iPads and Learning in the Math Classroom

by Marianne Dudek

As iPad usage in the classroom becomes more mainstay, the potential exists to provide an interactive, engaging, and supportive learning experience for all students. Early indicators show that educators who use iPads to compliment traditional teaching are seeing results of higher levels of student proficiency. iPads can support all math learners, providing a tool that enhances strengths and addresses weaknesses. Are you as a math teacher ready to adjust your teaching to be a part of this new learning revolution?

Students can utilize iPads to discover necessary information to generate responses to algebraic and geometrical problems. With the Common Core State Standards for Math being implemented with a stronger emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking, students can collaborate with peers and share results on their iPads, and can also generate questions to their teacher and their peers through the internet. Students can be encouraged to make mathematical connections, share observations, and justify their reasoning, skills that all improve communication and concept mastery. Apps should be carefully selected on educational value, not just popularity, and be focused on mathematical sense- making; apps focused on rote memorization should be used minimally. Procedural apps can be effective, but should become part of a discussion to ascertain student conceptual understanding. In addition, students can pursue additional resources and lectures from renowned math experts or university professors and can share their findings with classmates resulting in an end product that might be presented to the class or peer group.

While students are problem solving, teachers can be documenting evidence of student thinking and learning by recording their observations on their iPad by taking notes, using the voice recording tools, taking pictures, or videos. This formative assessment evidence can then be utilized to move learning forward and help teachers pose advancing questions to their students.

Are you using iPads in your math classroom? As you plan your lessons and incorporate iPad usage into your classroom, remember to be asking the question, “How will I get students to learn this content?”, and not just, “How will I teach this content?” Please share with us how you have incorporated this recent approach to learning, how you may be selecting and using apps, and any positive outcomes you may be experiencing with your students. We welcome your thoughts on the utility of this device and any apps you are using that are showing positive outcomes for your students. Thank you!

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