Option B

Part 1

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Introduction

At the start of my placement I found it extremely difficult to find ways
of integrating ICT effectively into my mathematics instruction and felt that
this was due to lack of training and experience.   Because of my lack of knowledge, I found
that I was incorporating ICT into my lesson not to enhance the curriculum but
rather just too thick the box. As I have progressed through my teaching
practice I have developed a greater appreciation of the benefits of integrating
ICT into my classroom.

What follows is an overview of the most common ICT resources that I used
throughout my placement.

PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a resource that I would use on an almost daily basis.  This resource was mostly used as a way of
supplying information to students in a fun and colourful way to increase visual
impact.  It also lessened the amount of
time I would spend with my back to the students writing on the board which
facilitated a more discussion based classroom. 
I also found it a very useful way of displaying work for students to do
instead of printing out worksheets.  My
main issue with PowerPoint is the amount of time it can take to create each
resource and I have issues with how effective is it to just have students copy
notes from the slides.  I really consider
PowerPoint a resource that does not enhances the curriculum but more so as an
alternative way of presenting information. 

[email protected]

[email protected] is an international classroom project that allows students
access to a large amount of data easily. This form of ICT is used for teaching
statistics and is suitable for students from first to sixth year.  I would usually break my class into groups of
4 or 5 and give each group access to a laptop where they would become actively
involved in collecting the data about themselves and their group.  I found that when students were using date
relating to themselves or their classmates they were more inclined to think
critically about the data that was collected. 
Also, when it came to analyse and interpret the data the results made
more sense to students as the data was about them.  This is a great resource for encouraging
collaboration and mathematical discussion.

 

Geogebra

Geogebra is a dynamic mathematics software (DMS) which can be used in
the teaching of functions, geometry, statistics, calculus, and graphing.  Using Geogebra allows students to visualise
what solutions to abstract maths problems mean. 
I use Geogebra in my classes mainly to display graphs this allows me to
generate a lot of examples in a short period of time quickening the pace of the
lesson.  I have also used it to make
connections between algebra and the graphical representation.  I have encouraged my students to use Geogebra
to explore the functions and the impact of changing individual constants within
the function and how this transforms the graph. 
I have found that students have developed a deeper understanding of
algebraic problems that without Geogebra were abstract, but through the use of
Geogebra they can physically see how any change impacts the graph. 

 

Kahoot

Kahoot is an online learning platform where multiple choice quizzes can
be created.  The quiz is displayed either
using a projector or interactive whiteboard, while the students use their
mobile device to answer the questions. 
Students can either participate in the quiz individually or in
groups.     I have often used Kahoot as a
form of assessing prior knowledge of my students before starting a new topic
and as a revision tool at the end of a topic. 
I have also had students create their own quizzes to use for revision
for other students or as a class.  Kahoot
is a great resource for engaging students as they see it as a treat rather than
a test. It also promotes healthy competition amongst students.  When the quiz is finished a spreadsheet is
instantly available for the teacher, which shows how each student has answered
each question.  These results allow the
teacher to identify areas of misconception and can help to direct the
lesson.  One of the biggest issues I have
had with Kahoot in the maths classroom is that as points are rewarded for how
quick each student can answer the question I have found that this can lead to
students trying to answer the questions in the quickest time which can result
in students guessing the answering rather than taking the time to work them
out. 

 

Khan Academy

Khan Academy is a coaching platform that I have used both in my
classroom as a means of instruction and for setting homework assignments.  I found this especially effective for setting
homework as it allows me to see which students have done their homework and
which have not.  It also identifies areas
of difficulty which helps direct the learning. This has been a huge time saver
as it has significantly decreased the amount of time spent correcting homework
at the beginning of the lesson which has allowed us to cover more ground and
move on to more difficult problems.  I
have noticed that since I started using Khan Academy there has been a sharp
increase in student engagement and also in student performance. 

