The reasons for this are three-fold: Firstly, there simply wasn't enough space to pack all the books and math manipulatives I "needed", so virtual manipulatives, notebooks and apps are particularly appealing. Secondly, I want to develop the boys' techno-literacy, and finally, I want to challenge myself professionally in the area of technology, in order to stay current for when I return to a "real" classroom full time next year.
This week, I found myself in need of attribute blocks and a calculator, for a math lesson on patterning. I decided to go to Ventura Ed Systems to check out the options. I've used their apps before, and although they are not necessarily the most glamorous in terms of visual pizzaz, I trust their reliability. Fred holds a PhD, and knows about both Math and Education. He's in it for the learning, not just to make a quick buck.
Sure enough, Ventura offers both attribute blocks and a calculator! I eagerly downloaded.
Like Fred's other math apps, this one, too, comes with a Free, downloadable PDF chock full of educational theory as well as a comprehensive overview of how the app is set up and how it works. This feature is extremely helpful for teachers, and for parents who are home schooling their kids, and who may be new to a particular math manipulative.
The calculator app offers a good, basic calculator for children. Although it initially comes in pink, the skin can be changed to basic grey, wood grain, and a variety of other designs. I knew Alex and Simon would love this feature, and I was right! ;-P They immediately changed their personal calculators to a generic grey!
One neat feature I've not yet explored with the calculator app is the "quiz mode", which allows students to practise addition drills and more, I hope!