"To be numerate is to use mathematical ideas effectively to make sense of the world" (NSW Mathematics K6 Syllabus) In our Diocesan schools, students develop mathematical knowledge & proficiency during the daily Numeracy Block which includes a Maths Warm Up (1015 mins); a Maths Investigation/Rich Task (3040 mins) and Reflection Time (1015 mins) designed to be a teaching time to deepen understanding, clarify or extend student thinking. Technology is an essential tool for learning mathematics in the 21st century. Effective teachers utilise the power of technology to develop their students’ understanding, stimulate their interest, and increase their proficiency in mathematics. In the case of a 11 iPad environment, students have ready access to a range of mathematical apps which act as tools to support them to learn in Mathematics. However, in our experience, not all Maths apps align with our general belief about quality Numeracy teaching. Teachers use frameworks such as those defined by researchers (K. Highfield & K. Goodwin 2011) from Macquarie University to determine which apps are most suitable. They suggest 3 categories of apps which exist along a continuum of increasing cognitive challenge: Instructional: mostly rote, routine, drill and practice. These apps have low cognitive challenge. The majority of math apps available are these kind of apps and are therefore not recommended as this does not fit in with our belief about learning for conceptual understanding. Manipulable: different limited responses. These apps are good but require very little higher order thinking, for example, Handsonmath apps. However, these apps can engage higher order thinking if the teacher sets up the task with this in mind. Constructive: these apps allow students to construct, create and design, for example, As much as possible, we encourage the use of these kinds of Apps to capture student thinking and share ideas and insights about mathematical thinking.
It is worth noting. however, that many apps can be instructional, manipulable or constructive depending on how they are used. In other words the skilful use of teacher questioning while the students are using particular apps often optimises the learning.
