Mathletics has long been a favourite teaching tool of mine. The main reason? Kids love it! Learning maths online is fun. Even when I set homework, it doesn’t seem to feel like homework. In fact, kids will voluntarily complete way more tasks on it than I have asked them to. In fact, I actively encourage students to ‘own their learning’ by working hard on Mathletics.
Teachers can’t just expect it to magically work by itself though. Teachers need to promote it to their students; coach their students; and use it in class. One of the best reasons to do this is student differentiation. Mathletics makes it easy to provide maths at levels that are achievable and challenging no matter what skill level a student is at.
The first thing to help, is to set up groups within your class. These groups should be set up based on ILPs (individual learning plans), or simply by using data to determine where your students are at. You might use NAPLAN or PATMAS test data for instance. Don’t forget that you can also use this strategy to extend your clever students. Click the ‘Classes’ tab to set up groups (Please see the attached video for a detailed ‘how to’).
The second thing you can do is to set tasks at different levels. If you have already created levelled groups, you simply go into ‘Results’ and set tasks for each group. You will find that each group may be operating at a different year level for instance. This way students will be assigned tasks at a level that they can manage and be successful, as opposed to being intimidated or discouraged.
As an enthusiastic iPad-toting teacher, I raced off to Sydney last week for my second dose of a ‘Slide2Learn’ conference. Two days of hands-on ipad experiences and exposure with like-minded enthusiasts was especially rewarding. I left with my Evernote brimming with new ideas, apps and things to try. So many that….quite frankly, I’m not sure where to start.
‘Slide2Learn‘ is an organisation whose sole purpose is to connect digitally enthused educators with each other and with new tools and pedagogy to take back to their classroom. Their mantra? ‘By educators- For educators. The team generously volunteer their time to prepare for their annual events and clearly put much time and energy into creating something that members really can become excited about.
As a member, once again I found the experience incredibly rewarding. Being able to access top speakers and leaders in the field on a personal level; and to participate in a range of hands-on learning experiences was fantastic! The ‘hands-on’ is what I really love! Being exposed to apps that were not on my radar and being able to play and see learning opportunities for the future is what was really exciting.
Of course a conference without keynote speakers wouldn’t be a conference now, would it? Slide2Learn managed to organise some excellent speakers with valuable wisdom and experience to share for all. Punters were madly typing notes during all sessions.
Tony Vincent, who seems to be a Slide2Learn veteran was being his most personable and amusing self again. He seems to have an incredible knowledge of the latest apps and websites and how they can be used effectively. My take home was ‘Poll Everywhere’, a website that allows you to poll or survey an audience using devices and instantly display graphical analysis as you watch. Very entertaining!
As a lover all apps that are creative, I was particularly impressed with ‘Comics Head‘ and ‘Yakit Kids‘. When you smash these apps in an ‘imovie‘, you have the ability to create amusing animation movies very quickly. There is great potential here for student use with assessment pieces.
All the speakers offered valuable insight into education and digital learning. The outcome? About 150 or so pumped up and re-invigorated teachers at different stages of their digital learning journey, ready to go get ’em!