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Guest blog: Maths in a digital world

I’m a 4th-year Maths teacher from Middleton Grange School in Christchurch. I’m particularly passionate about using ICT effectively and innovatively in mathematics.

UNESCO logo

CMA logoIn November 2011, the Canterbury Mathematical Association and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO sponsored me to attend the 10thAsia-Europe Classroom Network Conference in Dundalk, Ireland. 

I presented my proposal for a collaborative project called “Maths In Our World”. The project involves students from various countries around Asia and Europe researching their culture and preparing online presentations, then solving Maths problems whose context is based on some aspect of their culture. In this way students from each country learn about each other’s culture at the same time as building their mathematical problem-solving skills.


Conference delegates

 

The conference consisted primarily of two parts: the planning of the projects, and professional development workshops for using ICT in the classroom. The main thing I took away from the conference was the experts’ focus on student creativity and collaboration through ICT, rather than just using ICT tools to continue doing things the way I used to do them.

Asia-Europe ClassroomNet

When I participated in the conference I felt like my whole perception of what ICT can do for my students was flipped on its head! Of course this way of looking at ICT makes perfect sense, and given the nature of this professional learning community this is probably not news to you, but it radically changed the way I teach and the possibilities I saw for ICT. 

I’m still trying to work out the best ways to do all this in Mathematics, but at least I feel like my eyes are open now. I’m trying (in between everything else… you know what it’s like!) to maintain a blog [Stephenmath: A Math's Teacher's ICT Journey] to reflect on this journey and hopefully help other teachers who have similar misconceptions of ICT… I know I was not alone in my earlier perceptions!

I should note that I significantly changed the nature of the Maths In Our World project during the week of the conference, to make it more creative and collaborative in line with what I was learning that week… it was originally quite dry and prescribed in terms of what the students needed to do, but I quickly realised it could be done better!

I would love to hear your thoughts on my journey and if it resembles your own.

  • How prevalent in the teaching community are my misconceptions?
  • How can we support colleagues to “see the light” with ICT, without increasing their already-ridiculous workload?

I’m just starting to tackle these questions, so I’m very keen for your input!


Many thanks to our guest blogger: Stephen McConnachie, Middleton Grange School, Christchurch.

Comments

  • Vanitha Govini

    Thanks Stephen for sharing your blog with us. It is very intereting to hear about the importance of effective pedagogy within our Maths classrooms and how digital technologies can enhance the learning experiences of our students. Looking forward to reading your blog in future.