How to choose the best Numeracy ICT Activities
Computers and other forms of ICT also have the capacity to support young children to develop mathematical thinking. The use of technology in early childhood education can transform numeracy learning very well.
Two guiding principles which you should adhere to from the DATEC project criteria include:
- ICT tool should be educational and;
- ICT tool should support play.
In this article, you will learn the best practices to choose the most developmentally appropriate ICT maths activities for children.
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Choosing Numeracy Activities with Technology
Desktops and Laptops – You don’t have to buy software to put your computer to work as a tool for maths learning. Use programs that already come with the computer such as Excel spreadsheets, calculator or timer to practice and explore maths concepts. You can also show children pictures of things such as spiders, centipedes or ants and count the legs.
Software, Apps and Activities – It is best if you look for added features that engage children and provide variety and also have the ability to increase the level of challenge as children progress. You need to interact with children as they learn to count the things in their environment, and then support that learning with appropriate computer programs. Don’t forget that there are several websites which contain maths activities for children to play and practice maths skills.
Tablets and Smartphones – It is best to ignore counting and sorting activities and to look for math activities with different levels of difficulty. Games that relate to how maths is used in real life is also ideal. It is better to do an activity where they drag a triangle shape onto a photo of a slice of pizza to help them to connect it to the real world and to understand better. You could even find complex shapes and anticipate how they might fit together to make a pizza, a glass of milk, or an apple would be even more practical. Another idea would be counting the virtual slices of pepperoni.
Pictures and Videos – One good idea for an activity is to create a class-made book that has counting examples taken from photos of the local community. The photos could be of buildings which the children recognise and that shows buildings with windows in it. You could print out copies to give to the children to take on their neighbourhood walks. They could use the photos to help them identify and talk about the buildings. Consider photos in a sequencing activity and create and record patterns, comparisons, and quantities. Finally, as Simon and Nemeth (2016) state, photographic representations on your various charting and graphing projects can go a long way towards helping children focus on the key items being counted or charted.
Excitement exists in mathematics lessons through the imaginative use of ICT. However, your role as a teacher is of critical importance in supporting a constructivist approach to learning. You must provide scaffold to support their knowledge building and this can be achieved through the provision of appropriate activities and carefully considered questioning and explanation.