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The right tool for maths

Rhona Dick from Micros and Primary Education offers some ideas

Teachers have used information and communication technology to support the development of mathematics for many years, employing a range of software to reinforce mathematical concepts. How has the numeracy framework changed our use of ICT?

ICT should be used when it specifically addresses teaching and learning objectives for the daily mathematics lesson, and where it is the most suitable way of delivering these objectives. It is most effective when used as a teacher demonstration tool for modelling mathematics. It can also be used as part of a class activity where the teacher works with a group of six to eight pupils to demonstrate, explain, question, stimulate discussion and encourage hypothesis.

Most schools have a range of suitable software. Children can use readymade sets of data to explore and explain patterns. Using a branching or tree database can develop mathematical vocabulary, thinking and problem-solving skills. Floor turtles and the Logo program are invaluable for work on concepts such as length.

The numeracy framework says that calculator skills must be taught and, when properly used, they have a valuable role to play in developing many aspects of children's mathematical understanding. An overhead calculator is a great tool for whole class teaching.

There are lots of Internet sites with suitable activities. You could start with Internet Treasure Trails for key stage 1 and 2 pupils. You can find these, with teachers' notes at: MAPE Focus on Maths also provides activities. Copies (pound;10 each) are available from MAPE. Tel: 01248 602655.

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