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)


  1. Great saying "Children learn first through social interaction and making meaning" see more on 6 Habits Developed in College That Will Bring You Wealth in Adulthood
    these apps will help children to learn math in an enjoyable way. Thanks for sharing

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