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 (

MathTappers: Equivalents is available now.

Another free app from MathTappers. This app is designed to help learners build mastery and fluency in converting between fractions, decimals and percent. The visual model presented has 3 modes - just slide your finger sideways across the model at the top of the screen to find the model that is most useful to you. As always we would like to encourage learners to build mastery first - then worry about speed. Parents, tutors and teachers, might challenge learners to share their strategies and explain their choices.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Leading students to learning with iOS apps

In one of our presentations at ISTE we shared some strategies for using apps in the classroom.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

ISTE 2011

We are having a great time. Many folks have come by to thank us or share a story about how they are using our apps. We appreciate the great feedback! Please also try to rate our apps on the app store.

If you are new to Mathtappers, welcome! Just search on the app store for mathtappers and you will find the 5 apps that we have on the store right now. We have another 4 apps that are close and another 30 waiting in the wings to move forward.

Our apps are all free and without any ads or upsells. We hope to keep them that way so that more students can benefit from them. Our primary goals as math teacher educators are to help children make sense of and master mathematical concepts and skills and to find out how best to accomplish such. Mathtappers apps represent one type of tool that we believe will prove effective

I will post the slides from our Fast Track presentation in the SIGGS playground shortly. At that presentation we described some classroom strategies for introducing instructional apps and engaging students.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Presentation at NCTM - April 15, 2011

We had a great turnout to our session on Friday. Here are the slides as promised (sorry for the delay).

* indicates app is still in development - coming soon to iTunes.