Make Math Accessible and FUN with EquatIO!

7 04 2017

One of the best parts of my work is to try new tools to see if they will help our students and staff. Well, I have just finished playing around with a great new tool called EquatIO.

From TextHelper John McGowan  (@jmacattak), EquatIO is super cool. Unlike its Google Docs add-on cousin g(Math), EquatIO works with Google Docs and Google Forms to give a more accessible math experience. Having a touchscreen Chromebook makes for even more fun!

EquatIO is more than just an equation editor. The main features of EquatIO are handwriting recognition, prediction, and dictation. It allows the user a different mode of access in creating mathematical expressions, solving mathematical equations, and creating accessible math opportunities for students with unique learning challenges. Equations seem less daunting. To have the ability to handwrite and convert an equation or mathematical expression to text is pretty cool, but to be able to dictate or have EquatIO predict the expression helps to reduce or eliminate barriers to math that often exist due to disability, impairment, or mismatch of curriculum to learning style.

Don’t just take my word for it- see how EquatIO can work in Google Docs:

Or Google Forms:

Check out how handwriting recognition works:

EquatIO is currently available on the Chrome Web Store. Try it to see how EquatIO can be used in creating accessible tests and quizzes, assignments, and how it can be used with students who present with unique learning challenges!




Make Worksheets Accessible and FUN!

1 11 2016

Do you have a student that struggles with worksheets? Do they struggle with writing? Vision?  Do you have access to an iPad? You can easily transform your worksheets into an accessible format that will transform the learning experience for your students. Here’s what you need:

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iScanner App       Screen Shot 2016-11-01 at 11.48.01 AM.png

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Here’s what you do:

  1. Take a picture using iScanner of the worksheet(s) you need. Make sure that your image is not blurry by tapping on the iPad screen prior to taking a picture.
  2. Edit the picture and rename the picture in iScanner.
  3. Using the export option, send the worksheet to Notability.
  4. Notability will automatically open the worksheet. You will have options to rename and organize the file.

Now you have an alternate way for students to access worksheets using touch technology. A student has reported that they now “enjoy math” since having their workbook on their iPad.

Creating opportunities for students to learn in a modality that makes sense for them doesn’t have to be too tricky or cumbersome. Transform and create accessible content easily using an iPad with Notability and iScanner apps. Adding a stylus gives an opportunity for students to interact with content that is similar to paper and pencil, but is more engaging and fun, yet still allows for that critical activation of the brain/motor that is essential for learning



App of the Week- Motion Math Play Pack

27 03 2014


***It’s been quite some time since I’ve written about an App of the Week, but I found an app that is really cool and felt it was time to dust this part of the blog off. ***

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 2.45.54 PMMotion Math Play Pack is a powerhouse mathematics app for children of all ages. Motion Math Play Pack consists of six apps rolled into one. The six apps are Match, Wings, Fractions! Questimate! Hungry Fish, and Zoom. For the $19.99 price tag, it is an investment that will pay off in the fun kids will have when using this app!

Upon opening the app, the user is greeted with a simple interface that highlights each app. From there, users can select a game,  add a user. change settings, or check a user’s score.

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One of the great beauties of motion math is the ability to track progress and add multiple users. For teachers with only one iPad, this makes it easier to use with multiple students. Teachers could also create a “class” user and use Motion Math for guided practice or a whole class lesson.

Each app within Motion Math:Play Pack covers a specific foundational skill or mathematical concept.

• Motion Math: Fractions! Covers fractions, decimals, percents, and pie charts.
• Motion Math: Zoom.  Is a number line like no other- completely interactive and fun. Covers integers, negatives, and decimals. Place value is addressed eloquently in this app, and the pace is pretty quick- but fun!
• Motion Math: Hungry Fish. Feed the fish in this interactive addition and subtraction game that becomes increasingly complex with each play! Helps to build mental math concepts in addition and subtraction and becomes complex to where a user can add and subtract positive and negative integers.
• Motion Math: Wings. Covers multiplication concepts in different visual forms. Users must “fly” their bird to the correct answer, construct the multiplicaton tables, multiply quantities, and more. The longer one plays, the more challenging it is!
• Questimate! Is a truly unique way to cover the concept of estimation. Users create a question, estimate the answer, find out who is closer, uncover the answer via web source or interactive example. The game continues in different modalities- for example, a question may be represented in a visual example where a user will have to pinch the image to estimate the answer.
• Motion Math: Match. Match the equations and make them disappear in this hugely engaging game of building foundational skills and automaticity in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

Testing this app was a blast. There is great potential in this app to use with a variety of students for a multitude of purposes. I can’t wait to try it out with kids!

