Monday, November 27, 2017

Presenting at SmartShow 2017 in Beijing:

Nov 27, 2017
Simple Game-based 
Learning Apps: 
Principles for Design and Use

If you want to see the video go here

SmartShow – The International Educational IT Solutions Expo 2017

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Introducing MathTappers: MultiMatch

Our newest learning app for the iPad.

It's a simple matching game app that lets you create and load your own decks. Please check it out!

you can play with all of the cards exposed

or you can play a matching game that requires you to remember what is hidden

Cards can have more than one image, and sets can have 1, 2, 3, or more cards.
And if you visit the MultiMatch decks page on the right you can make your own!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Handout for "Want To Help Your Child Learn Math? There Are Apps for That!"

Want to help your child learn math – there are apps for that….

Braefoot Elementary – Jan 25, 2016

Tim Pelton

Who are you?
Tablets, smartphones, screen time?
How do you help your child learn math?

Some theories to support learning:

Big Idea #1 “the purpose of the state is to educate people – to make them virtuous”

Big Idea #2  “Learning is a series of question and answer propositions.”  We need to ask questions, encourage questions, share questions (TPS) etc..

Vygotsky: Social Development Theory

Children learn first through social interaction and making meaning.

Big Idea #1 Set up learning opportunities within reach (ZPD)

Big Idea #2.  Reciprocal teaching and peer tutoring are powerful tools to support learning. 

Big Idea #3. Focus on summarizing, clarifying, questioning, predicting.

Big Idea #4 Children raised in environments where there is more cognitive and linguistic stimulation have a developmental advantage.

Piaget: Cognitive Dev. & Constructivism

Children naturally try to make sense of the world

We are all seeking equilibrium, (assimilating and accommodating). 

We develop through stages (continuous progression):
1.Sensorimotor (0-2)   
- Object permanence
2.Preoperational (2-7)   
- Egocentric
3.Concrete operational (7-11)
- Conservation
4.Formal operational (11+)
- Abstract reasoning  (~1/3 of adults reach this?).         

Big Idea #1 Children progress through stages - no point in pushing new ideas before their time

Big Idea #2 Learning happens through disequilibrium.  Children need time to conduct independent explorations.

Bruner: Constructivism
The learner transforms their experiences into knowledge

Big Idea #1  A child of any age is capable of understanding complex information (!) – But not by rote – by discovery

Big Idea #2 - We present new ideas in a sequence:  Concrete/action –> Visual/iconic/descriptive –> Abstract/symbolic

Big idea #3 Spiral Curriculum with Scaffolding (teachers, tutors, parents, peers) is the way to go.

Big Idea #4 Radical constructivism is difficult to follow through on – perhaps a more pragmatic version of constructivism intermingled with instructivism, objectivism, cognitivism & behaviourism.

Papert: Constructionism

Big Idea #1 – We learn best by creating something tangible.

Big Idea #2 – Project-Based learning (PBL) with teachers as coaches and facilitators

Big Idea #3 – discovery learning rather than teacher led learning

van Hiele

The van Hiele model – students progress through a series levels of understanding in geometry
Affected by experience rather than by age. 

Big Idea #1  If students learn by rote and without understanding they will not be able to apply it in new situations.

Big idea #2  We progress through Recognition, Description, Definition, Deduction, Rigor

Big idea #3 Pushing ideas earlier may be possible – but not very efficient.


Bloom’s taxonomy describes the types of learning objectives.  The domain that gathers most of the attention is cognitive: Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Evaluation, & Synthesis.

