In today’s society, the days of learning at school from a text book are almost gone. This has now been replaced with digitally-generated sources or the new buzz word ‘e-learning’ (O’Brien, 2007). E-learning, or electronic learning, includes email, web 2.0 applications, blogs, wikis, and information and downloads from a website (O’Brien, 2007). Included in this e-learning is web-based teaching that sees teachers use educational websites to support their teaching (O’Brien, 2007). Web-based learning or internet-based learning is also known as Learning Management System (LMS) and allows for online sequences of learning and assists teachers in their planning to use ICT appropriately (Finger, Russell, Jamieson-Proctor, Russell, 2007). Mathletics is part of this e-learning phenomenon that not only engages students in an interactive way but also assists teachers in reinforcing the concepts of maths, student strengths and progress.
Mathletics falls into the category of Learning Management System or LMS, as it is an internet-based program that can ‘perform student registration, track learner progress, record test scores, and indicate course completions,’ as well as allowing teachers and parents to assess the performance of their students (Finger, Russell, Jamieson-Proctor, & Russell, 2007, pp. 308). Based on this notion, Mathletics is a very useful tool for parents who want to be a part of their children’s learning at home and for teachers who can use it as a supplement to their teaching of mathematics concepts. It is also a way for teachers to be innovative in their use of computers and not use them as merely a tool for conveying information, but a device that helps facilitate learning and instruction (Portela, 1999). Portela (1999) also found that it is beneficial for students to be able to move at their own pace and attempt work that is suited to their level and style of learning.
Mathletics covers the full curriculum from primary to secondary making it perfect for use from Kindergarten through to Year 12. The school works with the Mathletics implementation team to help integrate the website into the existing school program. Not only can Mathletics be used at school but children will have 24 hour access to the website which means it can be used at home also. Support from Mathletics and their online support team plus continuous teacher monitoring of feedback and generated online reports means Mathletics can be used by any classroom teacher in any school at any time of the day. As stated by Finger et al. (2007) there has been both a sociological and economic pressure for ICT in education and for teachers focus to be on using ICT to transform learning. When an online application such as Mathletics is used in the correct context it can improve mathematic results, engage students and motivate them to learn.
The use of ICT itself will not change teaching methods or the level of student’s learning. As found by Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs [MCEETYA], (2005) appropriate pedagogies are essential to ensure the effective use of ICT in education. Shifts in theoretical and techildrenological advancement through the decades has brought the focus on learning with and through ICT’s and to a transformative pedagogical approach (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008). Part of this transformative pedagogy are new pedagogies including ‘learner-driven content creation and collaborative knowledge-building’ (McLoughlin & Lee, 2008., pp. 643). In addition to this, are other principles responsible for developing pedagogical approaches to use ICT in the classroom, in particular Mathletics, and the most important principles are listed above.
There is no ‘correct’ way to set up technology in the classroom, however, provided the equipment is distributed according to the different learning styles of each student and focuses on the learning and not just the teaching, then where the computers are placed is irrelevant (McKenzie, 1998). One of the many benefits of Mathletics is that it can be used for both individual and class teaching. To begin with Mathletics should be introduced in a computer lab where every child has access to a computer and there is a data projector or interactive whiteboard for teacher instruction (Mathletics, n.d.) Once children have been introduced to the application and are familiar and comfortable with its structure, they will be able to use Mathletics individually and work at their own rate and at their own level. Students also have the option to play against other students in their immediate classroom and around the world via Mathletics Live if they choose. Mathletics can also be used as part of a maths rotations with the teacher able to set tasks that must be completed before the student is able to move on or use additional tools within the program.
Part of Education Queensland’s Information and Communication Technology polices register is the ‘Using the Department’s Corporate ICT Network’ policy provides the guidelines for safe and secure use of the department’s internet for schools, students and staff (Education Queensland, 2009). As student safety is vital when online, it is up to schools and parents to practice guidance rather than censorship (From Now On, 1995). Mathletics requires only very limited information to register. Depending on whether students register individually or teachers register a whole class, Mathletics only require a first name, age and an email address for the individual or an email address for the class. None of this information is shared with advertisers or any other third party. There are no chatrooms connected with any of the learning resources and it is not possible for students to communicate directly with any other online student. This is an online application that provides the student with nothing other than a great way to improve their mathematic knowledge in an engaging and exciting environment.
Mathletics, as explained earlier is an online application that focuses on Mathematics. It supports curriculum concepts visually and is fully aligned to Syllabus Outcomes (Mathletics, n.d.). Mathletics courses not only contain essential math material for school students but this application also helps children to think fast, become “actively engaged in constructing their own knowledge” (Portela,1999, p. 64.) and use initiative to support and motivate themselves. Mathletics is a wonderful online application that helps teachers “transform learning with ICT” (Finger et al., 2007, p.23.),
Mathletics is a very useful online application that can help children to understand and enjoy Mathematics. It has also been proven to increase average mathematic marks. Navigation is easy and the screens are aesthetically appealing to children of all ages. Mathletics is suited to all student levels and styles and has easy to find results so both parents and teachers can monitor progress. This application is also aligned to Syllabus outcomes and supports all curriculum concepts. It is also individually integrated into each school’s existing program with the help of the Mathletics implementation team. In conclusion, with no risk of any legal or ethical ramifications evident from its use and when used appropriately and monitored by teachers who want to provide their students with learning opportunities through ICT, and who are committed to the integration of ICT in their classroom, this online application can be a wonderful way to supplement the learning of maths in school.
