The Art of Turning Math into a Social Learning Experience
One must admit, math has some serious problems. Jokes aside, it can be a difficult subject for students in this social, right-brained world we live in. How can a teacher pull students’ attention away from their smartphones and social media long enough to care about learning and solving mathematical equations?
One teacher solved that problem by not trying to fight it. Instead, she integrated it.
Out With The Old, In with the Internet
Hedy Lim, a mathematics teacher in Jakarta, Indonesia, has utilized Schoology, and its user-friendly mobile app, to make math more user-friendly for her students. "I can write mathematics equations very easily in assignments, tests, and quizzes," says Lim.
By uploading assignments, quizzes, and equations straight to the program, students can now access and solve their math work online versus sitting down to just pencil and paper. While it may take time to type the math equations out, Lim adds "Looking at the bright side, we save paper and apply 'going green' into our daily activities."
Making Math Class More Social
Schoology’s social use came into play once Lim installed the mobile app onto her iPhone and turned on the notification feature. "I can be easily contacted by my students anytime, anywhere," says Lim. "Our students live in a social media era," she adds. "I try to bring it into their school life too, through Schoology."
With the app, Lim sends instant messages and uploads news that students can respond to immediately. Likewise, the students can reach Ms. Lim with an email and she can respond back with instant answers.
Lim noticed that not only is Schoology’s interface and mobile app easy to use, but it is also compatible with other programs she uses in class, making her conversions fast, easy, and most importantly, accessible to her students.
"I use Penultimate—an app that mimics writing with pen and paper on your iPad—as my whiteboard in class,” explains Hedy. “I send snapshots of my whiteboard it to Schoology as an image, a link, or a PDF."
Image from Hedy's Penultimate Lesson
"I also arrange my Flip classroom videos in Explain Everything, an interactive screencasting whiteboard,” she continues. “And once I export them to my camera roll, I can upload the videos to Schoology’s Media Album, and students can study individually at home at their own pace."
Zaption is another tool that Hedy says she uses in her workflow. This free tool helps her engage her students through interactive videos and ready-to-use video lessons.
Hedy’s students also have access to continuously updated report cards through Schoology, enabling them to visualize and keep track of their progress and take more ownership of their learning. Each time an assignment or assessment is completed, the students (and their parents) can see their results in real-time with no need to print periodic report cards.
Hedy even utilizes her social media accounts to make extra learning opportunities available to her students.
“Sometimes it’s not convenient for teachers to share their social media account to their students, which is normal,” she explains. “However, don’t be afraid to use your social media to spread the enjoyment of learning mathematics. You can separate your private account from the one you share with your students.”
“I put some extra questions in my instagram and encourage my students to answer them directly through Isnstagram or any social account that I share with them, including Schoology,” Hedy says with a smile.
Evidently, the days of pencils and paper ruling math class are long gone. Because of technology, and teachers like Hedy Lim, mathematics can now be a social learning experience.
Springfield School, Jakarta, Indonesia
Educator of the Year Finalist
Written by Cyndi Amaya
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