The digital environment – changing how we learn

HOTmaths – nets of solids

Technology in education has radically changed how we teach and learn – it is no longer simply a tool for consuming the same content in a different format.  Instead, the new learning environment is flexible, expansive, interconnected and individualized.  The best learning resources take advantage of these new possibilities by providing students with multiple entry points into the content, then allowing them to choose to learn in the way that suits them best.  HOTmaths is one such resource, an innovative, online mathematics teaching and learning program for Primary and Secondary students.

HOTmaths – widget for estimating volume

Imagine an animation – a ‘widget’ – showing the nets of solids opening and closing in a variety of ways, or an interactive investigation estimating different capacities in unusually shaped containers.  These widgets engage visual learners who may struggle with text-based or traditional teacher-led lessons.

For kinesthetic learners, a range of open-ended investigations and problem-solving tasks link mathematics to the real world and turns theory into tangible, comprehensible ideas.  For example, students learning about angles and measurement might be asked to design a doorway with a semicircular, multi-pane window at the top; students learning about graphing and mathematical language can experiment with online widgets, then practice by drawing graphs of their own journeys.

HOTmaths – example of a HOTsheet investigation

Students who prefer to work logically and methodically, often text-based learners, are supported with walkthrough problems that guide students step by step through the skills needed to complete multi-step tasks.  These activities break questions down into single, logical steps that the student can work through at their own pace and level, receiving individualized feedback as they go to reinforce their understanding of the processes.

Regardless of the way students learn or choose to study, their work is instantly marked and their level of understanding diagnosed.  This gives them (and their teachers) the tools they need to continue differentiating the learning to match their learning style and level.  In this reflexive and highly individualized learning environment, students have the best chance of successful learning.

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