Common Core Aligned, Motion Math Play Pack offers a lot of bang for the price. Volume Purchasing Program is available for Educational Institutions. Overall, it’s quite a stellar app.


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Five Fabulous Free Apps Every Teacher Should Have

18 11 2012

The following list is definitely not a be all, end all for apps, but these 5 apps are powerful sharing, creation, and assessment tools for teachers. Plus, they’re free!

1. Dropbox:

Dropbox is one of the best cloud-based file storage and sharing systems out there. WIth the ability to install Dropbox on any computer or mobile device, Dropbox uses the cloud to store files and pictures. Set up a free account and have 2GB of free storage- which is quite a bit for files. Also, Dropbox is great to share files to others via e-mail that may be too large to send as attachments. It’s versatile, multi-platform, easy to set up and use.

Teachers could use dropbox by having students send their work to the teacher’s dropbox. Or they could set up their own Dropbox account and share the assignment (file) to their teacher via e-mail. Teachers could then download the work, mark it, and share back to the student.

I use Dropbox all the time for files that I want to use between devices or need access to on multiple devices. It has been a lifesaver in keeping me organized for school and work.

2. Evernote

Evernote is another cloud-based app that can be installed on any computer or mobile device. It offers the same syncing features as Dropbox, but for notes that are taken within the app. However, Evernote is more than just a note taking app. Users can add photos and record audio to create a multi-media note that can be shared and/or viewed on any computer or device that it’s synced to.

There are a multitude of practical applications for Evernote in the classroom. Create a notebook for each student and upload students work to their notebook for a digital portfolio. Use the audio recording feature to record reading fluency. Take a picture of the student reading the book, and have the student answer questions by typing or recording their answers  right in the app.  Lastly, teachers can also use Evernote to observe the learning environment by taking pictures of students in group work, record observations by typing into the app, and record audio of students engaged in dialogue. There is not limit to the uses of Evernote in the classroom.

I use Evernote for evaluations, as well as for taking notes in meetings and observations. It’s great to be able to go to another device and have the note right there where I can access it when I need to.

3. Haiku Deck for iPad

Haiku Deck for iPad is an app to create visual presentations. Select a theme, insert photos and text- viola! A presentation that can be shared via e-mail, Facebook, or Twitter. The interface is simple to use, and there is enough variety within the app to make a spectacular presentation.

Teachers could use Haiku Deck with their students for projects, for book reports, to show mathematical processes and thinking, science experiments, all about me activities, and more. It’s up to the user’s imagination, really on how to incorporate Haiku Deck into the learning environment.

I used Haiku Deck to make a presentation of my learnings from a recent conference, then shared it with others. It was a visually powerful way to demonstrate understanding- which could be done with students as well.

4. Videolicious

Videolicious is a super easy way to narrate photographs. In the free version, there is a 10 photograph limit, but  I don’t see that as a negative. Record as you swipe the picture, and it all syncs together so seamlessly! There’s no timing to worry about, no cues other than your swiping the picture into the narration frame.

Once the narration is complete, it’s a slick video slide show with crisp narration and music. Teachers could use Videolicious for lessons, but for student use in an infinite number of ways. Students could narrate about themselves, or about their cumulative artwork for a “Virtual Art Gallery” walk that can be shared with parents.

5. Tiny Tap, Moments Into Games – Create Free Educational Books and Games for Kids

Tiny Tap allows teachers to make interactive games for students. First, select the pictures you want to use. Then,  record your questions by tapping on each picture and then tapping the record button. Then select the portion of the picture that’s your answer. It’s that simple! Not sure what to make? Check out their store for free and paid games that are available for download.

