Transcript of integrating digital technology in Stage 4 mathematics

Chris Roberts: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to this session of [inaudible 00:00:05] plus. It's the third in the second series. Today the session is entitled 'Integrating Digital Technologies into Stage Four Mathematics'. I'm Chris Roberts and I'll be your presenter this afternoon. I'm joined by Nagla [inaudible 00:00:20] here at State Office in Oxford Street. Can't see her there. Say hello Nagla.

Nagla: Hi

Chris Roberts: Remember, if you have a ... Nagla will be looking after the chat this afternoon. If you have a question, please do post that question in the chat pod. We will do our best to answer any questions you have during the session but if something requires little bit more thought, we promise to get back to you via email. A reminder also that this session is being recorded and will be viewed by other teachers in the DEC.

Okay, just switch this camera off. Think you've seen enough of me now.

Okay, look before we get started on today's session, I'd just like to have a few words to say about the latest edition to the Implementing New Curriculum suite of online professional learning courses. A process for programming, a unit of learning, mathematics K-10, provides five hours of institute registered professional learning. At the completion of the course participants will have reviewed the principles of planning and programming, considered strategies to differentiate learning in response to student's learning profiles, interests and needs, will have considered a range of assessment strategies to identify, gather and interpret information about student learning, considered a range of strategies to evaluate the quality of learning that is taking place, considered ways to engage students in working mathematically, and also ways to embed learning across the curriculum in teaching and learning activities. Finally, participants will follow a learning design process to develop a quality maths unit of learning, using the Board of Studies, New South Wales programme builder. For further information please follow the link shown on screen.

Okay, look I think that integration of ICTs in the classroom, more than most aspects of our trade, has the capacity to separate those who do from those who don't. Much has been written and said about the so-called digital education revolution that's upon us, and of course the term revolution in itself, is a very emotive term. Depending on your life experience, it could mean different things to different people. For some, the revolution has resulted in drastic changes to their world, preceded perhaps by a really violent struggle. For others, like these children of the revolution, the revolution has been a much more peaceful affair and the new tools and new pedagogies have been met with a loving embrace. For some, sadly, the revolution has been, as the graphic says there, for display purposes only. Either they were already integrating technology in their teaching and learning and doing great things with their students long before the first shots were fired, or the revolution simply passed them by, with little or no effect on how they do things in the classroom. I wonder, which image you can relate to best, and what this digital education revolution has meant for you so far?

There was only one poll question on the landing page today and, appropriately for this session, it asked, what value do you place on teaching and learning with technology? I'm pleased to see the responses that we did receive to that question. Roughly 3% said there was just a limited value. Average 5%. Much value 62%, and there were a few extremists that said 30%. 30% said that teaching and learning with ICT was of extreme value in the classroom.

For those disciplines, or perhaps yours peers that feel that the benefits of integrating technology in the classroom are small, I offer the following as defence. The source here is a briefing produced by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, or BECTA to their mates, and it's based on analysis on available research about primary and secondary teachers' use of ICTs in mathematics. The link to that briefing is at the bottom of the page.

Okay. Well, in the new syllabus, we know of course that information and communication technology capability is listed among the general capabilities. Learning across the curriculum content, including the cross curriculum priorities and general capabilities, assist students to achieve the broad learning outcomes defined in the Board of Studies K-10 curriculum framework and statement of equity principles, and in the Melbourne Declaration of Educational Goals for Young Australians.

Teaching and learning with technology is of course, or has been for some time and remains the case, a key focus for the DEC. Strong partnerships for a better future has this to say about how the integration of technologies will be a key strategy in the delivery of curriculum and assessment, and also bringing about organisational effectiveness. In recent years of course, very, very large sums of money have been spent by state and commonwealth governments on technology infrastructure, hardware and software, the creation of teaching and learning resources and the provision of teacher professional learning. For example in just two projects, two well known projects; the Connected Classrooms project, $158 million spent on the network bandwidth project, the Learning Tools project and the Interactive Classrooms project. On the Digital Education Revolution New South Wales programme, $446 million has been spent, with over 200,000 laptops distributed across 500 plus schools. The numbers are quite staggering.

It's fair to say that we can all feel a little overwhelmed at times and not know what is relevant to our work in the classroom. Most relevant, I should say. Let alone what should be an immediate priority and what shouldn't be. In answering these questions, as is the case in most instances, we should of course first consult the syllabus. The new mathematics K-10 syllabus makes specific mention of these digital technologies. I would like to leave this question hanging just for a moment, and come back to it later in the presentation; what feature of these digital technologies make them so important to mathematics education? More on that later.

