Could we soon have paperless Maths lessons in all classrooms? Very interesting read!

Guestblogger: @ICT_with_MrD

With the KS2 SATs looming next week, I thought that I would share some of the methods I have used that I feel have been invaluable during the run up to the tests. I have been a Year 6 teacher for 4 years now, and became increasingly fed up with spending countless hours by the photocopier making revision booklets and past question sheets. There must be a better use of my time and resources?

The answer was incredibly simple – give every child an e-mail address! We use an Apple Server to accomplish this, but it could be done easily using Google Apps for Education too. Similarly, I am very lucky that our school is well stocked in iPads – every child in Year 6 has access to one! However, with almost all children owning a smart phone or tablet that could be paired to an e-mail address nowadays, these methods could be replicated in most schools. Here are some of the ways e-mail addresses have helped:

1.  I can now send past SAT questions out to children via e-mail which they complete on their tablets, then send back to me. I am then able to mark through and annotate their work before sending it back to them. The whole process runs smoothly and is quick and easy for both students and teachers to complete.

2. I can send links to specific topics and create revision guides that children can download from their e-mails to access anywhere.
3. Great use of the camera – when paper is used for homework, children can always take photographs of what they have done and sent to me to check. This means that they can receive feedback sooner than having to wait until after their work has been handed in and marked.
4. Links to more interesting maths resources (and games)! After seeing the fantastic Flappy Bird maths game on a previous Magical Maths blog post I couldn’t wait to share this game with my class.
And with e-mail addresses, I didn’t have to wait! I sent an e-mail of info about the game and a link to my class yesterday morning (on a Saturday) and within a few hours I’d had 8 replies from children sharing their scores…
Finally, thinking back towards the first point – there are so many resources out there that can be sent out to children quickly and easily. A quick look on the TES website for “KS2 maths revision” returned over 1000 results.  Meanwhile also has a wealth of past questions that all open as PDFs. You can also create your own sets of questions using Testbase (or make your own resources on Word, Pages or any other word processor/DTP) and simply export them as PDFs before sending to the children.
There are lots of apps to open PDFs, PowerPoints, Word documents etc. but my favourite is one that is used for many other purposes – Explain Everything. It will open most types of files, allows freehand writing and typing and, possibly most importantly, will let children record their scribbles and explanations. Think of a whiteboard that can store everything and be sent to the teacher at the end of the lesson!
Good luck to every child completing their SATs tests next week,
Nick Dempster, Year 6 teacher at Linaker Primary School.
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