The potential for this app is intriguing, particularly for Early Childhood, Dual Language Learners, and for students Autism. For any student that is working on vocabulary identification, this is a great app to use! What a fun and engaging way to teach concepts from the natural environment (i.e. familiar objects). While I haven’t tried this one yet, I’m eager to share this app with others.

ACTEM Reflections

19 10 2012

October 11-12, 2012 marked the 25th annual ACTEM conference in Augusta, Maine. ACTEM is the Association of Computer Technology Educators in Maine. The sessions were varied, but the theme was the same- leveraging technology in schools to improve student learning outcomes.

Overall, I found the conference to be a great experience. I particularly enjoyed Christopher Tully‘s talk on Thursday, where he spoke of the importance of creating classroom cultures that show students that learning is fun. This is something that I fundamentally believe in. Learning can, is, and should be fun. Technology can help in a lot of ways. Students can show mastery of concepts via multimedia presentations, for example, which can connect to real-world experiences.

I found the below video from Wired Educator, and it speaks rather nicely to the themes Chris was speaking of at the session.

Another highlight was a session put on by the folks at Teq. They went over 10 cool things to do with a SMARTBoard, as well as some features of Edmodo. One of the things I enjoyed was using the SMARTBoard with some free programs. Rather than write about it, this video will help:

The other highlight was Friday’s Keynote speaker. David Warlick, who I follow on Twitter, was our featured speaker. He is equally witty and curious about how technology can influence and positively impact our students. He spoke of many things that were reminiscent of Tully’s earlier workshop session, but he also spoke of the relevance of gaming in education. However, what was happening behind the scenes was what I found to be really interesting. As he was speaking, people (including myself) were actively tweeting themes, ideas, and parts of David’s speech that resonated with them. Not only that, but they were connecting what he was saying with their own practice. So, if David wanted to see if participants were understanding his message, a cool way to do that would be to look at the posts from Twitter about his presentation.

Here’s what he thinks of us techies and teachers in Maine-which is wicked cool.

Here is one way you can use Twitter to leverage learning for your students:

The other reason I was at ACTEM was to co-present with two fellow educators who focus on Early Childhood and technology. Together with two other educators in Maine, the five of us co-authored an article that was featured in the newest issue of Teaching Young Children.  Our presentation was an extension of the article, and stressed the importance of the intentional use of technology. Right before we presented, we received the print version of the article:

The session was well-attended, and I hope that participants got a lot out of it.

However, during the whole time at ACTEM, I just kept thinking that it would be great if more teachers came to events like this.

Symphony Math New Features: RTI In One Solution?

2 02 2012

Symphony Mathematics has recently released an update that has the potential to transform how schools implement RTI, or Response to Intervention. What was once a tool for struggling students in mathematics, Symphony Math  now comes in a neat package that contains a screening tool, a benchmarking tool, and a comprehensive intervention scope and sequence that is a great fit for students in grades K-8.

Recently, Symphony Math showcased how they align to the Common Core Standards in a conference in Waltham, MA. The goal of Symphony Math has always been to have students understand math at a conceptual level. Often times, skills such as numeric fluency and a foundational understanding of math are not as strongly reinforced as they need to be for students with unique learning challenges. Symphony Math seeks to fill in this much needed gap.

In the recent publication “Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Response to Intervention (RtI) for Elementary and Middle Schools,”  the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, provided a summary of eight recommendations to address RTI implementation challenges. Symphony Mathematics addresses these recommendations within their intervention toolkit.

Often times, the time to screen, benchmark and intervene can get lost in the myriad of activities and other academic areas of a student’s day. By having everything within one bundle, Symphony Math aims to streamline the process of screen, benchmark, intervene, and monitor progress without compromising the quality of the program.

With a comprehensive intervention system, students can access concepts that they normally may not be able to revisit in a traditional curriculum. WIth reinforcement of key mathematical concepts, students are able to build a solid foundation of skills that are necessary to be mathematically proficient.  Plus, the multi-sensory feel the program has works well with today’s technologically savvy students. This update is not only welcome, but has been long overdue.