Faculty of Education launches early years math site
A new site featuring web-based mathematics activities for young children is being launched by the Faculty of Education on Monday, May 11. The site is the result of collaboration between Queen’s and the Instituto de Informatica Educativa (IIE) at the Universidad de La Frontera in Temuco, Chile.
Rosa Bruno-Jofre, dean of the faculty, visited southern Chile in April 2007 and developed a partnership with members of the IIE. As a result of this partnership, Geoff Roulet, a mathematics educator in Education, visited the IIE in 2008, and was impressed with their early years mathematics software. He saw the potential for this software in Ontario, and together with Joan McDuff, another mathematics educator, led the project to adapt it to fit local needs.
The faculty entered into an agreement with IIE to produce an English-language version of the software package, and they have now finished translating and adapting the first two (of three) units, which are featured on the site.
The website allows young children and their teachers or parents to explore number concepts. Colourful graphics can be moved around, grouped and counted. While solving problems, children can employ tools such as a number line, hundreds chart, counting blocks, and a pencil for marking off items. Teachers and pupils can use the activities and instructional approaches provided on the site or they can create their own questions and solve the problems their own way.
Recent curriculum changes in Ontario emphasize mathematics learning through investigations, student-student interaction, and math-talk. The images from this software, when displayed on a large screen, provide opportunities for a class to talk about and explore mathematical situations.
Student interaction with the package can be increased with the use of the interactive whiteboards presently being installed in many Ontario schools. These permit pupils to manipulate the objects and tools within the software by just touching the screen.