Initially, our staff deconstructed our school’s EQAO data and found that our students were having difficulty in the area of measurement, particularly with communication and explanation of strategies. We felt that combining the use of technology and student mentors would better engage students and provide tools to develop better communication skills and improve growth mindsets towards math. Staff and older mentor students developed open and parallel tasks for primary students. Using the Educreation application on our school iPads, tech buddies worked together to explore, deconstruct, solve and explain measurement problems.
Students and staff members showed growth in technology and math confidence, gaining a better understanding on how to deconstruct measurement word problems, and ways to better demonstrate their thinking process and communicate their ideas. Teachers observed that the calibre of communication improved significantly with the use of mentors and technology. We have discovered that technology, paired with a mentorship situation, can improve students’ abilities to problem-solve in math. We plan to use this process in the future to explore other math strands. More details can be found at this link: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1YzzmfAQ3sllkjDKH9OJAu-8PdMCfPE3MFUHf14AQYRA/edit?usp=sharing
Simcoe County District School Board
Professional Learning Goals
- Teachers across divisions will communicate more frequently about math strategies and use of technology in their math programs.
- Teachers will become increasingly comfortable integrating technology into math activities by creating student friendly, engaging lessons (growth mindset).
- Teachers will differentiate their math activities by creating a variety of math lessons to be explored on iPads.
- Entire staff (kindergarten to Grade 8) will expand the use of technology with students for encouraging better explanations when completing math tasks.
- We will create a math community of students and teachers to explore and discuss math, while using and integrating technology.
Activities and Resources
- Nelson Leaps and Bounds and SCDSB Measurement Math Assessments
- iPads and iPad mini tablets
- Google Apps for Education (GAFE)
- Educreations app
- various math manipulatives specific to the activity tasks
- targeted area of need (measurement) based on analysis of EQAO data
- created, modified and administered diagnostics to narrow focus
- developed and administered Math Attitude Survey to students (based on EQAO survey)
- trained staff (and then students) on the use of Educreations
- paired primary classes with junior and intermediate classes as tech buddies
- developed tasks to target areas of need (time, perimeter, area, communication)
- discussed and modelled prompting techniques with junior/intermediate students
- piloted tech-math-buddy project with Grade 6/7 and Grade 2 classes
- older students worked with younger buddies to use Educreations app to take picture of question/manipulatives, record audio explanations and annotate work
- completed tasks with other class pairings (entire school participated)
- administered diagnostic, post-activity and attitude survey
- debrief with staff
- Pre- and post-diagnostics needed to be more specific (i.e., less knowledge questions and more focused on communication/explanation).
- Students and teachers required more “play” time with Educreations app to explore features and log in practice.
- It’s best to have the older student mentors do the activity beforehand, and debrief about how to prompt and encourage better, thorough answers from younger buddies.
- We were more successful when we did a “minds-on” task with the groups first, then showed some examples to the students (BANSHO/consolidation style discussion) and THEN, gave them tasks to complete.
- It would have been better to do short tasks over several sessions, rather than during a long block (and then we could build in consolidation discussions between the sessions).
Enhancing Student Learning and Development
- increased student engagement and focus
- improvement in math attitudes, showing a growth mindset
- increased collaboration about technology and math among students of all ages
- increased use of technology in math classes throughout the school (more “tools” in their toolbox of strategies, especially for differentiation and accommodation)
- improved understanding of what math question/problem is asking
- better communication of math thinking processes
- improved confidence and mentoring skills among junior/intermediate buddies
- creation of a positive math community within the school
Other teachers and schools would benefit from this project, as the collaborative aspect of cross-divisions between students and staff has been extremely rewarding and successful.
We plan to share this by:
- posting our Google Slides report on our school website
- tweeting through our professional learning networks and school Twitter account
- sharing with our school board math consultants and administrators
- posting on Google Drive and sharing with co-workers from other schools and school boards
Our project was quite successful as evidenced by:
- significant improvement in students’ attitudes towards math tasks (growth mindset), particularly when approaching challenging activities
- staff and students from kindergarten to Grade 8 working together to integrate technology into our math lessons
- improved communication of math problem-solving strategies (better explanations)
Teachers are already talking about how to continue our tech-math-buddy community of learners program next year. (See section on “unexpected challenges” to see what we might have done differently and plan to improve upon in the future.)
Educreations app allows students to take pictures of a math question, manipulatives or other illustration. They record their oral explanations while annotating on the screen. Educreations then saves as a “video” so their audio/video can be played back afterwards.
Nelson Leaps and Bounds: Assessment for specific strands to help determine areas of need and gaps in learning.
Google Apps for Education (GAFE): We used Google Forms to create our attitude survey (which tabulates results in Google Sheets). We also used Google Slides to share our math questions with staff and students.
These resources will open in your browser in a new tab, or be downloaded to your computer.
Math Attitude Inventory Survey
Used Google Forms to create this survey (it automatically compiles data in Google Sheets and then graphs results)
OTF Data Slides
We created a Google Slides presentation to share online with others in our board and PLN. It's also available at this link. https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1YzzmfAQ3sllkjDKH9OJAu-8PdMCfPE3MFUHf14AQYRA/edit?usp=sharing