The classroom with the teacher in front, rows of desks, and pencil, paper and textbooks is a thing of the past.
By, Melanie Kross
Teacher and Guest Writer
It is no secret that our country is lagging behind when it comes to the essential skills of math education today. As a teacher, I know firsthand the challenges of capturing the attention of students who spend a majority of their time playing fast paced video games or watching rapidly moving television programs that seem to over stimulate their minds. Students sitting in rows of desks with textbooks, paper and pencil and the teacher standing in front lecturing is a thing of the past. To capture the interest and attention of students in the classroom today, technology is the answer. We must reach our students today with dramatically different strategies, and technology is vital for mathematical instruction.
Learning math concepts by playing computer games will engage students much more effectively. By using technology like the applications found on this website, instructional time can be utilized much more efficiently. Let’s face it, with the number of students in the classroom growing each year, it is nearly impossible for one teacher to give a classroom of 25 students the individual attention needed. While students are engaged with learning games on computers or tablets that make learning fun, the teacher can spend more time helping students who struggle the most. Technology cannot replace the nurturing, facilitating role an actual teacher fills, but it definitely improves student performance.
Technology not only allows the teacher to teach more efficiently, but many programs and apps like those on this website also track the progress of each student. Teachers can obtain printouts and reports that show how well each student performed, how much time was spent on problems, and specific concepts students are struggling with. This valuable information can then be used to guide instruction and it can be shared with parents during conferences.
Successful math teachers today are teaching students through small group instruction, and they are differentiating learning and individualizing instruction. This is the perfect scenario for the use of computerized math games and applications. My school system will soon provide each student with their own tablet, but until then, I have used my Ipad in small group instruction to play games and review skills, and it is much more entertaining for students. I also open almost every math lesson in a large group setting by projecting a math game or activity to introduce the concept for my lesson. This way, students are immediately interested and engaged, and many times they will interact by manipulating objects on the SMART board. This has been much more engaging than paper and pencil, and has been more fun for myself and for my students.
The excitement seen on the faces of my students when it is time to go to the computer lab to learn math, is priceless. Classroom management in the lab is a breeze…Why? Students are engaged. They are having fun playing games sometimes not even realizing they are learning. The depth of their knowledge of math concepts is increased by interacting with these math applications and games.
The success my students experience now that technology is a part of each lesson is much greater than in the past, before technology in the classroom was available. Test scores are up, and more importantly, the pressure and stress teachers experience for each child to succeed is decreased. As a teacher I feel a renewed energy as my job is now the facilitator of learning, and students are taking ownership and in control of their learning. If technology is not a part of math instruction in the classroom, students and teachers are losing out. Technology is vital and will most definitely revive math instruction.
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