Friday, May 2, 2014

Using an Infograph to Share Information -Can Digital Resources Support Mathematical Achievement ?

An info graph or pic-to graph is a way of presenting a wealth of information in a graphic and visual way. There are several free web sites which assist you in creating a info graph.  Here are a few:

This week I explored each site to find one that "worked for me" to present research and information about utilizing digital resources to increase mathematical achievement.  Over the past 5 years I have experimented with numerous digital resources to support mathematics instruction.  I have discovered that there are pros and cons to all of them and some have very specific strengths and purposes.  A major pitfall of some of the mathematics digital resources has more to do with the way the teacher uses it than the program itself.  I have seen too many cases of what I call " the plop and drop syndrome" where a student is blindly sent to a computer to "play a math game".  I personally feel that when used in a carefully designed plan digital resources can be extremely beneficial.

 I was surprised to find out that the conclusions of a current study, The Effectiveness of Educational Applications for Enhancing Mathematics Achievement in K-12 Classrooms: A Meta-Analysis by Cheung and Slavin, 2013, found that "educational technology is making a modest difference in mathematics achievement".  This realization has helped me to reflect on many other strengths of digital resources in addition to student achievement.  These facts are displayed on my infogaph here:

Can Digital Resources Support Mathematical Achievement?

As I was developing my infograph I was able to post the initial idea and gain some feedback from my peers.  The feedback supported the development and refining as I revised the project.  The process of creating the infograph helped me to see and articulate years of work with digital resources. I learned that the student achievement in mathematics attributed solely to use of technology is modest but that it is important to look at the many other uses of technology in the larger framework of teaching mathematics.  For example the areas of diagnostic and formative assessment, providing access to real world problem solving, differentiation and personalized learning, student engagement, and mathematical modeling can all be enhanced by utilizing digital tools.  So my original question has spurred more questions for future investigation in terms of  how much each of these tools impact teaching and learning.

The infograph is one way to present much information and show relationships in a visual manner.  The best way to get started using them in your class is to click on the links above and "play".  It takes time to discover the various features of each product.  You could use these tools in your class as a way of reporting a number of assignments.  Students will find them either totally engaging or frustrating, dependent on their own style of learning.  As we provide alternate forms of assessment for our students I see the infographic creations as a powerful tool to utilize.

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