Time zones around the world with an iPod


Sceenshots of free ipod apps – World times and Google maps

An activity to learn about time zones around the world – go to “World Clock” and choose four cities from around the world, including the main city closest to where you are now. Try to choose places in both hemispheres and different distances from your main city. Find these cities on “Google Maps” and take a screen shots of the world map. Go to “Etch-a-Sketch” (the free – lite – version is fine) and copy the map into the background. Mark on the map where these cities are and compare the location with the time. Can you estimate the time in other main cities around the world based on these times? Where do you think the international date line is?

Maths learning on iPods!

screen capture Fraction Factory

Screen Capture of the Fraction Factory application for iPod Touch

As I wrote at Technoscience, I attended the Slide2Learn conference recently, learning about how to engage students in their Maths learning with Touch technology. Many parents may be concerned that their children are using these mobile devices for entertainment, rather than solid educational purposes. Victorian schools have tended to move away from ‘rote learning’ – continuous drills of multiplication tables for example – although many students still find instant recall of number facts difficult. Although I usually suggest to my students that they practise at home, perhaps with a multiplication grid on the back of their toilet door or above their bed, most kids I know are unlikely to spend the time necessary to make much of a difference. However, with an iPod Touch in their hands, they can practise with some of the following applications:

  • Times Tables Free – count the apples in groups, listen to the answers to multiplication facts and generate random questions.
  • Count By  – a 100 number grid with different colours to count by 5’s for example – also useful as an Erastothene’s seive, to find prime numbers.
  • Brain Tuner and Maths Magic Lite – maths problems with basic operations
  • Write Answer – Sums Lite – use your finger to write the answer to basic operations
  • Column Subtration for ‘take away with big numbers’
  • Math Tappers is a great blog with lots of examples of different maths apps
  • Math Magic – Simple, colouful design with multiple choice style qustions
  • Number Rumble – ($2.99) Basic operations to learn and quiz from Leapfrog – looks and sounds great!

Fractions are often a very difficult concept for middle years students and there are some great applications to practise sequencing fractions, finding equivalent fractions, ordering and converting as well as performing basic operations with fractions.

  • MV Fractions from Maths Village – short videos showing how to solve fractions problems
  • Fraction Factory – Move a fraction cog onto  the correct position on a number line(shown above)
  • Number Line – Move fractions and percentages into the correct order on a number line (shown below)
  • Match Up (LITE)- Match fractions and percentages and Match Up ($2.99)

Screen capture Number Line

Screen Capture of the Number Line application for iPod Touch

So, how do teachers (or parents) know what students have been practising without peering over their shoulder? You can take a screen shot of the result (most applications give a score or show you are ready for the next level) by holding the top (on/off) button and pressing ‘home’ at the same time – this image is saved in  ‘Photos’ .  Students can show you this image from their photos or send it to a blog (using Posterous) or to any email address.

How I plan to use this in my 6/7 classroom, is to have three groups of 8 or 9 students, with one group working on iPods, another teacher focus group and the third group on Mathletics or a hands-on problem solving task from Maths 300. Each student in the iPod group will be required to identify a learning need – perhaps ‘practising my 7 times tables’ or ‘learning to add fractions’ and search for at least two applications that purport to meet that need. They will then trial those apps. and complete a PMI or SWOT to identify which activity helped them most or which one they found most useful and why. This would also be submitted to the teacher as evidence of the work completed. I am really looking forward to implementing this kind of differentiated learning in my classes!