Hey Math lovers, today I’m going to tell you about the ONE TOOL that has completely transformed my math teaching. Both face-to-face and virtually. Come on in!
I’m Manhar Dalal and this is Math Teacher Institute. I’ve been a math teacher for over a decade, both in America and abroad, and at Math Teacher Institute we are going to talk about all the ways that we can make our math teaching more effective.
The tool I want to talk with you about today is right here – the Microsoft Surface Pro.
Now full disclosure, I’m not sponsored by Microsoft, but Bill Gates, give me a call!
In all seriousness, I can’t help myself. Every time I meet a math teacher I tell them about this and tell them that they have to get a Surface Pro for themselves.
Not only will it make your math teaching more effective, it will also make your job so much easier.
We have adopted these at multiple schools that I’ve worked with and even the most skeptical and tech-averse teachers have come around quickly and realized that this was a total game-changer for them.
So today, I’m going to tell you about the 5 ways that the Surface Pro has completely transformed my math teaching: both face-to-face and online.
The first way my teaching has been transformed by the Surface Pro is right here – the Surface pen.
So, the Surface pen is an incredible tool – you’ve probably seen something similar with an Apple Pencil or something like that.
It has a rubberized tip so when you write on the screen it kind of feels like you are writing on paper. It has an awesome rubberized eraser on the back so if you make a mistake or you want to change something, you just turn it around and erase like a regular pencil.
I use it with Microsoft OneNote and that brings me to the part that is special about the Surface Pro vs. something like an Ipad. Yeah, the Apple Pencil is great and ipads are great, but chances are that you use at least one piece of technology in your classroom (one piece of software) that doesn’t run on an Ipad.
So the Surface Pro is a full-featured windows computer. It runs the same version of Windows as the desktop computer in your classroom. You know, the thing that has probably been sitting there for the past 12 years? 😉
It runs all of those programs. So, test generators, worksheets, whatever you have it runs here. So this is what makes the Surface Pro a better choice than something like an ipad and an Apple Pencil.
The next way that the Surface Pro has transformed my teaching is by allowing me to save my notes.
As you know, as a math teacher, you write so much down on the board and then immediately erase it. And write, and erase… So it’s hard to preserve any of that information really long term.
Well, with this Surface Pro I have a different notebook for each of my classes. And each day in each class gets its own little tab so I can then export these notes as a pdf, and upload them to whatever online system you use. This also allows the transition from face-to-face to virtual instruction to go perfectly smoothly.
Your students are used to looking at the projector screen, where all of the notes are being projected and that doesn’t change if there are some circumstances that cause us to transition from face-to-face to virtual learning (or vice versa).
The third way that the Microsoft Pro has transformed my classroom is by allowing me to be more interactive.
Both by incorporating more interactive elements, like Desmos or Geogebra more organically into my lessons, and also by allowing students to be more interactive. I have students come up and use my computer and work out problems and talk, and then again, all of that information can be preserved and saved going forward.
The fourth way that this has transformed my classroom is by allowing me to use something that happened last class or yesterday, in today’s class.
There is nothing more frustrating than having this great discussion about this great problem that just kind of organically appeared, and then wiping it all away.
But, with my Surface Pro, what I can do is I can take that problem that we did last period or yesterday and I can just copy it all into today’s notes with a different class, or the same class, and it can lead to a new discussion.
We can look over what we did and talk about it again, or let it be a part of a whole new discussion for today. But what was done before can be brought back immediately and easily whenever we want: one day later, a week later, a month later, a year later.
Now one of my biggest pet peeves as a teacher is when a student is absent and then they come back and they say “I was absent…what did I miss?”
Ughhh it’s so much – you are trying to get ready for class, you have all of these things planned and suddenly this one student is wanting you to catch them up on one day, or multiple days worth of things in a few minutes.
Well, problem solved now because now that I have all of our notes saved from the days that they missed, and they are all posted online somewhere, all I have to do is tell them to check out the notes and once they have read them to come see me after class with any questions and we can go over anything together.
But everything is preserved, everything is available exactly as it was in our class so they have every opportunity to see and experience that, and if you really want you could even make a video-screencast or an audio-screencast of you teaching your lessons and upload that online. So, they have not only the notes, but the audio and/or video that went with it – if you really want to be an overachiever.
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