Maths - Smart thinking

18th September 2009 at 01:00

Use of technology in the maths department of a West Lothian secondary used to be "stagnant" but now is being hailed as an example of good practice by HMIE.

Five years ago, James Young High in Livingston was kitted out with Smartboards, and maths teachers went from seldom making use of technology in their lessons to enthusiastically exploring the possibilities, according to teacher John Sexton.

Investing in expensive, complex software, like The Geometer's Sketch Pad, was out, however. "We didn't want a program we would have to teach teachers or kids how to use, which was only going to be relevant to the top 10 per cent of pupils. Instead, we looked for `freeware' and `open source'. A lot of people are taking the internet back to the original concept, a way of sharing information freely."

Mr Sexton also enthused about schools intranet Glow and the way in which it had turned his S4 Credit class into a community able to exchange ideas 247. "The biggest success was homework discussion," he said. "We ended up with more than 600 items."

They found some useful sites including:

www.csfsoftware.co.uk

www.interactive-resources.co.uk

www.virtualimage.co.uk.

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