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“Show and tell” apps aid maths teaching

Thursday, 16 April 2015 8:51pm

kids working on a tablet image
Otago research has found "show and tell" apps can be excellent teaching tools.

Apps that record pupils’ step-by-step working and reasoning on maths problems are proving to be effective teaching tools, with the potential for wider uses.

Researchers Sandra Williamson-Leadley and Naomi Ingram of the University of Otago College of Education received a grant from the Division of Humanities to trial what they have termed "show and tell" apps with 20 teachers in the Dunedin area.

"Show and tell captures pupils' thinking out loud and writing in real time as they work through a problem on a tablet," Naomi says. Educreations and Explain Everything are examples of show and tell apps they have been trialling.

"Pupils can record their working individually or in groups and can play it back to themselves, and they can show the teacher what they've done and their thinking processes."

"Rather than just having apps that keep pupils busy, my focus was on how we could we use technology to better support teaching and learning and the classroom practices."

Sandra says they have had good feedback from the maths teaching community and have published two papers and a book chapter from the work.

"Rather than just having apps that keep pupils busy, my focus was on how we could we use technology to better support teaching and learning and the classroom practices.”

Naomi says the use of show and tell allows teachers to use effective pedagogical practices in their teaching.

"Effective pedagogy for maths is all about the dialogue between pupils and between teachers and pupils. Show and tell also helps teachers see where their teaching may be going wrong and can be a useful way of giving parents a snapshot of where their child's thinking is at."

It is a system which has wider applications, and Sandra says they have also demonstrated it to the Literacy Association in Dunedin.