Sunday, 29 March 2009

Self Directed Online Maths PD

Teaching numeracy is one of my challenges as a beginning teacher, from running a smooth maths programme, teaching the skills and strategies and even using the equipment resources correctly. My goal is to develop my maths teaching and until now I have not had any professional development that made me feel like a confident maths teacher.

I often use NZ Maths website for guidance as it is linked to the New Zealand Numeracy Project, but I still felt like I needed some personal professional development. NZ Maths is a essential resource for all information relating to teaching maths. They have units of work in each stand, background information, exemplars of work and a huge amount of downloadable material masters such as hundreds boards, number fans etc.

My tutor teacher recently showed me the NZ Maths Online Numeracy Professional Development course. Last week I tried it out and was very impressed, and I believe my math lessons have improved dramatically in just one week. It is a simple to follow online tutorial which can be started from any 'stage' level. Most of my students are at Stage 5 and 6, so I took the Stage 5 tutorial which took an easy afternoon to view. I intend going back to view other stages, but an important point here is that you only need to pick the stage that is relevant to your students.

Each tutorial is presented in a slide format which with short but relevant inserts of text or video. It progressively shows you what your students should be learning, how and what it looks and sounds like. This is done through video clips of students explaining math problems and clearly articulating their strategies. This was one the the major breakthrough points for me, I could see and hear exactly what I should be getting from my own students!

The site also has Equipment Animations which are simple flash based animations that show and explain clearly how to use the many, many, many, maths equipement materials that fill my maths resource box. I used to be a bit embarrassed that I wasn't sure how to use half of them, but now I use them with confidence.

I can highly recommend this Online Numeracy Professional Development tutorial to all teachers, experienced or not. It serves as an exemplar for good practice and to measure your students against. Most importantly it is free, easy, simple to understand, and can be done at your own pace in your own home.