Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Integrating Technology in the Secondary Math Classroom

It's been a hot minute since I have written a post, but I am back. As teachers, you know how crazy life can get and it has been exactly that for the past few years. Yes. Years.

My goal this past school year was to integrate technology into my daily lessons as often as possible. This ranged from using the TI Nspire calculators with the Navigator system, to ipads, to just booking the computer lab. We are also a "bring your own device" campus, but with 7th graders that can open up a can of worms that I am just not interested in managing, mmkay?

One of my favorite things that I did this year was dive head in with Schoology as a platform to house all course materials. Students still received paper copies of most things, but files were housed on Schoology in our course materials folder in the event it was lost or students wanted to re-do an assignment. This also saved me a lot of time from standing at the copier since I could load a digital copy of a resource on Schoology and students could access on their ipads. Students were more engaged using technology, and I had an extra 10 minutes to drink HOT coffee before school started. I know, I can't believe it either.

Screenshot of my course from the 1st semester 
It was so easy to navigate for students and parents. I am all about things making my life easier and this was it! By the end of the first month of school, I am able to provide simple instructions about where their activity is located and they can find it. It leaves me more time to go work on on one with students who need it most. 

When you put students in purposeful groups, and provide tools to not get bogged down in the math, real magic can happen. Don't get me wrong, I am all about students having the skills they need in order to solve basic math problems without calculation devices. But, if that is not the main skill that I am assessing, I am going to allow my students to have a calculator available to them. Here, they are working on a Pythagorean Theorem task. While they all have a calculator available to them, they chose NOT to use it. That is powerful. 

Many people think that teaching an accelerated course means that your students are all above grade level. That is simply not the case. In my class, I will have students who range from having barely passed the state test to scoring perfectly. There is a lot of differentiation that needs to occur in order to meet my kiddos where they are and grow them all. I want to be able to extend the learning for my truly GT students but also not leave behind my strugglers. Technology allowed me to do that this year. I am looking forward to incorporating it even more next year!