Canfield Middle School: A Promising Practice in Motivating Math Students with Technology
Deann Shillington, a special education teacher at Canfield Middle School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho identified a need for intensive, direct instruction in basic skills to help improve her students' math performance. Ms. Shillington wanted to capitalize on the benefits that computer programs have to offer. In collaboration with DO-IT's AccessSTEM project, she acquired computers and a LCD projector.
She used the equipment to run mathematics skill-building software purchased through the school district. Once the equipment was in place, she utilized the engaging hands-on learning activities that the new technology offered. Math concepts were presented using real-life scenarios and encouraged student interaction.
Students worked both individually with the program and as a group. In the group work, the LCD projector provided larger graphics and models, which increased participation and enjoyment of math activities. One unexpected outcome was how the students took charge of teaching by setting up presentations to share new websites with each other.
The math performance of Ms. Shillington's students increased 23% after her shift in her teaching method. After implementing this evidence-based practice, she reported, "Students were more willing to take risks when they were competing with the computer drills and classmates than when answering questions in class. They were actually requesting to work on some of their weaker math skills."
For more information about using technology to improve math performance, visit the Knowledge Base articles, Are there commercial products designed to make math accessible to students with disabilities? and Where can I find tips on making math accessible to students with disabilities?