Tuesday, July 7, 2015

3 Excellent Math Tools for the Classroom #UDL_HGSE

I am privileged to have been invited to serve as a facilitator at Harvard University's Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Institute. My posts this week will focus on the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. 

Several participants at the UDL Institute have asked me for some tools to help support students in the math classroom. Let's take a look at a few:

#1: Desmos Graphing Calculator

Graphing equations can often pose difficulties to students in the math classroom. Remember when we had to buy those expensive TI-80 calculators? This can cause an extreme disadvantage to students living in poverty; however, there is a free alternative for students.

If you have never seen Desmos Graphing Calculator, it provides students with access to an online graphing calculator is available as a website, App, and Chrome Extension. It provides students with the ability to interact with and understand equations in new and interactive ways. 

#2: Screencasting Tools

If you are not familiar with Screencasting, it gives you the ability to record anything on the screen of your laptop or Smart device. It can be used for teachers to "flip" their classroom or have students teach important concepts. Some of my favorite tools are:
Screencasting provides students with the scaffolds and supports they need to do homework, understand important concepts, or flip your classroom. In the past, I have used screencasting as a way to solve FAQ's to help students complete homework or provide the support's they need to complete assignments. It can be even more powerful when used by students because it gives us tangible insight into our student's thought process. 

#3: Annotation Tools

Annotation is a powerful tool and can serve a purpose in the math classroom. Several weeks ago, I had mentioned that you could use Skitch to solve math problems. How would this work? Students take a picture or screenshot of a math problem and annotate (or solve) it with Skitch, which is a great way to see all of the work. 

Students are not limited to hand writing because they can add shapes, arrows, and text to diagram their drawings. I like the fact that this tool provides students with another option for demonstrating their knowledge of how to solve math concepts. 

What tools are you using to help students in the math classroom? I'd love to hear from you!

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