Today, I returned from Common Ground Maryland in Ocean City, MD. I totally loved my time there as a featured speaker and my connections during all of my sessions.

 For those of you who don't know this, I began by career teaching in Maryland and taught in Montgomery County Public Schools for 17 years before working in VA. It was kind of like a homecoming, presenting at a conference there. Back when I worked in Maryland, if you had told me that I would be speaking at a conference like this, I would have thought you were crazy. Back then, I lacked the confidence to do so. But all that changed once I became a connected educator. I am so proud of the work that I have done and continue to do to impact education for our students through the use of educational technology.

Speaking of being proud, today is the 18 month anniversary of my book being published! Since I was sick with COVID on the year anniversary of my book, TRANSFORM-Techy Notes to Make Learning Sticky, I did not really get to celebrate that milestone. So I figured why not celebrate today? 

To celebrate this milestone and thank all of you amazing educators out there for doing all that you do, I am selling autographed copies of my book (for US only) for $18.99 for the next week. In addition, check out social media today for a TRANSFORM book giveaway too! I hope all of you join me in my mini celebration of a huge accomplishment!

Reviewing what are the ABCs of Transforming Learning are-

Two weeks ago, I shared a blog post called  E = Empower Math Discourse.  This post shared some of the amazing features of one one mighty and powerful application, Desmos, and how using it with students can benefit learners at any age with mathematical discourse.

This week, we will focus on F= Facilitate Math Thinking. Many times, students will believe that there is only way to solve a math problem and will close themselves off from other possible ways of solving it. This mindset closes them off from seeing alternate points of view and building their mathematical thinking skills. The two programs I am focusing on this week provide an easy way for educators to facilitate their students to share different ways to solve math problems and make connections to each other's thinking.

F = Facilitate Math Thinking

Before I introduce these two programs, I want to once again take a step back and share my #TechUpTheMath framework. Using this framework, I identify math tools that have at least one of three characteristics or VMI. They take the learning targets and infuse technology in such a way that it does one or more of the following:

Both of the programs I will share today build on the multimodal and interaction pieces. Pear Deck and Flip allow our students to interact with their classmates and their teacher's math thinking, while also promoting multimodal learning.

Why Use Pear Deck?

If you have ever used Pear Deck before, you know that one of the highlights of using this is that every student's voice counts. Rather than calling on one or two students, you can see how everyone in your class does using the teacher dashboard in this tool. This is essential during math classes. In my prior school, Pear Deck was a game changer during virtual learning , yet once we returned to the building, usage dropped. This is unfortunate and did not need to be the case. Pear Deck is just as important for us to use in person as it is during virtual learning. It allows all of our students' voices to be heard and promotes equity in our classrooms.

How Can Pear Deck Facilitate Math Thinking?

Pear Deck allows you to make each of your slides into an interactive experience- this is especially key when using the drawing slides. Students can use these slides to share how they solved the problem and use both text and drawing tools to do so. Using the teacher dashboard, the teacher can not only see where students are at, but also send students feedback as they work. Students can work on these slides synchronously or asynchronously (great during small group time). Plus, teachers can highlight students' work anonymously and then share different strategies seen with students to better facilitate their math thinking.

An Example in Practice

One of my favorite examples of this happened while my sixth grade students were learning about unit rates in math. As students worked on these word problems, two students shared two different ways of solving the same problem. Check out their solutions to the right. What a great conversation we were able to have as we compared these two methods side by side as we discussed the solution.

Why Use Microsoft Flip?

Microsoft Flip is an amazing way to #techupthemath. It allows our students to respond to a math task or problem and share their thinking using so many different tools. Students can use the drawing tools, the text tools, the whiteboard, and so much more. My younger learners have even learned to use their own physical whiteboards and mirror the screen to share their math thinking. Flip allows our students to respond not just for the teacher, but so that the whole learning community can see their thinking. Think about how powerful that is!

How Can Flip Facilitate Math Thinking?

Think of Flip as a virtual discussion video discussion board. Add a math task or a rich problem and allow students to respond using all of the amazing tools on Flip. Here are just a few examples.

The possibilities are endless...

Consider how you can take your lessons and #techupthemath with either Pear Deck and/or Flip.  Here are three of my favorite FREE ways to do that with both tools.

I can't wait to see how you use these tools to F= Facilitate Math Thinking!