I recently took a job working with middle school teachers to help them integrate technology into the curriculum, but our district's resources are somewhat limited.  In both middle schools of about 700 students each, there is one lab.  Each teacher has a laptop and projector, so the district is really pushing the 'one computer classroom' platform.  I'm looking for some resources or project ideas that middle school math teachers can use to integrate technology into their math curriculum. 

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Hi Elise,
I also work with middle school math teachers. Does your school have SMART Boards?
Nope! Some the elementary schools in the district have been gifted with smart boards and ipads from their PTO's, but the middle schools haven't yet reaped those benefits.
Sorry to hear that:( I would take advantage of the computer labs! Some useful resources we've used (I also co-teach with a middle school math teacher) include:
http://www.e-learningforkids.org/courses.html#math (has interactive resources for elem. and lower middle school)

I hope you find something here. Good luck!
PS It's also my first year as a Tech. Integration Specialist. If you have any great ideas let me know. We will also be doing a Technology PLC:/
I'd be really interested in a tech PLC! I'm trying to get a Ning up and running with some middle school teachers (across content levels), but we have all these issues with kids under 13 not being able to sign up or be invited to things because of age.

I'm really looking for math project ideas rather than just games or online activities that they can play in the computer lab. I've got a good list started, so hopefully it will continue to develop!
Do you have any wireless tablets (like a Wacom or SMART Airliner)? With a projected image, the tablet can be handed to a student at their table/desk to operate whatever is up on screen. Some brands even allow multiples to be running at the same time. If one of those isn't available, a good Bluetooth mouse can usually stay in range and work inside a classroom sized room.

Johnny Lee does a TED Talk that shows you how to use a Wiimote to get most of what a real smart board provides. I think you are probably looking at about $100 after the dust settles.

This is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgKCrGvShZs

Dear Elise,

Are you interested in additional hardware or software applications?
I deal mostly in hardware, I quess that I was a hands on learner. I am going to discuss single unit technology add ons.

The main benefit of additional hardware is to increase the student's participation and interaction in class. Thus all manufacturer's try to include the term "interactive" in their product offerings.
My business goal now, is to research low cost products that will increase interactivity into a classroom.

So, here's a short list and with some benefits.

Interactive Whiteboards: Allows teacher to operate and control their computer's software from a wall mounted whiteboard, eliminating chalk and markers. Lessons can be recorded, saved, printed , or emailed. Most companies offer educational software packages geared toward satisfying state standards.
The future of this technology is a low cost system. The WiiMote revolution has not gone unnoticed. The biggest drawback with WiiMotes is their battery usage, The new products rely on USB connected IR webcams with infrared emitting pens that run with one AAA battery. These new products will retail below $200.00 per set. I will be evaluating two of these systems over the next 3 months. The only drawback with IR is direct sunlight on the screen.

Document Cameras: Video cameras that connect directly to a projector and can integrate with a computer via USB.
These allow the teacher to display any document or 3D object to an entire class on a whiteboard or movie screen.
They will increase student involvement by encouraging stsudents to display their work the class.
Once again, new document cameras that are USB only are under $400.00 each and we will soon break the $200.00 mark.

Interactive Wireless tablets: Once again, wireless control of the computer's programs and display. These are pen/mouse devices that require a tablet to function. They have a 30-45 ft range. They can be used by students to write onto the projection display. These are currently retailing for $300.-$500 for each unit.

Interactive Pens: The wireless tablets work pretty well, but they are restricted by the constraints of the tablet itself. An interactive pen/mouse functions as a wireless mouse that one can write legibly with. I expect them to work more naturally. They should require less hand eye coordination than the tablets. You do not have to hold, look and write at the same time. Now, the student can solve a problem on the board from their desk.
I have two manufacturer's products on order and I will evaluate these as well. These are cheaper than tablets, they will retail for under $90.00, have a 30-40 foot range.

I think that covers all of the single unit tech add ons. Student response systems are multi unit systems. They use IR or RF to communicate with the computer's installed respose software. Once again, watch that sunlight. I performed a document camera demo for a district meeting a year ago, the guy ahead of me had a student response system that was IR. It was a sunny day and the blinds were open. The whole system failed! UGHHH!

I've been reading some of the iPad and iPod touch posts.....These platforms will evolve to do it all. Look over a few of the posts. The possibilities are endless.

I'm in the market for free, project/unit ideas that are used in conjunction with content. Thanks!
Dear Elise,

Free is nice! We all like FREE! BUT technology is device oriented and software driven.

So, here are two free sites.

Free Trial, forever, of easy to use interactive software, Use a wireless mouse and you'll control your computer and projected display from anywhere in the room. I've been playing with this software. If its easy for me, its easy for everybody. Old dog, new tricks.

Here's a website of one of our members: Now this is K-5 but it is indicitive of the great sharing of ideas.

I am a hardware, gizmo type of person. So I lean more towards stuff, rather than concepts. I like tangible gear, whether its a chain saw or a document camera.

Sorry that I misunderstood your request.


Hi Elise,

I'm a software developer and get a fair amount of consultancy and development work from the European Commission. They fund projects in elearning software and content development that will be released as open source and Creative Commons licensed, i.e. free! The European Commission has a strong commitment to open source software. One project I'm consulting with will be aimed at middle-school to upper-school Maths but that won't start until late this year.

I'd be really interested in your feedback and ideas on some experiments I've been playing with on my R&D Moodle site. They're simple, interactive, geometric activities that are supposed to be illustrative and exploratory rather than test learners' knowledge. I'm not a Maths teacher and so I'm not really sure what Maths teachers look for in interactive software of this nature or how it would fit into a Maths curriculum. Obviously, programming itself is a combination of Maths and logic, and so mathematical tools are very easy to develop in software. The only limit is our imaginations.

Play with the blue and green sliders to increase and decrease the parameters. I look forward to reading feedback here. All are welcome!

Moodle course: http://moodle.matbury.com/course/view.php?id=38

I just did a project with my math students last week.  They had to make a 2 minute video using their own ipod touch or camera.  I did not run into any problems with the kids bringing in their own equipment.  We don't have any technology available either, maybe next year we will.  The kids taught a lesson using a concept from semester one.  They worked in groups of three, and the videos are awesome.  Some emailed them to me, others uploaded them to my computer.

Hi, have you checked out http://labyrinth.thinkport.org/www/  or any of our resources on Thinkport.org? They are free, highly interactive, with educator support materials and aligned to standards. Maryland Public Television's education department creates classroom resources with experts, and blends it with high quality media to ensure the experience is right for classrooms. You can also check out Math by Design at http://mathbydesign.thinkport.org/


Leslie at MPT/Thinkport.



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