Guest Post – Using Tablets For Numeracy: Part 2

by admin on 02/03/2014

Using Tablets For NumeracyThis is the second instalment of Joanne Gilmartin’s Guest Post on Using Tablets for Numeracy. In her first post she gave some examples of websites and apps that are useful for tackling various aspects/strands of the mathematics curriculum. In her first instalment, Joanne mentioned websites like Technology Made Easy (TME) and APPitic as well as apps including Splash Math, Motion Math and Place Value Chart.

Alternative Web Browser

Puffin Web BrowserPuffin Web Browser presents remote Flash execution technology that allows you to watch videos, play games, and tap into an endless sea of Flash content, all by running Flash on cloud through your iPad. This is not exclusively a Numeracy App but rather a ‘one shoe fits all’ platform which you can use in your class so that you can run your favourite Maths Flash Games that you use on your Interactive Whiteboard via your iPad. This extends far past the reaches of Numeracy giving every teacher a solution to the whole ‘iPad cannot run flash’ argument. This app is often the biggest slice of learning that teachers take away from any iPad workshop I deliver – an absolute must!

Whiteboard Apps

Show Me AppThe Show Me App allows the user to record annotations along with voice right on the iPad, essentially turning the iPad into an interactive, recordable “whiteboard.”  Either a blank canvas or pictures found on the iPad can be used as the base of the annotations. In my own class I have used this app extensively for Maths lessons using squared paper similar to that used in the children’s maths copies. When the teacher finishes recording, they have the option of uploading it into an account at the ShowMe website either publicly (anybody can find it visiting the site) or privately (viewers need the url of the presentation). These presentations can then be embedded onto a class blog or website. You need a stylus for this app as it gets a little difficult to annotate your work with fingers alone. This app can be used at every level from Junior Infants to Second Level Education and beyond. As use increases teachers can get pupils to present their own work across a range of subjects developing 21st Century Skills and digital literacy. The possibilities of Show Me are only limited to the imagination of its user. Show Me have their own YouTube Channel where you can learn more about the possibilities that this app can offer.

Explain EverythingExplain Everything, “The #1 App for Every Teacher” according to Daniel Edwards (@syded06), is a unique interactive whiteboard and screencasting tool used by over 900,000 students and educators.

Explain Everything is another app that allows educators to record what happens on the screen. This can be anything from drawing to writing to completing sums – along with a live audio narration. This is brilliant for being able to make podcasts / instructional movies anywhere, anytime. It also makes such a process available for students to demonstrate what they know by similarly making such recordings and sharing with each other.

This app differs from Show Me in that it features an ‘Export to Camera Roll’ function. In addition to this it allows users to import PDFs, PowerPoint or Keynote files. It also provides full Dropbox and Evernote integration. For students, they can import an existing PowerPoint presentation and just draw and highlight over the top of slides, all the while verbally explaining, and export as a movie that encapsulates their understanding much better than the mere slides alone would.

For educators, it means the option to create video podcasts is now available whenever and wherever we require it. With new features coming with frequent updates, this app is one that it here to stay, not just for teaching Numeracy and Maths Skills to children, but a tool that can achieve something far greater in education, something that is accessible for all learners.

Other Resources

Khan Academy is a free educational app that supplements the Khan Academy website and The Khan Academy YouTube channel, which were founded by Salman Khan, who holds degrees in math, engineering, computer science, and business. Kids (and adults) pick tutorials of interest from the large library of nearly 3,000 videos.  The library mirrors the content that can be found on the website, and all educational tutorials follow the same low-tech format — you never see Sal’s face and only see the notes and illustrations he makes on his electronic blackboard.

As an educator this spells out success for every learner particularly in Numeracy. Children see a maths concept, they use it and try to understand it but cannot retain this concept or connect it to new learning. When I say this to teachers at workshops they nod their heads in agreement. The issue is that children do not get to consolidate and synthesise their learning. I use the example of taking a journey for the first time and using Sat Nav or Google Maps on you Smartphone. How often do you have to make the journey before you can travel without your trusty device to help you take the correct turn? Even when we do eventually learn a particular journey, if we do not travel this route for a number of weeks and then return to travel the same route how often have you forgotten parts of the route again.

The same stands for a child and yet we expect them to retain these maths concepts just because we have completed the chapter in the book ideally along with a few hands-on activities with concrete materials. Khan Academy offers the opportunity for students to take responsibility for their own learning by working systematically through a series of carefully structured videos and activities. They must master every level to move onto the next and a record of their progress is updated as they advance through the modules. I would urge readers to check out Salman Khan’s TED Talk 2011 on their YouTube channel.

Galway Education Centre piloted a unique Maths Camp, during the October midterm, using Khan Academy at its West of Ireland base. Check out the views of teachers and students alike on this innovative project on their Vimeo Page.

MATHletesMATHletes Challenge 2014 is a pioneering maths tournament for Ireland based on the Khan Academy approach to learning and teaching maths. Students from 5th and 6th class in primary school and 1st to 3rd year in secondary school junior cycle will compete online and face to face against their peers, with over €20,000 in prizes and the title of MATHletes Challenge Champion 2014 on offer. Students can participate individually or with their school, with top scorers advancing to county, provincial and national finals in May. Students will also be able to connect with other contestants by attending free Khan Clubs which will be held in the National Education Centres across the country. Students and schools can sign up for MATHletes Challenge 2014 at The launch video for MATHletes Challenge 2014 also worth a look!

Having spent the last 9 years teaching in a variety of schools from large urban to a rural two-teacher school, Joanne Gilmartin is currently working as a Numeracy Advisor with the PDST and is on secondment from Leckaun National School in Co. Leitrim. She is also an Apple Distinguished Educator who strives to adopt new methodologies for the effective integration of ICT in her classroom environment. In addition to this Joanne is an ICT tutor who gives courses to teachers on blogging, digital media, online tools and tablet computing. You can follow her on Twitter @joannegilmartin

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