Big Idea #1 

Questions for audience
  How many of you have downloaded apps to help your child learn? – What did you discover?
  What concerns do you have about using iPads
  What makes a useful App

What we look for in Apps
  No ads, clean, not too distracting
  Intuitive to get started - easy to use
  Can be shared
  Immediate feedback (but not immediate answers)
  Substantial educational component
  (see Bloom’s objectives)
  Resources for parents/teachers
  Some support provided (to help figure out the problems)
  Mastery before fluency (not time bound)
  Tracking of progress

Some Apps we have created (most MathTappers are free) and recommend)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Explain Your Thinking: Creating Comics, Manipulatives and Animations on iPads

Presented at NCTM 2013

Saturday, April 20, 2013
9:30 AM-10:30 AM   
203 (Convention Center)

Lead Speaker:  Leslee Francis Pelton
Co-Speaker:  Timothy W. Pelton

See how students can quickly and efficiently create comics, videos, and animations on their iPads to show what they know and how they know it. We will share examples from number sense, ratio and proportion, geometry, and measurement.
View a PDF version of the presentation  

Friday, April 19, 2013

Apps That Work in Math Class

Presented at NCTM 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013  
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM   
Mile High 2 C

Lead Speaker: Timothy W. Pelton 
Co-Speaker: Leslee Francis Pelton 

Many educational apps exist for the iPad, but finding apps that go beyond drill and practice is difficult. We will share apps that offer opportunities for students to explore, reason, discuss, and understand mathematical concepts and that support consolidation and practice. We will also share strategies for classroom use of iPads.
Presentation Format: 3-5 Session
Grade Band Audience: 6 to 8, 3 to 5

Thursday, April 11, 2013

50th Anniversary Deans' Lecture Series
Spring 2013 Legacy Art Gallery Lecture: What's New in Education?
Wednesday, April 10: 7 to 8:30 pm, Legacy Gallery, 630 Yates Street
Tablets, ebooks and apps—what are they bringing to the classroom that isn't already there? How will these new tools help children learn? How can teachers, parents and others use them to support 21st century learning?
Speakers: Tim Pelton, PhD and Leslee Francis-Pelton, PhD and Chair, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, UVic.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Measuring Length: Centimetres - Free iBook

Hey, I finally revised my first iBook.  I wrote it to see if I could help children (and adults) master measurement.  This is just the first of a series that I hope to create.

Measuring Length: Centimetres - As I understand it, you can only download it onto iBooks on an iPod, iPhone or iPad.

Did I mention it was free?

Friday, June 22, 2012

Sharing strategies - learning with MathTappers at ISTE

We are heading out to ISTE this coming week.  We have a few opportunities to share our MathTapper apps and some strategies that we have collected as we have used them in the classroom.  

Our main presentation is:

Ten Strategies for Effective Use of iPods in Math Class
Wednesday, 6/27/2012, 10:15am–11:15am, SDCC 30CD - but it is sold out

We will post a summary of our strategies after the presentation - for now please download our apps, so that you are prepared.  Just search for Mathtappers on iTunes.  (Note that they are all free and have no ads or in-app purchases!)

We will also be presenting at:

SIGGS Games and Simulations Arcade
Monday, 6/25/2012, 8:00am–12:00pm,  SDCC Sails Pavilion

MathTappers: Apps for iOS Devices
Tuesday, 6/26/2012, 1:00pm–3:00pm,  SDCC Halls DE Lobby , Table: 18

SIGML Mobile Learning Playground
Wednesday, 6/27/2012, 9:00am–10:00am,  SDCC Sails Pavilion

We have had a lot of fantastic feedback when we meet folks who are using our apps -and we appreciate it!  If you want to give them a boost - please rate them for us.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hey I made a math book!

I used iBooks Author to create an iBook.  It is designed to help children understand what length is, and to help them to build a collection of useful referents for centimetres - but it will work best if there is an adult beside the child encouraging, questioning and supporting  them through the exploration.

You may download it to your iPad (that is the only place you can use it right now) by clicking on the link below.  It is about 14 MB in size, so it may take a couple of minutes.  When it is finished downloading - open it in iBooks.

Share it with a child and share it with your friends!

Send me feedback (

Friday, April 27, 2012

Two presentations at NCTM 2012 in Philadelphia

We had two great presentations today at NCTM.

The first was focused on using MathTapper apps to support learning in K-5 classrooms, while the second  presentation was focused on learning in middle school classrooms.

