Learning at School

Tech in the classroom

Since the introduction of the Ipad by Apple many years ago, its use in primary maths education has continued to increase as students find the touch screen easy to use and intuitive. It’s small, portable size allows easy transportation to and from school and opens up a world of maths tutoring resources for students to engage with and learn the key concepts of mathematics at school and at home.

Ipads have added a lot to classroom education, homework tasks and interactive maths tutoring. Digital technology can help to make learning more engaging for most students at primary and secondary levels. Students can get virtually instant feedback using a tablet as opposed to paper based traditional homework which has the added advantage of helping students learn more effectively as there is no delay between the time they complete the work and feedback. This is particularly relevant for learning the key concepts of primary maths such as fractions for primary maths, geometric principles and addition for primary maths as students get to see how different concepts interconnect with each other visually.

Tablets also encourage greater sharing and interconnectivity between teachers and students and among students themselves. Apart from connecting students to an infinite supply of information on the internet, tablets can also be used by a teacher to share the work of one child with the rest of the class, by connecting the tablet to the interactive whiteboard. Students can also share assignment resources easily amongst themselves and learn to work in teams.

However, it should be remembered that tablets are just another tool for use by teachers in their maths lesson plans and should never replace quality teaching by a professional maths teacher. There are a large variety of online maths resources to choose from these days, which seek to equip students with a deep understanding of maths concepts through engaging maths problem solving rather than simply the “answer getting” approach of the rote learning of old. On sites such as alearningateachingplace, concepts are often explained visually using images or video as well as mathematically and link to additional maths activities to reinforce the specific concept or show a connection to another. These online resources include maths quizzes to let a student “self-assess” their own level of understanding rather than needing a teacher.

So, in summary, tablets will no doubt increasingly become the teaching aid of choice as technology permeates every part of our daily lives and gives students an opportunities to learn in previously impossible ways.

Easing Anxiety About Maths Tests

We’ve all been there, comforting a crying child as they refuse to go to school because they have maths test today. It hard for everyone, we all want our kids to do well in school, but are we putting too much pressure on them and creating unnecessary anxiety in our kids? Read on as I outline some tips I have used to curb the stress for all.

Firstly, there is no real substitute for preparation. I’m not talking about the night before cramming, but rather continual gradual progress leading to deep understanding. Your child’s teacher should be designing maths lesson plans that encourage further investigation and foster this deep understanding rather than simply memorising formulas. Homework should be fun and can play an important role, with additional maths tutoring or online maths activities providing further consolidation of concepts learnt at school. If your child has good grasp of key maths concepts, test time will be a lot less painful for them as they can apply these concepts to a range of maths problem solving.

Practice, practice, practice, as the old saying goes, can help your child to overcome the stress of test time. The more “tests” or assessments your child can do the better, as they lose the idea that tests are somehow special or different from other classroom maths activities. Ask your child’s teacher for additional practice papers and set up mini “tests” at home in a relaxed environment. There are also online maths resources available that include assessments to help your child test where their primary maths learning is up to themselves without any pressure.

As tempting as it is, try not to offer rewards or infer punishment around getting certain marks in tests. Some children will simply give up, if they feel that the reward is unattainable. Others will be demotivated by working really hard to try and attain the marks but fall just short – which makes them feel like all their hard work was for nothing. Instead, if your child does better than expected in the test, consider giving them a treat or gift as a reward. Giving a reward after the test means there is no added pressure to perform before.