# Best Teaching Strategies For A 21st Century Math Classroom

*FUTURISTIC MATH*

Imagine a classroom where students are cheerful and stress free, where the teacher facilitates independent Math learning by the students. Imagine a class where the students are simply accelerating their progress through visual models for conceptual understanding. This is what a future classroom should look like. A place where students of different abilities can work together to accelerate their learning.

**POWER OF TECHNOLOGY**

Technology has seeped into our lives more than ever in the last 5 years. The rapid progression in technology and automation has really taken us light years ahead. So, it is not a surprise that the educational sector has started using technology in a large scale recently.

Modern classrooms of today are using the power of internet to boost learning in children. The availability of affordable wireless connectivity in schools is a major factor in this adoption. More students are now familiar with a laptop or a tablet in the last 5 years than before. The schools which use technology to assist learning are faster in teaching concepts to their students.

According to Jo Boaler and team at Stanford Graduate school of education, this can help students absorb concepts at a deeper level. Many other educational activities at home are also totally based on technology.

**BENEFITS OF TECHNOLOGY**

In fact, using technology in Math learning has been found to be beneficial because:

**1)** Students adapt to different learning styles. The student who usually does a Math sum on a paper can now try in the digital medium where he will be making visual models with the help of technology.

**2)** It is found to boost the motivation to do Math in students, the digital medium is user friendly and helps the students to manipulate easily, so they might work with it longer than the traditional workbook.

**3)** It is also found to enhance the concept being taught. The ability of the computer to make instant changes in the result with change of the parameters will help the student to try different methods to solve. The modelling of the problem could also be a great tool to help reach the solution faster.

So, a 21st century classroom must have the provision of technological tools of learning to take the students to the future. In the next ten years, we will see more and more of technology based learning methods getting popular with students and teachers alike.

*BENEFITS TO TEACHERS*

The teachers are one of the biggest gainers in this adoption. They can now integrate their curriculum with the latest information to pass on to the next generation of students. They can handle challenges like lack of focus, laziness to write, spending less time on the current subject etc. Most students will be more ready to type than write. They will also be willing to spend more time per subject if the teacher uses technology. The younger students might be attracted by the appropriate comments generated by the app.

For example: the app says “well done” on successful completion of an activity. It might say “try again” for an error in calculation.

According to studies of Matific digital resources at schools, the findings were positive. The students enjoyed using the digital resource on iPads and computers, and went from thinking about Mathematics as something to be tolerated or endured to something that is fun to learn. This makes the job of the teacher easier as the students are more willing to tackle difficult problems in Math. An added bonus was that the children voluntarily started to use their screen time at home to do Math. Pre & post test data also indicated that the use of the technology contributed to improved Mathematics results.

**BENEFITS TO STUDENTS**

The benefits to students are manifold. The pros outweigh the cons in adopting technology in the Math class. The student can absorb many more concepts in the same time as most concepts could be explained visually to the student which might not be possible in the traditional set up. This is why Math concepts are more easily explained with the aid of technology.

Unlike other streams of learning like humanities, math really benefits with the use of visual medium. The technology could be made more effective once it is made interactive and the inputs from both the student and the teacher are recorded. The interaction between the students and the teacher also improves dramatically.

**BENEFITS TO THE CLASS**

Lateral thinking exercises are very important parts of early Math learning. This can be visualized much better through the digital medium. For example, simple puzzles can be modeled in the computer and the student can try different ways to solve using the model .The students can make their own models using technology and work out a solution sometimes without any external help.

This relieves stress on the student as well as the teacher. Using technology is therefore very beneficial to the overall learning environment no matter what the age of the student is.

**BENEFITS TO CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS**

Another important advantage is the way technology can be used to enhance learning in children with special needs and adults. Children with learning disabilities may be assisted to use tablet devices which might help them handle their spelling, reading and Math . They might learn more quickly with visual representation as well. Even specific conditions like dyslexia can be handled with appropriate methods in technology.

**INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY WITH LEARNING IN THE RIGHT WAY**

The future classroom could be much more hands on with manipulatives and technology to assist the students. A visual representation of any topic especially area, volume etc is enough for the student to solve problems much faster. The class can be made interactive as well with groups of students working on projects to deepen their understanding.

The future lectures could take place using the projector and screen. The teacher can make this interactive with inputs from the students at every step. Video conferencing with other classrooms from different schools can also make a particular topic to be handled by an expert to promote in-depth learning.

The future Math classroom could also make the students to focus more on the hands on approach which will make them more analytical in their life. The critical thinking skills they acquire during this time will ensure good decision making in life as well.

The future classroom might make the students addicted to gadgetry too. So the teacher should make sure that the students do not lose touch with the traditional set up as well. The time on laptops or tablets could be limited to an hour or maximum two each day.

In addition, the school must ensure data privacy as well. The digital content that the students are exposed to should be monitored carefully. The students should be made aware of the dangers of digital content and cautioned on the bad effects of computers/ tablets. The teacher can keep the passwords private and provide access on request.

**TANGIBLE BENEFITS TO THE SCHOOL**

Effective teachers optimize the potential of technology to develop students’ understanding, stimulate their interest, and increase their proficiency in mathematics. When teachers use technology strategically, they can provide greater access to Mathematics for all the students.

The role of the teacher is to guide the students correctly and make sure that the students achieve their learning outcomes with good understanding. The integration with technology might be the key to achieve this target. For example, the student can explain much better with the help of visual tools available in the computer.

The progress of the students can be mapped into the graphs and the students themselves can analyze their problem areas and work on them.This gives the students an idea about their learning gaps and they can fill those gaps in the next few days.

The teacher can get a full view of each student’s progress in this way and she can take steps to bring all the students in more or less the same trajectory. The school as a whole could progress and teachers and students could be relatively stress free.

- Live one on one classroom and doubt clearing
- Practice worksheets in and after class for conceptual clarity
- Personalized curriculum to keep up with school