Okay, little but of work for you to do now. I'm going to ask ... Switch to a different view, and I'm going to ask you to answer the four poll questions which are now appearing on your screen. Just give you a couple of moments to do that.

Okay, wonderful. I think, looking at those results, there's no great surprise. I think given calculators have been a part of mathematics classrooms for a few decades now, most of us feel that integrating them effectively in the classroom is not a problem. Dynamic geometry software skewed a little bit to the negative side I guess, with poor and average. Spreadsheets, again probably have been around a little bit longer and people are a little bit more familiar with what they can do with spreadsheets in the classroom. I guess the computer algebra and graphics software, similar sort of results to the dynamic geometry software. Really valuable feedback there and that will inform the direction we take in the next session next week.

I guess the operative term in each of those poll questions was 'effectively integrate', so the question is how do we know when students are using ICTs effectively and appropriately? Of course the syllabus has this to say; "Students use ICT effectively, appropriately when investigating, creating, communicating ideas and information, including in representing mathematics in a variety of ways to understand, to aid understanding." I wonder if you can imagine how many teachers, according to ... Well in this case education.au, effectively use ICT in the classroom? It might surprise you, it might not, but by that study, which was completed in 2009, it said that only 27% of teachers are using ICT effectively in the classroom. That wasn't just mathematics teachers of course, that was a wider study.

Okay, so what are the factors for effective use of ICTs in the mathematics classroom? Again, going back to a study by education ... Sorry, BECTA, you can see on the screen there they've narrowed it down to seven factors, which has been taken from a large amount of research that's been conducted through the years. First and foremost, the most appropriate hardware, software support is available to teachers and pupils. Pupils are equipped with ICT skills which are adequate to achieve the objectives you've set them. It's no point obviously asking them create an applet or an application in the dynamic geometry package without having first given them first the ground skills. There is appropriate mediation by the teacher between pupils and computers, so that where pupils are expected to become active learners, the teacher provides support rather than direction. I guess resisting the temptation to get too involved. Pupils are encouraged to take advantage of the automation of tasks and instant feedback by ICT. Making use of conjecture and applying trial and error methods in their work. Teachers are aware of the range of software available and select programmes to support particular learning skills.

I think, certainly in research that I've seen most recently and that conducted by the DEC, number six is particularly important. The on and off computer time is balanced in accordance with learning needs, and of course pupils with special needs have equal access to ICT through access devices.

Okay, so pedagogy. It's a term we hear of a lot and of course, it is defined at the art and science of teaching. It's more about how teaching is done rather than what is taught, though of course the two are interconnected. Pedagogy is about teaching and learning activities the teachers use, and how they assist their students progress. According to the quality teaching model, there are three main dimensions of classroom practise that are linked to improved student learning; teaching that promotes high standards of intellectual quality, teaching that promotes a quality learning environment, and teaching that develops and makes clear to students the significance of their work.

Research confirms the view that successful integration of ICT depends on teachers first having made a transition to a more interactive pedagogy in a non ICT context before being able to recognise the affordances offered by [inaudible 00:14:02] technologies. I guess what they're saying in pure, simple terms is that teachers that are more prepared to engage in interactive pedagogies, group-work and the like, generally are shown to be more effective users of ICT in the classroom. Without sound pedagogy, all the technology in the world won't help students meet the outcomes.

Digital gaming is of course ... Has become increasingly significant component of many students' leisure time, so much so that many educational researchers have been prompted to consider the merits of using digital gaming in educational settings. In a growing body of literature on the topic, there is increasing recognition that games can provide challenging experiences. They can incorporate the principles of effective learning and sustained engagement. Some of you may have read the New Media Consortium Horizon report. The 2012 edition identified digital games ... Digital games based learning rather, as one technology that is expected to enter mainstream use in K-12 educational institutions in the next one to two years. Of course, digital games based learning, we know, is in use in many of our mathematics classrooms right now.

In 2012 the DEC commissioned Dr Kristy Goodwin to conduct an independent review of the educational potential of digital games based learning, in the context of Manga High, which many of you would know as an online mathematics resource. The evaluation was an attempt to provide classroom based evidence about the effectiveness OF digital games based learning, and to identify the characteristics that foster and inhibit student learning with such an approach. The review was conducted across 54 schools and among the findings was this: "In other words, if you believe the integration of ICT can be outsourced and become something that is done as a filler in your mathematics programme, then research tells us that there will be little or no positive educational value."

