isn’t it? My own opinion on this was turned in 2014 while attending an AppsEvents summit in Prague. After my own sessions, I attended a session by John McGowan, who was sharing his use of g(Math), an add-on for some Google tools that allowed you to more easily write math into documents. His use of g(Math) was pretty embedded… as he was the guy that created it!
It wasn’t long before John and his innovative edtech joined the ranks of Texthelp, in order to lead the math efforts of the company alongside its literacy and fluency tools. John’s 16 years of experience as a math teacher would prove very handy indeed, as g(Math) began to evolve and flourish into EquatIO (which now has close to 2 million users around the world!).
The key to the development of this tool wasn’t just John’s technical insight and determination, but also the approach he took to instruction. Opening up math to be problem-solving lends it to digital tools, and so, there began my own use of digital tools in the math classroom.
Now, I am privileged to be able to share how G Suite can be used in your classroom, especially effective when you add in Texthelp’s set of accessibility tools which include Equatio for writing, speaking, drawing and predicting mathematics, its mathspace platform for developing investigations, assessment, and problem-solving, as well as Read&Write to provide accessibility to math content and to subjects across the curriculum.
In this series of four short videos, I showcase some simple ways teachers can use Equatio (free for teachers) to add mathematics to their documents, slides, and forms. Then, we explore how digital tools can provide better accessibility for diverse learners to be more engaged with the subject and move the onus away from teachers to provide specific, accessible content. We explore Google Classroom, the mission control for teachers using Google Workspace for Education and how you can integrate mathspace and other tools. Finally, discover how flipped learning, by pre-loading instruction, enables learners to come ready to apply themselves in your lessons. Through Google Classroom, YouTube and accessibility tools like Read&Write, your math curriculum can become more differentiated, accessible and provide the chance for learners to get to that penny dropping moment by giving them ownership of their learning.