Wednesday, 25 November 2009 | 5 Comments
I think that each student using a netbook/laptop in your class presents some slightly different issues in Maths.
So far, at least, most of the activities that I’ve had students working with on their laptops have been interactive widgets. (We’ve been doing algebraic techniques, index notation and solving equations since Year 9 got their laptops). For instance, here’s some of the activities we’ve used for equations:
Solve simple linear equations using a balance beam representation. 2-step equations.
Keep up with other activities like these as I categorise them in the Maths Links section. Better still, submit your own link – help me build a directory of activities proven by maths teachers as useful.
Unlike some other subjects where you may have the students create something to submit, playing with a widget doesn’t produce anything. So, what evidence do you have that the students are doing anything? Of course, you’re circulating around the room – but there is nowhere in my room where I can see every screen at once, mainly because the viewing angle is narrow for these netbook screens and my room is fairly small, so the last row of seats is just centimetres from the back wall. For a low motivation, low ability class, some less structured time on a widget could be fairly unproductive.
I think a couple of ways around this are:
The worksheet idea… say you were using the “Algebra Balance Scales” activity above a worksheet might look something like this:
I’ve made this into a worksheet, available below.
Some ideas for widget makers:
How are you using widgets like this and ensuring students are engaged?
If you like this idea and make some worksheets to support online activities, please share.
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Simon Job — eleventh year of teaching maths in a public high school in Western Sydney, Australia.
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