 

I have experienced many challenges while trying to incorporate ICT into
my mathematical instructions

 

Part 2

1) Description of the learning activity and rational

Description

This project was a revision
activity for transition year students on the statistic curriculum from Junior
Cycle.  The aim of this learning activity
was to act as a means of recapping, assessing and enhancing students’ knowledge
and understanding of statistics and their real world applications before engaging
with the leaving certificate statistics curriculum in fifth year.  This project required students to create a
website using Google Sites in which they had to include a minimum of 4 pages including
information on the data handling cycle, different types of data, methods of
graphically representing data and analysing, interpreting and drawing
conclusions from data.  Students worked
in groups of 4 with each student taking responsibility for completing tasks,
these roles were allocated by the students themselves within each group.  This learner activity took place in four hour
long classes.

Rationale

The rationale behind this
project was to promote the use of ICT in education.  According to the
growing research in the area, ICT is believed to be conducive to the attainment
and retention of knowledge (Mikre,
2011) and make learning more exciting for
students (Hammond,
2014) as well as offering students the
technological literacy that will prepare them for future careers in an
increasingly technological world (Johnston,
Conneely, Murchan, & Tangney, 2015; Tinio, 2003). 
With education in Ireland shifting to a more student
centred learning environment (NCCA, 2014) this learning
activity gave students responsibility for their own learning (Bridge 21, 2013)
which allowed me as the teacher to take on the role of facilitator.  As well as students developing their ICT
skills they also developed in the areas of collaboration, presentation and
creativity amongst many other key skills (NCCA, 2014).  

 

 

2)
The target learner

This learner activity was
designed to use with a transition year class as part of their mathematics
course.   The range of ability in the
class was vast stretching from students who had done foundation level to higher
level maths at Junior Cycle.  There were
twenty-eight students in the class.  The
activity was designed to take place over four one hour long sessions. 

 

 

3) The Learning Outcomes

This aim of this project
is to deepen student knowledge of statistics, in particular the data handling
cycle.

Upon completion of this
topic the following learning outcomes would be achieved:

Students would be able
to:

·      
Understand the purpose of statistics

·      
Identify the different ways of collecting
data

·      
Identify the different types of data

·      
Select appropriate graphical displays to
compare different data sets

·      
Analyse and interpret data

·      
Use Google site to create a website

 

Though students were
given a criterion to follow this was an open task which allowed students to be
creative.  In their creation of their
website students were also encouraged to incorporate videos, PowToon clips,
images, text and links to other helpful websites. 

 

Through engagement with
this activity student’s also developed some of the Junior Cycle key skills (NCCA, 2014):

·      
Being creative

·      
Working with others

·      
Communicating

·      
Managing information and thinking

·      
Being numerate

·      
Being literate

·      
Managing myself

 

4) The Learning Activities

This learning activity
took place over four one-hour long classes, all lessons were conducted in the
computer room.  The learning activity was
developed in conjunction with the Bridge 21 Activity Model and was broken down
as follows.

 

Class
1 – The Introduction

In this first lesson
students were divided into groups of four. 
Each group was given a project brief which outlined the learner activity
and the schedule for each class. 
Students were also shown a sample website to help them visualise the
expected outcome of the activity.   The students were then instructed to watch a
video which outline how to create a website using the new Google Sites https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dm8nEq4jVJg

 

Class
2 – Preperation (investigation) / Preparation (Planning)

In this lesson students
broke into their groups to brainstorm some ideas for their website.  Students then used their ideas from their
divergent thinking to carry out some research.

Students then refined
their ideas and information gather during their brainstorming session and set
about devising a plan for their website theme and content.  The groups then constructed a list of tasks
to be done, each group member was then assigned a role.  Students then completed a plan template
highlighting the role of each group member, the schedule for each task and the
resources needed.

 

Class
3 – The Main Activity

This lesson was solely
dedicated to the students creating their websites.  Each group followed the plan that they had
completed in the previous lesson.  All
groups previewed their websites and after reflection carried out any
alterations that they felt were necessary. 

 

Class
4 – The Finale

In this lesson students
were given the opportunity to present their website and share their experience
throughout the task with the class. 
Students used the two star and a wish method to assess the other
groups.  Students then reflected on their
own personal experience through the use of a questionnaire supplied by myself. 

