By Chris Denney, ICT co-ordinator and Year 6 teacher at Grove Park Primary in Kent
There is little doubt that the introduction of maths mastery into the primary curriculum in England has huge potential to revolutionise the way the subject is taught and understood. It is no longer about teaching specific skills and concepts but, instead, has a renewed focus on using pictures, words and symbols to demonstrate mathematical concepts.
Through making use of real life examples to explain difficult mathematical concepts and engaging children through interactive learning, edtech can be the perfect partner to drive this maths mastery revolution and help unlock its full potential.
As someone who works with ICT in an educational environment every day, I’m passionate about the power of edtech to transform learning, and have drawn up some suggestions below as to how teachers can maximise its impact, specifically in relation to the new, transformative maths mastery curriculum.
Demonstrating difficult concepts
Maths mastery is all about providing students with a conceptual understanding of how various mathematical notions can be linked and used to apply to real life scenarios. Edtech can be a superb way in which to do this; employing videos and visual demonstrations to explain complex concepts and help with problem solving.
In Shanghai and Singapore, where the maths mastery concept originates, teachers regularly use technology and visual aids in their teaching. For example, to help understand the properties of shapes, students can use virtual protractors to measure angles and change dimensions, providing a deeper understanding of what shapes are.
This concept can also be applied to fractions where, with the use of interactive programs, students can measure and pull apart virtual objects to gain a more complete understanding of the concept.
Teachers can’t be half-hearted with maths mastery – to get the most out of it; it is vital that pupils are excited by maths and engaged in their learning.
Getting interactive in the classroom
Teachers can’t be half-hearted with maths mastery – to get the most out of it; it is vital that pupils are excited by maths and engaged in their learning. Effective use of edtech in the classroom can achieve this goal and make learning maths fun as well as engaging.
Many schools, for example, use iPads or other tablet devices to get children problem solving and talking about what they’re learning together as a group. Taking this a step further, having tablet devices in the classroom can allow pupils to upload their work to an interactive whiteboard, where teachers can highlight good examples and help pupils to learn from one another.
Getting pupils engaged and learning from one another in this way can create a more harmonious learning environment, moving away from pupils working in silos. Maths mastery is all about ensuring all pupils have a good grasp of mathematical concepts before they move on, and using edtech to help pupils to support each other in this way can work wonders.
Using homework effectively
Teachers know that engagement with maths shouldn’t stop at the classroom door and that edtech can be vital to setting effective homework which consolidates a pupil’s learning at home effectively.
Our school uses Matific, both in the classroom and to set homework digitally. There are millions of apps and websites dedicated to numeracy and maths, and a lot of these learning resources are ‘all singing all dancing’, but resources such as Matific are designed specifically for the new maths curriculum and can really work to effectively engage both children and their parents in a pupil’s learning at home.
Using programs such as Matific to set homework allows pupils to continue to learn in a ‘hands on’ way through immersive maths learning modules and interactive mini-games which apply maths skills to real life scenarios and problems. It also allows teachers to accurately track a pupil’s progress and ensure those who need more support can receive it, and that no pupil is left behind.
Edtech is the future
As education technology continues to become more and more advanced, it is also becoming more and more prominent in our schools, transforming learning for the better for millions of pupils.
More research is coming to the fore to show that, if used effectively; edtech can engage pupils better, demonstrate difficult concepts in easy-to-understand ways, and help consolidate learning at home.
Edtech, used in this way, can support teachers in delivering the new complex maths mastery curriculum and help unlock its full potential to transform outcomes for pupils right across the country.