Magnificent Online Maths Teaching Tools

Magnificent Online Maths Teaching Tools

Magnificent Online Maths Teaching Tools

Let’s look at some wonderful online and offline Maths tools that you can create as a teacher or that learners can download and use offline. In this post I look at tools you can use to create presentations (online and offline) and tools to encourage learners to think out loud and express their Maths problem solving processes. Especially where learners are still developing language proficiency it is crucial that we create opportunities for them to speak and express their thinking to also develop language skills.

A word of caution before we start: be weary of online apps and tools that sell ‘educational value’ packaged in bright colours and flashy lights. Maths isn’t Vegas! We’re teaching concepts and higher order thinking, and some apps really only ever work at lower order thinking and are based on endless repetition. Make sure the concepts you’re wanting to teach are the focus and that the app is age and grade appropriate before sending learners to explore it.

Online teaching tools

There are thousands of apps and online resources I could include that would fill this blog but I wanted to sift through the oceans and pick the ones that I know work and can be trusted.

  • For South African teachers and parents, the GreenShoots team provides Grade 4 – 9 curriculum aligned content that learners can practise at home complete with self-marking online assessments. I’ve researched their process and encourage all schools, teachers and learners to investigate this excellent home-grown resource! 
  • Siyavula provides Maths and Science content and practice for Grade 4 – 12 learners and teacher support. I was involved in creating parts of their Life Science units and can attest to the rigorous process with which these resources were created! Some of their practise resources and content is free to use.
  • Especially if you’re teaching in the United States, don’t miss out – have a look at Delta Maths today! I have the personal assurance from their management that the product will remain free for teachers to use! It does take a while to open though – a looong while. However the product is amazing and all high school teachers will find it useful.
  • Teaching learners to solve word sums or story problems? Try Thinking Blocks. It visualises Maths learning and problem solving.
  • There’s always IXL Math Practice and Sushi Monster if you want the basics.
  • Geometry introductions should be done with Slice It! I wish I had this when I taught a few years back!
  • Algebra Nation is a great resource and has just decided to offer its resources free of charge to teachers and learners until 31 August. You can sign up on their website.
  • Also try Numbers, an online app that lets you make engaging spreadsheets which can integrate with offline versions.
  • Lastly, there’s VisnosDesmos and GeoGebra – these awesome resources takes some getting used to but once you know how to use it, you just can’t believe you could ever work without it. There are literally hundreds of YouTube video tutorials on using these – it’s well worth your time to get to know these awesome tools!
  • Add on: I’m adding SeeSaw Maths which a few teachers said they can’t do without!

Offline teaching tools

  • Especially for the early years Maths class, visit Fizzy’s Lunch Lab Fresh Pick and download the games to their device.
  • The Maths Learning Center is fantastic for offline work. Learners have to be in a wifi environment to download it to their devices but can then work offline from then onwards. You can create paper-based tasks and they can solve it on their devices.
  • Another downloadable tool is TERC’s Inspire Data. Specifically look at the way data changes over time – your learners will love this! You can use some of this offline and some online.
  • Don’t forget to look at all the offline tools on Microsoft’s suite. They’ve done extensive work to load Maths scripts and added voice-to-text features for learners with different learning needs. You can also use the translate feature to speak in one language and it will type in another. In South Africa it’s only available in Afrikaans for the time being but I heard they’re working on Swahili, Zulu and isiXhosa at the moment!
  • Also remember that you can use the Google Suite documents in an offline version as long as you open it when you’re in a wifi environment.

Presenting Lessons

Recording lessons can be fun and exciting. Here are a few great tools to help you in this process.

  • Use an online screencast recorder like Screencastify or Screencast-O-MaticWe use Screencast-O-Matic and download the offline version so we can use it even when the internet is down.
  • If you’re making recordings, don’t forget the built-in recorder in Microsoft’s PowerPoint – you can make your own offline screencast with relative ease.
  • The thing to remember when making a screencast is sound. We can have all the right visuals but if the sound is terrible the whole thing turns into a flop. Make sure you are are not in an empty, echoey room and that the peripheral noises are at a minimum. Perhaps it means making screencasts by bribing the rest of the house to keep quiet or waiting till everyone is asleep? 
  • One of the challenges Maths teachers face is using the correct script for Maths. There are a number of paid-for options but also many free plugins and downloadable Mathtype tools that you can download. Some even recognise hand-drawn figures and turns it into Math scripts. Give SoftFamous’s MathType a try – so far it’s free.
  • Presenting lessons on a whiteboard is another challenge. Teachers want to explain calculations and capture the recording as if they are in their class. Google’s Jamboard for Education is amazing for this. Just make sure you’re using the Education version and you’ll have free access.
  • Also try ShowMe.com – you can use it 5x free versions before you have start buying these. 
  • One of the blog readers asked how she could record herself while using the whiteboard. You can use your favourite Screencast programme for this. It will have the option for an in-camera insert then record the whiteboard and yourself on the screen. 

Encouraging Engagement

  • Friends can play Maths games together using MathwithYourFriends.com – what a stunning website!
  • I really like AwwApp – the Web Whiteboard that learners can use together to explain their thinking to each other or to solve a problem together. You do start paying after a while though.
  • Another great tool to use is FlipGrid. You create a grid (like an online class) and invite your learners to the class. When they solve a problem they explain how they solved the problem using the video feature on their phone. They upload the video they made to the flipgrid question you posed. Then you have all your learners sharing their video explanations and developing their language skills.
  • Another great tool to support collaboration is Padlet. Padlet allows for video, voice and text sharing.
A last word of caution: make sure you and learners are not signing up to apps that collect their details so third-party marketers can take advantage of them. One GREAT way to avoid sharing your email unnecessarily is to use 10minutemail.com. I sign up to test apps with 10minutemail and avoid all the spam!

This is not in any way an exhaustive list of Maths apps. There are many thousands more that should be on here. If you’d like to add to the list, leave a comment below and we can build a bank of resources for everyone to share. Just state if it is for Online or Offline or both. As always, we welcome your questions and comments!

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