My TeachMeet slot - Animation in Maths

Here's what I would have said if I'd had more time:

I have grabbed one hour per week in an IT suite with my class of level B/C S2 mathematics pupils. We have spent some time using Tutpup, which has been good fun, and has caught the students' imaginations. But it does not fill an hour per week - 20 minutes is about enough at one time.

The biggest success has been the work we have done on creating mathematical stories. We happen to have been using GoAnimate, but I think this would work just as well with Comic Life, Digital Video or any medium which has some depth of skill acquisition but delivers rapid initial gratification.

Here's an (unfinished) example of one of the animations:

I am pleased with this project for several reasons:

The pupils are enjoying learning how to make animations. Enjoyment is sometimes a bit thin on the ground in maths for some of these students, despite my efforts to jolly things up, so I'm delighted to see them turning up early to the computer lessons, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

The pupils are experiencing success. Some students who find maths very challenging seem to see maths as being either babyish (their definition of the maths they can do) or impossible.  This project has enabled them to experience success at learning how to create animations, a task they consider to be cool enough to be worth mastering.

Pupils are learning from each other as they explore the functionality of goanimate. It has been delightful to see the pupils helping each other out as they learn.  I'm hearing things like "Paul [fake name] - how do you add that explosion?" or  "that's cool, but the frame is a bit quick - here's how you can slow it down a bit."  These positive interactions have  definitely improved the atmosphere back in the maths classroom.

Pupils are actively considering real life applications of numeracy. I presented the students with a simple challenge once they had developed some basic skills with goanimate:  create an animation that shows how you use maths in real life.  I made it clear that animations without mathematical content would not do.  This led to some interesting discussions, and some great animations.

I have no idea yet how the rest of the year will pan out - please let me know if you have any bright ideas!  I should finish by saying that I have found most the web applications I have used this year through the blogs and twitter messages of my "personal learning network".  They are a superb resource!

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