Just like every well-prepared educator pre-reads the picture books he uses for read alouds, I consider it my mission to review numeracy software before my students are set to the task of skip counting by 5s, adding 3 digit numbers or dividing fractions. I will admit, in the comfort of this forum, that I have been in awe of a math program on a PC and quickly (think:brilliantly) tried to share it on an interactive white board, only to find that the software was not compatible, in front of 25 nine year olds, 12 minutes before March Break began, just after the red dye party~ the healthy snacks memo sitting on my desk covered in cupcake icing. Lesson learned.
A child can get a wow, fantastic, congratulations, you did it message simply by clicking on all of the cards in the memory game or choosing all of the annoying yellow ducks with numbers until the correct one is picked; sound off please! In other cases a little more work is involved, the question changes or the numbers are different but the child can still demonstrate an understanding of how to use technology without demonstrating an understanding of the concept. I don’t want to name programs because the programs I use are good for a variety of purposes and skill levels. You probably have some in mind.
“Mastery” in math doesn’t seem difficult to attain through many software programs. Some of the programs that track progress will show you that a child can reach mastery level in approximately 20 questions. My experience is that these problems are skill-based and don’t allow for collaboration or higher order thinking.
How are you using math software to support learning? Have you discovered a program that encourages the use of the skills our students will need in the future?
(But only if you’ve earned it)