Teach Middle East Magazine Apr - Jun 2020 Issue 3 Volume 7 - Page 13

Has edtech been overlooked in maths departments? John McGowan, Product Manager, Texthelp It’s ironic, isn’t it? While education technology is rapidly transforming teaching and learning, it sometimes seems that maths has been left behind in the rush. Multiple advantages One of technology’s biggest benefits is its ability to provide pupils with an array of options for expressing and articulating their learning. Despite initial negative reactions from educators, pocket calculators were essential for every child by the 1980s. Skip forwards to the modern classroom: it’s not hard to see how technology has provided new ways for pupils to collaborate, apply critical thinking, problem-solve and be creative. More than in any other subject, insight into mathematical concepts comes to pupils in penny-dropping moments. A fun interactive game or a simple diagram can make frustrating barriers to understanding vanish in a moment. But mathematics has stubbornly resisted many attempts to digitise classroom pedagogy. So what’s going on? A different language I’ve spent much of my time both teaching and helping other educators effectively integrate technology into their lessons. But we always got stuck on how to bring technology into mathematics lessons. And that’s because when it comes to maths as a subject, we’re dealing with a whole different language. Originally designed primarily for text entry, a keyboard and mouse isn’t the most intuitive way to input fractions or long division. As a result, the whiteboard – plus good old pen and paper – have remained default choices for teachers and pupils to scribble formulae, graphs and other maths expressions. Indeed, there’s strong evidence to support the notion that all pupils can benefit from the visualisation of mathematical concepts and the ability to interact with them in real time. Moreover, digitising maths brings other benefits for schools. Tech offers a huge leap forward for accessibility, allowing diverse learners to engage with content in ways that are easier – whether it’s a simple screen reader function or more flexible, comfortable ways to input and manipulate expressions. Progress, together It’s the real-world application of new technology to collaborate, share, and learn in the way that works best for pupils that holds so much promise. Whether they’re an English language learner or have another exceptionality that hinders their ability to learn in a traditional lecture-style model - there’s a new opportunity. Let's create a new way of learning maths; let’s help students learn with context, and in ways they’ve never had access to before. To find out how EquatIO can help digitize your maths classroom, visit text.help/TeachME_September.