Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Year 4 Maths & Technology

By Brian D Kwincy

The year 4 maths classroom, like many other classrooms is experiencing the technological revolution. It is impressive the degree to which computers and other digital devices can be manipulated, edited and adjusted to suit a specific teacher's requirements. For this reason, schools have been rather quick to jump on emerging technologies and put them in the classroom. The hope is that your child's math will improve as a result.

Computers are at the forefront of the technology revolution happening in our children's classroom. Believe it or not, there are now some situations where students can have lessons broadcast wirelessly onto a screen. Of course, this does not mean that the teacher is absent; however, where this technology leads is yet to be illuminated. In this sense, the year 4 mathematics classroom is much similar to other classrooms.

Videos are becoming more and more popular as the years go on. There may be a problem utilizing a video monitor instead of the teacher and a blackboard, but many classrooms today have the teacher working with the video and use a whiteboard for easier reading. Currently larger screens are being used with computer aided presentations for visual aids, not a replacement for the teachers. The larger screens enable a teacher to use a pointer to better describe the functions of the math lesson being taught. This is an acute visual aid for the students, and can make learning year 4 maths fun.

The new arithmetic that is being taught in year 4 maths is much more advanced for students today than ten or even twenty years ago. Fractions and decimals are stressed as well as pre-algebraic functions. Worksheets are becoming more popular, as a student that can physically do the work has better retention. Homework is also done in the classroom and at home, and worksheets can be an excellent way to learn. Along with the worksheets, computer programs at the school can keep a tally of the students' progress, eliminating most of the legwork that the teachers have to do with paperwork. This is essential to focus on the student, not the office work.

Classroom games are quite common in year 4 but need to be played with care so that no child is left behind. Obviously, these games aim to make learning more fun but if the student doesn't "get" the math they will quickly fall out of the race. Teachers do focus on avoiding this to prevent decreases in confidence. The games are also engineered such that their purpose is to have fun rather than finding a winner. The child who does officially win usually receives nothing more than some positive reinforcement; hopefully seeing a fellow classmate receive praise will only serve to motivate other students.

Today there are constant advances in technology and educational psychology - teachers have a myriad of new methods and options to review on a regular basis. As technology and science advance, we can only hope that teachers are able to keep up and adapt the best practices available into their classrooms. The correct use of some new technologies can dramatically improve teacher's efficiency in the year 4 classrooms.

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