Okay. Earlier I asked you to consider what feature of the digital technologies listed in the syllabus might make them so important to mathematics education. For me, the answer to that question is interactivity, and in this context I've given it my own definition. Interactivity is that part of ICT which enables rapid and dynamic feedback and response. Interactivity has a special place in mathematics education. We've probably all been disappointed, I think, by multimedia and online learning materials that claim to be interactive but in reality they're no more so than a textbook with the questions in the front and the answers in the back. The importance of these digital technologies therefore cannot be overstated. They give students the capacity to explore, the inquire and to reflect. Simply stated, they prompt students to ask and to answer the all important question, what happens if?

The information and communication technology capability content is identified in the syllabus by a small grey icon and great advance with the online syllabus is the facility to philtre syllabuses for learning across the curriculum content. You can philtre by syllabus, by stage, and by learning across the curriculum area, and you can preview in context or click through to the syllabus content. In the navigation you get there by licking near that red arrow.

For stage four mathematics, 31 results are returned. Rather than just how you the great slab of text that comes from the syllabus in that search, I've taken that and put it into a tag cloud that I created from those results. A tag cloud, as many of you would know, is a great way to visualise word frequency. The URL for the free online tool I used to do this is shown at the bottom of the page and you may consider using this with your students. From the tag cloud you can see that in some instances the content is specific about which digital technology should be used. In other cases it just says using digital technologies.

I put it to you that in stage four maths, with sound pedagogy and with these three technologies, you too can successfully teach all the ICT capability content. Of course as GeoGebra continues to develop its spreadsheet view and statistics package, it is possible that in time it may well supplant Microsoft Excel. I think a very exciting development of this from our core software, has been the recent release of the GeoGebra tablet apps for IOS and Android devices. Of course as schools transition to a bring your own device environment, this latest innovation will bring enormous benefits to our classrooms.

Where do you go for support if you're just starting out, or some of these things as it appears from our poll questions, you lack the confidence to integrate in the classroom? I'd like to direct you firstly to Tale and to the tools plus area, which provides access to tools and resources that support software applications provided under the DEC programme, such a digital education revolution, the connected learning ... Sorry, connected classrooms project, and technology for learning. The tools ... Sorry, let me get the right [inaudible 00:20:24]. Tools4U page there, provides support for the new suite of Adobe, Microsoft, and other software and includes online tutorials, examples of classroom use and step by step user guides. There's two there that I would like to direct your attention to. In particular a tools plus ... Tools4U rather, GeoGebra and Tools4U Microsoft Excel, help you get started with those two tools.

The information and communication technology capability content would say you should not be looked upon as the definitive list. There are of course opportunities that exist throughout the syllabus for teaching with a whole range of digital technologies, and indeed, further uses of spreadsheets and dynamic geometry software in particular. It's worth noting that the syllabus does not make any mention of Web2 technologies, for example social networking sites, blogs and wikis, or applications such as these listed on your screen now. I want to say to you though, that there is definitely a place for these in teaching, learning, and assessment and I encourage you to have a look at this website and consider the possibilities for using them in your classroom.

For those of you who would like to broaden your use of technologies beyond those specifically mentioned in the syllabus, I recommend the Intel Teach programme to you. The focus of this programme is squarely on pedagogy, which underpins the successful integration of ICT in the classroom. There are currently three institute registered online courses offered through MyPL. Just search for 'elements' and if you require additional information, there's a web address down the bottom there. In fact that comes to me, and I'd be happy of follow up any questions you have.

On that same line of thinking the UCreate resources, which again are accessed from Tale, are a series of one page guides to support teachers using technology in the classroom. These guides are designed to be cross curriculum and focus on skills rather than how to use a specific application, as is the case in the tools plus series. For all things GeoGebra, I recommend that you pay a visit to the GIA website. I have recently completed an overhaul of the site, which now has a more robust submission form and library of user generated applets. I am currently publishing a backlog of excellent applets contributed by visitors to the site, and I hope that as your own skills build in GeoGebra, that you will consider making a contribution yourself. On the website you will also find links to dozens of teaching and learning resources for all stages, produced by the DEC, as well as links to resources from the international GeoGebra community and a news and events section.

