Monday, July 18, 2011

Mixed Thoughts but Still Exploring

Hello, iPad friends! Hope you all are doing well and finding some way to escape the heat.

I've been enjoying getting used to the pad but am still not sure how helpful/useful it will be in the classroom. I feel the pad should create some sort of experience that cannot be easily created in class with physical materials. As others of you have already said, many of the apps are disappointing. They are primarily focused on a drill/exercise in a game format. Doing math exercises is worth while, but we do not need an iPad to do so. The everyday math materials-which can be found in the app store- are just their physical games put on screen. While they may good, why not just play them with real cards. I like the TanZen Lite app, but I don't see any benefit over using real tangrams and puzzle cards. I also wonder if there is something lost in the students' ability to fee the shape and size of the shapes. By actually touching them does this send info to the brain that is helpful in understanding the materials and solving the puzzles? My hunch is yes.

With that said, here are the apps that I have seen so far that i think do create a unique opportunity for students:

Coin Math. As some of you have said, this is a very nice app for familiarity and comprehension of coins. I like how there are cognitive, visual-spatial, aural, and problem solving aspects to the experience. It does lack the touch and feel of each coin, but the mix of other inputs are great. The gradation of problems are also really well done. This would help third graders.

Motion Math. Again this engages many parts of the brain: cognitive, visual-spatial, kinesthetic, and it is really fun! My only issue is that it gets too hard for third graders far too quickly. Hs anyone found a version that progresses more slowly?

Dragon Dictation. Last year I started thinking about how could a dictation program be used to help students who have a hard time writing their ideas down, such as brainstorming and recording ideas for a story or reading response. For students who are strong speakers, dictation could be a helpful tool to help them with their work. I am curious about exploring this with students. Has any new else thought about or tried this? I have not had enough success with this dictation program, though. I do not have a microphone, so I wonder if that is part of the miscues that I keep getting. One of my favorite miscues was when I said, "Will this help them get ideas down more easily," and the program wrote, With this helps them feel yesterday he is down more easily? . Have you had more success Merry or anyone else who has worked with the program?

Alrighty, I need to get Mr. Will from his nap. I will add more later.


1 comment:

  1. Hello Maurice,

    Thanks very much for trying out Motion Math. We're looking at updating the app to include exactly what you are looking for - a slower progression of fractions for younger students, even slower than the current "Beginner Mode."

    I'd be interested to speak with you about your experience, as well as our new game Motion Math Zoom - perfect for younger students. Write me at jacob [at] motionmathgames[dot]com