Please remember to rate our apps if you download them.  Good ratings mean that they float into view when others go looking for math apps.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

We are expanding... ScienceTappers and WordTappers

We have had good success with our MathTapper apps - 7 on the store and many more to come. As we share these with our colleagues in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria, we (collectively) see the potential for many other similarly useful learning apps - apps that are designed to help children make sense in various domains.

In response to this we have started designing apps for Science (ScienceTappers) and Language arts (WordTappers).

Friday, September 2, 2011

MathTappers in the News

We've had a busy week with interviews after releasing a short media tip.

Tuesday August 30th:
Article in The Province

Article in The Ottawa Citizen

Note on BC Business Beat

Wednesday August 31st:
Comment on The Teacher's Cabinet-Teach With Technology Blog

Article in Times Colonist

and an interview on CTV - Toronto evening news

Thursday September 1st:
Interview on CTV - Victoria evening news

Friday September 2nd:
Interview on CFAX 1070 Victoria
Listen to a podcast of our interview on CFAX 1070

Saturday September 3rd:
Interview on CKNW - The World Today Weekend with Sean Leslie

Tuesday September 6th
Interview on CBC Radio - The morning show: On the Island with Gregor Craigie

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Release: Creating and Sharing Mobile Apps to Help Children Learn Mathematics

University of Victoria Mathematics teacher educators Dr. Tim Pelton and Dr. Leslee Francis Pelton (Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education) have been designing mobile apps to help children build their mathematical understandings. Currently they have published six different MathTappers apps on the iTunes store (including the award winning Carbon Choices app) but they are not done yet. In collaboration with others, they have several apps undergoing final revisions in preparation for publishing, and dozens more at various stages of development. All MathTappers apps are free to download and free of ads and upsell offers.

”With MathTappers our goal is to create a comprehensive collection of free apps to support children in playing with, exploring and understanding mathematics. The direct and intuitive touch interface on mobile devices (i.e., iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone) is an ideal platform for engaging children. We want to help children to learn mathematics and we believe that one way to accomplish this is by creating simple easy-to-use applications for devices that are already in their (or their parents’) pockets.” - Tim Pelton.

To ensure that the apps are educationally sound, proven dynamic visual and interactive models are integrated into each of the MathTappers apps to help children capture and make sense of the math they are learning. A quick search of the iTunes store reveals that there are close to 4000 math related apps – and while some are commendable, few employ visual models to support understanding and almost all of the rest over-focus on maximizing the recall speed of facts or rote performance of procedures. “We believe that emphasis should be on understanding mathematics first – with fluency as a secondary goal – and that has guided our design process.” – Leslee Francis Pelton.

Teachers viewing and testing MathTappers apps at international conferences this Spring/Summer have been responding enthusiastically – recognizing the value of both the integrated models and their potential to support students as they develop conceptual mastery and the integrated progress tracking tools. Initial piloting this past Spring suggests that the MathTappers apps are effective and engaging in supporting classroom discussions, small group work and independent learning. Formal evaluation of the apps will continue this Fall.

MathTappers apps are not designed to replace teachers, parents or tutors but rather to integrate with, and support, existing best practices. In the classroom they can be used as a resource to foster discussions and group explorations, and then later to augment individual consolidation, remediation and fluency building activities. Parents might also download these apps and use them to engage their children in any-time any-place discussions about math and challenge them to develop greater understanding and fluency as an alternative to playing other types of games.

By searching for “MathTappers” on the iTunes store today, you will find: Clock Master, Find Sums, Multiples, Estimate Fractions, Equivalents and Carbon Choices

Development of the MathTappers collection of apps has been supported in many ways including:
- Grants from CER-Net, NSERC Pacific Crystal and the Faculty of Education CORE
- Programming, design and development assistance from coop students and graduate students and faculty in the Computer Science Department at the University of Victoria
- Production, programming and publishing sponsored by local iPhone development company HeavyLifters Network Ltd. (

Additional resources are being sought to support the further development and evaluation activities.

For more information please visit or contact Tim Pelton (