I would also like to bring your attention to this great series, Syllabus Bites, series of learning objects to support student learning in areas of the syllabus that are perhaps unfamiliar. I know Nagla has mentioned these in previous sessions. These resources promote good pedagogy with a balance of on and off computer task time. They incorporate some very clever flash programming by the very talented [inaudible 00:24:04], which make these resources truly interactive. To access all titles in this range, enter 'syllabus bites' in the search field of Tale and then philtre by mathematics. I might also tell you that we are currently in the process of developing a number of other titles in this suite, and I'll let you know when those are available.

We often talk about the need to make students' learning significant. I think we've even done it today in this session. Our model of pedagogy as specified in the quality of teaching in New South Wales public schools discussion paper, has to to say; "The significance of students' learning lies in the connexions between and among the student as an individual and social being." I put it to you that by giving student the opportunity to gain experience with a wide range of authentic data, teachers can make clear connexions with students' identities and with the contexts outside the classroom. Obviously data is an obvious application or opportunity for using ICTs in the classroom.

I've listed there three great sources of authentic data. The CensusAtSchool website, for example, as I'm sure many of you would know, is excellent source of real world data. The website provides a snapshot of the characteristics, the attitudes, the opinions of those who have completed the online questionnaires. In 2013 there were 23,745 questionnaires submitted by students from across Australia. Two other great sources of authentic data listed there, the Health Statistics New South Wales site and also the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research website.

I guess the issue with using authentic real world data sets is that they present the problem that because of their complexity, they are more often than not, very difficult for students to organise, display and to analyse. I'd like to finish this session this afternoon by showing you how being able to create pivot table will make analysis of authentic data sets a much more enjoyable task, much more easy task.

I'm just going to switch to a different view here and share my desktop. Okay, I can see that you're seeing that now. This is a data set that I downloaded from one of those websites I showed you, from the Health Statistics New South Wales website and, just scrolling back up the top there, It has to do with life expectancy. Just looking at how that data's organised, it doesn't lend itself particularly well to organising and displaying in a graph and therefore analysing it.

I'm just going to show you, very quickly, how easy it is to take that data and produce a dynamic graph from it. You can do that on the same sheet but I tend to use a different sheet when I'm doing analysis to the raw data. I'm just going to open up another sheet. I'm going to click on a cell here and I'm going to go up to Insert, pivot table. I need to select a range for the data, so I'm going to go back to my data set and I'm going to highlight the set, like so. I click okay and it takes me back to the sheet where I position the pivot table. Now, I'm going to create the pivot table here and my table, I'm going to be able to philtre that data by year. I clicked and dragged year to the report philtre tab. I'm going to organise my data with sex shown in the row labels, and then I'm going to find the average life expectancy, so I drag the life expectancy down here to the values. I click on this little triangle, which I hope you can see and I'm now going to [inaudible 00:29:07] field settings and I'm going to click on average.

When I did that you saw over here on the pivot table, those values change. Now, the great thing about a pivot table is that you can select data from this list. If I want to isolate just those people born in the period 1972 to 1976, I click that button, I click okay and you notice that the values have changed. All right. I can add others if I wish, like so. Click okay, and you see the numbers have changed again. Now, the really great thing, and this will take but a minute, if I highlight the pivot table and go up here to insert and select a column table, I now have a dynamic graph, which in the same way I selected groups in the pivot table, I can do from the graph. Each time I select a different group of people there, the graph changes. All right. If I click on a column, I can add data labels, I can see the values. Down here I've got another option; I can isolate one group of persons.

As I said, that's a very simple thing which will enable you to use authentic data sets, very complicated sets, with tens of thousands of entries, and be able to extract very quickly some insights from that data.

I have included in the file pod here in the bottom right hand corner, today's presentation, part A and part B. There is another resource there, the random sampler resource, which I did as part of a building capacity resource last year for stage four. In that, it describes an activity which you can do with your students around the random sampler tool on the CensusAtSchool website and also instructions on how to use pivot table to analyse the data.

All right, I think that's about it from me this afternoon. Just, as usual, a reminder that you need to complete your online evaluation on MyPL. If you could do that it would be much appreciated. Nagla and I shouldn't really be marking off as having been completed in this session without you having first done that, so I would ask you please, just to go into MyPL and to complete the online evaluation.

Our next session is next Thursday at the same time. In the session next week we will spend a bit more time looking at resources, and from your feedback there in the poll questions, I will try to make those around the dynamic geometry perhaps, and the [inaudible 00:32:41] software, given that that was identified as an area of need. Thank you again for joining us and the files [inaudible 00:32:51] be downloaded from the file pod there. We'll see you again, hopefully next week. Thank you for joining.

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