How are you incorporating technology into your maths teaching?

The maths classroom has changed a lot since I was at school. Gone are the dusty chalkboards and the bulky slide projectors that were always slightly out of focus. As a trainee teacher, the first piece of equipment I had to get used to is the interactive whiteboard. I have used this marvellous technology to share my laptop screen with a class at the same time as making annotations that can be saved to OneNote for the students to refer to later. The interactive whiteboard allows me to write on the screen while standing at the front of the class, which is better for classroom presence and behaviour management. Many maths teaching platforms, such as Mathspad, have created content designed for the interactive whiteboard, such as my favourite Venn diagram and algebra puzzle.

When I was at school, the teacher had to wheel in a huge television on a trolley to play the class a video. (The television always had a wood veneer effect, for some reason.) Now I just call up the clip I need on YouTube and the interactive whiteboard does the rest.

I have also use technology to set and mark homework. Platforms such as Dr Frost and Hegarty Maths enable questions to be set online which are then automatically marked, and the class’s results collected. I can undertake a range of analysis such as identifying which questions students struggled with the most, which I then use to tailor subsequent teaching.

Technology can facilitate the use of educational games in the classroom. I have used Dr Frost Live and Kahoot for live maths quizzes that never fail to energise the class last period on a Friday.

A word of warning: as always, technology can fail. On more than one occasion my laptop has frozen, requiring me to switch to using a ‘normal’ whiteboard and pen while desperately trying to remember my lesson plan. Allowing students to use devices in the classroom is risky; some classes can’t be trusted to use them sensibly. Technology can make planning lessons more laborious: it takes far longer to prepare a PowerPoint presentation (complete with animations and diagnostic questions) than it does to write up an example on the board then set the students going with the textbook. As with all technology, use it wisely and don’t lose sight of what you want to achieve with it.

By Angelita Bradney


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