By Phiona Mitchell and Simone O’Connell EDC3100 ICT & Pedagogy
Mathletics.com.au <ul><li>Mathletics is an online, interactive, educational mathematics website for children aged 5 – 18 years. It is used by students , teachers, and parents all over the world and is being integrated into teacher planning as a way to boost student knowledge and confidence in mathematics. </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation will explain why teachers around the world are using this website and how it can be incorporated into daily classroom lessons. </li></ul>
Rationale <ul><li>New buzz word: ‘e-learning’ </li></ul><ul><li>E-learning: internet, downloads, wikis, blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Management System (LMS) </li></ul><ul><li>Web-based teaching: interactive, engaging, beneficial </li></ul><ul><li>Mathletics engages students in an interactive way that also assists teachers in reinforcing math concepts, student strengths and progress. </li></ul>
Identification of position and reasoning <ul><li>Learning Management System or LMS </li></ul><ul><li>Collaboration of student and parents </li></ul><ul><li>Supplement to teaching of maths concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Suits all styles and levels of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to find result reports, student achievement graphs, student weaknesses/strengths </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetically pleasing and highly motivating for students </li></ul><ul><li>User friendly screens, simple website navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to compete with students around the world </li></ul><ul><li>Enables students to focus on problem areas </li></ul><ul><li>Top 100 students displayed on opening screen </li></ul>Video: School introducing Mathletics to students
Identification of appropriate context/s for use <ul><li>Kindergarten to Year 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Mathletics implementation team works with school for a smooth integration into the existing school program </li></ul><ul><li>24 hour access in the classroom and at home </li></ul><ul><li>To work effectively needs support from Mathletics and their online support team. Teachers need to monitor any website feedback and online generated reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher can set tasks or activities before students can move up </li></ul><ul><li>Program can be used as an option for homework </li></ul><ul><li>Students can challenge each other or other classes </li></ul>
Pedagogical approach/es <ul><li>Being committed to the integration of new technologies and having the skills to use the technologies effectively and appropriately </li></ul><ul><li>Provide all students with technology rich experiences that provide a range of learning experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Dedicated to strengthen ICT competency </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure the effectiveness, efficiency and ethics of the use of ICT and evaluate and observe its learning opportunities </li></ul>
Classroom/student organisation <ul><li>students can be set up so that they challenge each other in the class or around the world </li></ul><ul><li>set up pairs of students as a maths rotations </li></ul><ul><li>teacher set tasks for students to complete </li></ul>
Legal/ethical considerations <ul><li>Very limited personal information required to register </li></ul><ul><li>No information is used or shared with advertisers or any other third party </li></ul><ul><li>No chatrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Students cannot directly contact any other student </li></ul><ul><li>Education Qld provides guidelines to help teachers with cyber safety </li></ul><ul><li>http://education.qld.gov.au/strategic/eppr/ict/ictpr004/ </li></ul><ul><li>Next generation learning provides parents, students, and schools with ways to stay safe when on the net </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.nextgenerationlearning.org.uk/safeguarding </li></ul>
Curriculum area focus <ul><li>In the teacher centre there is a link to the EL’s </li></ul><ul><li>Naplan practice </li></ul><ul><li>Individual and class results </li></ul><ul><li>Reports for attempts made by children and how many tries it took until they reached the next level </li></ul><ul><li>Covers all aspects of maths curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher can see which area students need assistance in or need to change to a different focus area </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher can see how many and how long children have been on </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher can set a task that children must complete before they can move on </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses specifically on Mathematics </li></ul><ul><li>Supports curriculum from kindergarten to Year 12 </li></ul><ul><li>Not only contains essential math material but also helps children to think fast, become actively engaged in their own learning and encourages initiative to support and motivate themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Mathletics is a wonderful online application that helps teachers use ICT to transform student learning </li></ul>
Conclusion <ul><li>Helps children understand and enjoy Mathematics </li></ul><ul><li>Can improve average mathematic marks </li></ul><ul><li>Easy Navigation and aesthetically appealing screens </li></ul><ul><li>Suited to all levels and styles of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Easy to access results for both parents and teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Aligned to syllabus and curriculum concepts </li></ul><ul><li>No risks regarding legal and/or ethical issues </li></ul><ul><li>Must be monitored and used correctly </li></ul><ul><li>Efficient online application that will supplement the learning of maths in schools </li></ul>
References <ul><li>Mathletics. (n.d.). School Bruchure. Retrieved April 14, 2010 from </li></ul><ul><li>www.mathletics.com.au </li></ul><ul><li>MCEETYA. (2005). Pedagogy strategy: learning in an online world . Australia: MCEETYA. </li></ul><ul><li>Finger, G., Russell, G., Jamieson-Proctor, R. & Russell, N. (2007). Transforming </li></ul><ul><li>Learning with ICT: Making it happen . Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia. </li></ul><ul><li>O’Brien, M. (2007). </li></ul><ul><li>Portela, J. (1999). Communicating Mathematics through the internet- a case study. Educational Media International, 36 (1), 58-67. </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.hamiltoncollege.co.uk/admin/media/pictures/1257525196Mathletics_photo.JPG </li></ul>