Educators and parents understand that in order to excel at math children need a strong bases of number sense and basic math concepts. In the past most students were chained to traditional drill and practice worksheets or flashcards. While both can be valuable tools for helping children strengthen their math skills, I think that their overuse can help contribute to a dislike for math. Having an iPod or iPad in the classroom can add another option for helping students practice much need math skills. When looking for apps to write about in this blog there are a couple of things I look for. Besides being interesting and engaging, I'm looking for apps that provide for differentiated learning. In other words, can the app be adjusted to fit the individual needs of a variety of students?
In this post I'd like to share the MathTappers: Clockmaster. This app is great for helping children learn how to read an analog clock. Many people wonder why we even need to teach how to read this type of clock but if you look around you will see that there are still a lot of analog clocks around and I think there will be for quite some time. All of the clocks in most schools and businesses are analog clocks. I can't tell you how many times I've said something like, "We'll take a break at a quarter to two" just to have students stare at me blankly or to have the one brave child raise their hand and ask, "What times is that?". The screen shots seen below were taken on my iPhone but I'm assuming that they would look the same on the iPod Touch and iPad.
There are a variety of ways this math app can be adjusted to fit the needs of a particular student.
-There are three levels of difficulty, easy, medium, and hard. The easy level focuses mainly on reading at 15 minute intervals and hard provides practice at reading and setting the clock to the minute.
-There is a normal clock, the "Top Clock", that shows the hours and minutes on the clock face and a "Broken" clock that is missing the minute hand but shows the minutes around the outside of the clock face. This teaches students that the how the hour hand on a clock moves throughout an hour.
-The Bottom Clock can be set to show either numerals or words. The numerals The words teaching students an understanding of terms like "half past" and "a quarter after".
Another very nice feature of this app is that, since it was created by math educators, it has an area dedicated to giving ideas for use to teachers and parents. The descriptions in this area are, I think, quite extensive. For the parents there is a rather complete explanation of a child's development of time telling skills and ways as well as some very specific directions on how to have their child progress through the levels of the app. For teachers, there are suggestions of how to have students use the app independently as well as in pairs or small groups.
If you look at the bottom of the image on the left you will see the menu that you can set up the app for students individually. This is done under "Players". The one thing I didn't like about this app is that once you create the setting for one student, those are the setting for any student using the app. You would need to change the setting each time a new student used the app. Older students could easily create their own settings but primary students would probably need some assistance.
On the bottom right corner of the screen you see a menu icon title "Progress". This provides a report that tells you what the student's settings were, how long it took them to get through the activity, and what their score was. By clicking on the "Report" button you can also send this data via email. There is also an option to send it to a second email address so you could send one to the parent at the same time.
Over all, I really like this app. As I mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying to find apps that could be used by a number of students at various stages of learning. I think this app does. I especially like the reporting feature allowing the teacher and parent to keep up with how the student is progressing. The creators of this app have others: Estimate Fractions, Find Sums, Multiples, and Equivalents. I haven't looked at these apps yet, I guess that will have to come in a future post. This app and the others are all FREE and ad free. Two other great reasons to like them.
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