Using Technology to Support Visual Mathematical Metacognition (VMM)

Area(s) of Focus: technology, math
Division(s): Primary, Junior
Level(s): Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3, Grade 4, Grade 5

An investigation into effective technological platforms to support mathematical metacognition in students from kindergarten to Grade 5. Opportunities to scaffold technological understanding we explored and documented.

As a team, we aimed to investigate the use of multiple technological platforms in mathematical classrooms through the grades to scaffold learning, and improve mathematical thinking and communication skills. Throughout our investigation, we documented our findings in the form of a comprehensive document. We have made it accessible to colleagues and other teaching professionals as a guide to introducing and using technology as a tool to increase Visual Mathematical Metacognition in the mathematical classroom.

Team Members

  • Stephanie LaCourse

    Peel District School Board

  • Jessica Cooper

    Peel District School Board

  • Greg Attwell

    Peel District School Board

  • Daniel Rosso

    Peel District School Board

  • Kerry Southren

    Peel District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

  • identify the technological platforms being used in the math classroom on a regular basis and the impact they are having on Visual Mathematical Metacognition (VMM)
  • collaborate with other kindergarten to Grade 5 teachers to build capacity, model and increase surrounding the use of technology in the math classroom
  • explore other technology that may assist us in better supporting VMM across the math curriculum, and across the grades (kindergarten to Grade 5)
  • determine the best way to communicate our findings effectively to other teachers in order to support 21st-century learning on a larger scale

Activities and Resources

Our team explored many technological platforms in many math strands, at various grade levels. We collaborated with teachers at all grade levels of focus. We explored the ways in which we could use various apps or Web 2.0 platforms together to allow students to best show their thinking. We identified what skills were needed to complete these tasks and discussed how and when these skills should be taught. We shared our findings in the form of a comprehensive document that outlines the most effective platforms and how they can be used along with other apps or technology to allow students to effectively share their mathematical process.

Unexpected Challenges

There are many apps available that are very similar to each other or they lacked the flexibility and range of use that we were looking for. For this reason, we focused on open-ended apps that could be used for a variety of activities and strands, and found some apps we thought could be effectively “smashed” with the open-ended apps effectively.

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

The creation and sharing of a comprehensive resource that outlines the ways in which technology may be used to support VMM enhances teachers’ understanding of how to best introduce and implement the use of technology as a tool for communication in the mathematics classroom. Through bridging the technological skills that students possess with the use of the most effective technological platforms, our resource will outline how students best learn to use technology as a communication tool in mathematics. Our resource will provide teachers with greater understanding and efficacy with technology as a tool for VMM; thus, it will enhance students’ ability to use technology to effectively communicate their thinking in mathematics.


The document we have created gives educators some of the many ways to use technology effectively to support VMM. There are many photos and videos to give educators good examples of ways to use technology, and some video tutorials for educators as well. Our hope is that educators in grades kindergarten to 5 use and share this document in order to begin understanding the possibility for technology to be used in the math classroom.

Project Evaluation

Our team was successful in exploring the use of technology to support visual mathematical metacognition. We were able to understand which types of technological platforms are most effective, and which technological skills needed to be taught to use the platforms we thought were most effective. The issue that all educators will face is the same; technology is always evolving. New technology becomes available daily and each school has different technology available for student use. For this reason, our project evolved as well. We realized it was just as important to focus on the skills our students needed to complete math problems using the technology given as it was to focus on which apps and programs offered the most to our students.

Resources Used


Parrish, Sherry. (2010) Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computational Strategies. Math Solutions.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church and Karen Morrison. (2011). Making Thinking Visible. Jossey-Bass.

Resources Created

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