Ketrina Teresa, Year 6 class teacher and Maths lead, discusses how embracing new technology can improve learners' experience of maths in the classroom. As well as exploring future edtech trends and AI in primary schools.
Q - What are your three top tips for utilising technology to improve learners' experience of maths in the classroom?
1. Interactive Learning Tools
Bring maths to life with cool interactive tools like maths apps, online simulations and virtual manipulatives. They make maths less abstract and more exciting for students - plus they save teachers lots of time and mess if you don’t have the time or energy to get out all the physical classroom manipulatives.
These tools let students get hands-on, explore concepts and really understand them in a fun way. Using your interactive whiteboards or projectors to show maths software or websites during class is a simple way to boost engagement as it lets everyone see and join in on the action!
Turn maths into a game to boost student motivation and participation. Try out educational maths games, online quizzes, or interactive competitions that give instant feedback and rewards.
Gamification brings out healthy competition, encourages a growth mindset and turns maths into a cool and interactive experience. It’s important to look for maths apps or platforms that personalise learning, ideally adjusting difficulty levels and tracking progress to fit each student's needs.
3. Online Collaborative Platforms
Get students collaborating, problem-solving and communicating with online tools. Platforms like Google Classroom, Microsoft Teams or maths-specific collaboration tools let students work together on maths projects, share ideas and give feedback.
Encourage online discussions, virtual group work and collaborative problem-solving activities that build critical thinking and teamwork skills.
Plan virtual maths competitions or challenges where students can collaborate with peers from other classrooms or even different schools. It's all about creating a sense of community and friendly competition.
By using technology in maths classes, you can make learning more interactive, engaging and tailored to each student. You are also making cross-curricular links with computing and PSHE when showing how to safely and effectively use technology.
Q - What are the future edtech trends in your opinion?
1. Personalisation and Adaptive Learning
Edtech should continue to prioritise personalised learning experiences tailored to individual student needs, abilities and learning styles. Adaptive learning platforms, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), can analyse student data and adjust content and instructions to optimise learning outcomes.
2. Augmented and Virtual Reality
It would be amazing to see the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in edtech! This would be a great way to enhance engagement and offer immersive learning experiences for students. AR and VR provide interactive simulations, virtual school trips and realistic experiences, making abstract concepts more tangible.
3. Digital Divide and Equity
One thing all edtech companies should do is address the digital divide. This is essential to ensure equitable access to edtech tools and resources for all students. Brands should focus on creating affordable, inclusive and accessible solutions to bridge the technology gap among students.
Here are some things teachers and parents/carers should keep in mind:
Ongoing professional development for teachers is key to optimising edtech in the classroom. Staff need to stay updated and learn new tricks to make the most of these tech tools.
Parents' involvement and support are very important. They should get to know edtech tools and how these can benefit their child's learning at home.
Find the tech-life balance: it’s important to promote healthy tech habits. Encourage breaks, outdoor activities and a good balance between digital and offline experiences.
And here are a few challenges to watch out for:
Make sure schools and homes have the right infrastructure and connectivity to support edtech.
Providing training and support for teachers is essential. They need the tools and know-how to seamlessly incorporate edtech into their lessons.
Making edtech solutions affordable for schools is a challenge but it needs to be tackled.
It's important to handle student data ethically and ensure that it's kept secure.
Q: Do you think AI (Artificial Intelligence) is starting to be harnessed within primary schools?
The potential benefits of AI in primary education are significant. AI can provide personalised learning through differentiated tasks, for example: helping teachers with data analysis and marking, and generally supplementing the work teachers do.
With careful planning and training, investment, and a focus on ethical considerations, AI can play a valuable role in enhancing learning experiences and reducing teacher workload and stress.
All of this directly benefits students and supports them in their achievements in primary schools.
Brief summary of your career: I started my career studying languages at Swansea University, where my passion for diverse cultures and communication grew. After completing my studies, I pursued a PGCE at Bristol University, specialising in secondary language teaching. During my training, I immersed myself in various secondary schools, honing my teaching skills. Following that, I became a manager at a maths and english tuition company, which further fuelled my passion for primary education. I transitioned to primary teaching and have been a primary class teacher for Year 4 and Year 6 for the past 5 years. I have also shared my language expertise across Key Stage 2. In the last year, I discovered my true passion: mathematics. As a Maths Lead, I enthusiastically ignite the same enthusiasm for numbers within my students and colleagues.
What’s your favourite thing about maths? I love that maths is a universal language!
Why does maths matter? It helps us understand the world around us! It enables precise calculations, logical reasoning and the discovery of patterns and relationships that help us make sense of the complexities of the universe
What do your students enjoy most about maths? My students love real-life maths! When maths is connected to real-life situations, they often find it more interesting. They appreciate seeing how mathematical concepts are applicable in everyday life, such as calculating money, measuring ingredients for cooking, or understanding shapes and patterns in the world around them.
Additional resources and support from Pearson
Teaching tools are available to support pictorial manipulatives, for example, Power Maths.
Our Diversity and Inclusion poster series showcases key mathematicians who have inspired us and positively impacted the way that we live today. Featured individuals range from Katherine Johnson, the first African-American woman to work as a NASA scientist, to Al-Khwarizmi, the man who is considered to have written the first book on algebra.
Pearson has a range of resources that will help make maths learning fun. This includes Power Maths and Maths Flex, which help learners become maths masters.