Using Math Game Apps with Students

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  • 0:03 There's An App for That
  • 0:35 Quality Math Apps
  • 2:16 Finding the Right App
  • 3:56 When to Break Out the Apps
  • 4:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Using games as an educational tool isn't a new concept, but using apps to engage learners is.In this lesson, you'll get up-to-date information about apps that can be used to supplement the math classroom.

There's An App for That

The word app is an abbreviated form of the word application, a term used to describe software you can download to a mobile device, like a tablet or smart phone. Apps make our lives easier and more fun. There are apps that report things, like weather or news, and ones that entertain, like games or puzzles. You can download an app for just about anything, including teaching and reinforcing skills in math.

Let's take a look at some things quality math apps have in common.

Quality Math Apps

Tablets, or mobile devices that have touch screens for easy interaction, are used by students to reinforce and interact with learned skills and concepts. There are thousands of apps available in math alone. How can you weave through these apps to find what you're looking for?

You want to look for apps that support mathematical learning. Some apps give students a chance to practice skill-drill operations, and while those are necessary, students will outgrow them quickly. For sustained learning, look for apps that go deeper and support learning on a broader scale.

Quality math apps will also require higher-level thinking. For an app to be worthwhile, it should push students to really think about mathematical concepts. Look for apps that require high-level thinking and ask questions about applying, synthesizing, and evaluating.

If you want students to actually use them, apps should be fun. This may be a 'duh' category, but not all math apps are going to be fun to all students. You know your students best. Play a practice game to see if the app will appeal to your crowd. See if it's fun after the first game. Check to make sure it has more than one activity and is interactive.

Apps should have different levels. Not all your students are the same; each has their own skill sets and needs. Make sure the app can adjust to different skill sets and has different levels to meet the needs of all students.

Now that you know the qualities of a good math app, let's look at the types that work best in a math classroom.

Finding the Right App

Math is a skill dependent on a few things. In addition to basic number sense, children need problem solving skills, analytical skills, and the ability to reason. The use of apps focusing on puzzles and games support these skills by presenting problems and asking students to find solutions, search for patterns and structure, use reason and logic in strategic situations, and persevere to find an answer.

Depending on your students' needs, there are several types of apps you can choose from:

Skill Apps

Skill apps that help students practice skill and solve problems are effective at building math fluency. Use these apps with students who need more practice with basic skills and number sense. Though these apps support skill practice, they work in a way that goes beyond skill drilling and pushes the learner to use both low- and mid-level thinking skills.

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