As part of the Richmond school’s district Inclusive Learning Communities project, one of their core questions being investigated was: How can we meet the diverse needs of our students in our grade 8 math classes? For the past two years, the school team at Hugh Boyd Secondary, along with consultants from the District’s Learning Services department, Shelley Moore and Janice Novakowski, have been exploring and implementing the guiding principles and practices of inclusive education at the secondary level. This year, the school team was loaned several iPads from SET-BC to incorporate and complement into the classroom to meet the diverse learning needs of the students in these math 8 classes.
The teachers focused on using screencasting apps like Doceri and Shadow Puppet on the iPads to document and show their understanding of the math lesson being taught. Screencasting is a digital recording of the iPad’s screen allowing users at the same time to narrate as they draw. This is often seen as a great learning resource tool as it allows teachers to explain a concept or idea in a digital format that students can access on demand. It also allows for students to capture their understanding on a particular concept or idea. They can draw and record their explanation without always having to worry about writing their steps down using the traditional method of pen and paper. Screencasting also allows for multiple means of engagement and representation that will reach the many learners that are found in today’s diverse classroom as they can verbally explain their understanding and logic.
One lesson recently observed was focused on solving algebraic equations. After initially being taught the math concept, students had to answer a set of algebraic questions like -20= -4x and the students would need to solve for x. Using the Doceri app, students would write their equation on the iPad screen, much like a whiteboard, and collaboratively attempt to solve it. They recorded their steps and explained each step before reaching their final answer. Once recorded, the students would send the completed video for the teacher to review. The teacher would then observe the video and see if there were any gaps in their understanding of the concept. The teacher can then intensely focus on fixing those gaps so the students have a better understanding as the lesson progresses.
Louis Mitsis, one of the Math 8 teachers involved in the project, noticed the high level of student engagement when they were able to use the iPads to demonstrate their understanding as he felt it played into their strengths. Students were able to communicate their understanding of the concept and the iPads provided more opportunity to reach out to all learners in the classroom. He noticed more students taking on a leadership role when working in their groups. Congratulations to the team at Hugh Boyd for creating an enriching learning environment that fosters the idea of inclusiveness and collaboration.
For those interested in more information, Janice’s Inclusive Learning Community Blog can be found here: view Learning Community Blog