 

5) Reflection on implementation

As this
was my first time to implement this learning activity and students first
experience with the Bridge 21 model it was a very big learning curve for myself
and students’ and as I reflect there are some aspects that I would approach
differently.   I would develop a method
of assessing students’ skill sets perhaps using a questionnaire prior to
selecting groups.  Students were very
enthusiast at the beginning of the task but in some cases engagement dipped
when the more practical side of the task came into play.  It was only then that I really got to know
the skill set of individuals.  Due to
this I found I had to insert myself into some groups and allocate roles to
ensure that all group members were actively partaking in the task.  Some students struggled with using a PC as
they were more familiar with using mobile devices to operate online.  As I had access to iPad’s within the school I
was able to remove this challenge for students’.  I also feel that my project brief was too
vague as students were not always sure as to what they were expected to do at
different stages of the task, or students not understanding their role within
the team.

Through
their engagement with this task students displayed their knowledge of the data
handling cycle through the content of their websites.  When they were presenting their websites,
students demonstrated a deeper understanding of each stage of the data handling
cycle through describing the different pages of their websites.  I found that as students knew they were going
to be assessed not only by myself but by their classmates they were motivated
to produce their best work.  All students
were given a test on their knowledge of the data handling cycle prior to the
learning activity and again upon completion as a means of assessing the
effectiveness of the task.  Upon
comparison of individual results in both tests there was a clear marked
increase in student knowledge and understanding. 

Overall
this was a very positive experience for both student’s and myself.  There was a lot of student engagement and
bonding and a wonderful sense of comradery. 
Student’s were very eager to help and support each other and were very
adaptable when it came to modifying or changing roles within the group, which
is a key factor in team work.  Through
this project students developed an appreciation for statistics and I believe
that this was due to the medium used to present the curriculum.  Students were excited and interested in learning
in a non-typical classroom environment.  I
do still have concerns about time constraints and how practical it is to use four-hour
long classes to cover a small part of the strand of statistic within the maths
syllabus. 

 

6)
Discussion and analysis

According
to the growing research in the area, ICT is believed to be conducive to the
attainment and retention of knowledge (Mikre, 2011) and make learning
more exciting for students (Hammond, 2014) as well as
offering students the technological literacy that will prepare them for future
careers in an increasingly technological world (Johnston et al., 2015; Tinio, 2003).   Through the implementation of this learning
activity I was able to conclude that students did develop a deeper
understanding of the curriculum and were given the opportunity to be creative
and imaginative in their development of a digital artefact to present their
learning (NCCA, 2014), while also
enhancing technological literacy.  Using
ICT as a learning tool is said to increase students engagement (Crisan, Lerman, & Winbourne, 2007) as they can see
it as a more entertaining and relaxed learning space and a step away from the
typical classroom (Johnston et al., 2015).  I saw this reflected in the student’s
engagement with and enthusiasm about the learning activity.  Students’ showed excitement regarding this
new method of learning in which they were free to move around the classroom and
work in groups which according to literature in this area helps students to
develop their communication skills and learn to work collaboratively (Johnston et al., 2015; Livingstone, 2012; NCCA, 2014). 
It has been argued that with the mathematics syllabus being so vast is
it really practical for students to spend a lot of time experimenting with ICT (Crisan et al., 2007) while there is
still a huge emphasis on terminating examinations in which ICT is not
examined.   Although I believe that this
learning activity did deepen the students’ understanding of the data handling
cycle I feel that the time taken to complete this project would not be workable
with any other year group. 

7)
Conclusion

In
conclusion although I felt that this activity went very well I fell that I need
to undertake more profession development in the area to ensure that I am using
ICT to enrich curriculum and the students’ engagement with the curriculum, as I
still lack confidence in using ICT.  With
the mathematics curriculum being so vast I need to look at way to incorporate
ICT based learner activities in a timelier fashion as I do not think that this
particular activity would be practical with any other year group.  Through giving students ownership of their
learning, I seen an enhancement in students research and observational skills
with regards to both the ICT and educational components of the learner
activity.  As educators it is our role to
prepare our students for the world outside of the classroom.  As we are now living in a technologically
advanced world it is essential that through the use of ICT in school we are
preparing students to successfully integrate into the work force.  

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