7 Opportunities to Effectively Teach Maths Online

July 13, 2020

If you teach maths, you’ll be aware of the challenges that distance learning brings. But have you considered the opportunities? We’re here to support teachers with our range of eLearning products. Teaching maths online offers the chance to personalise learning for individual students and free up your time from data entry.
We asked teachers to share common problems they face when teaching maths to see what opportunities we can find.

Problem 1: Using manipulatives

Using concrete resources is the essential first step in teaching mathematics. Manipulatives such as Dienes blocks, Numicon and Cuisenaire rods have become commonplace. Students are unlikely to have this classroom equipment at home. They lose the tactile experience of maths.

Opportunities for visualising maths

Technology offers an incredible range of options for maths. There are countless websites and programs that use visual representations of your favourite manipulatives. High quality online maths activities let students use objects on the screen with the added fun of games and challenges.

Problem 2: Parental engagement

Many parents feel worried by maths. They say, “everything has changed since I was at school” and struggle to learn new methods. Online learning gives them an opportunity to disengage, leaving their child to access online lessons independently.

Opportunities for working with parents

Parents around the world are watching online video lessons with their children. Working virtually gives you the unique opportunity to educate students and their parents.
You can show how we use maths in real life. Set challenges around the home, using everyday situations. It’s a simple way to reduce the fear of maths and promote home learning.

Problem 3: Access to technology

The rise of distance learning has been an issue for students with limited access or ability to use technology. With families sharing a laptop or working from a mobile phone screen, it can be difficult for them to engage with your lessons.
Students struggle with platforms and websites they are unfamiliar with. Instead of maths, they spend their time learning how to navigate, where to click and how to use the site.

Opportunities to see the benefits of being online

It was easy in the past for some students to never use virtual resources. They relied on textbooks and paper-based exercises. Now they see the benefit of lessons they can complete in their own time. For students who struggle to work within time limits, need frequent movement breaks or require over-learning, virtual lessons are more accessible.

Problem 4: Assessment and monitoring

Did they understand the task or find the solution on Google? Are they working independently or did a parent do it for them? In the classroom you glance around to see who’s on task, struggling or sitting bored. Working virtually means losing the instant assessments you can make.

Opportunities for effective feedback

Online tools make marking easier than ever. No more wasted hours inputting data and analysing it. When work is completed online, marking can be instant. You can see where misconceptions have arisen, common areas of difficulty and students who need a challenge. This offers an enormous opportunity to devote more time to quality feedback and give support exactly when a student needs it.

Problem 5: Mathematical talk

Mathematics is full of vocabulary that students can struggle to learn. Classroom teaching lets you model and encourage students to elaborate, clarify and rephrase. With distance learning, they often write their work and lose the opportunity for mathematical talk.

Opportunities to talk maths

In the classroom, students flick through their book or look around to find vocabulary prompts. In your online class you embed word banks and sentence starters directly into your lesson.
Normally time is wasted when students forget key vocabulary. They have to wait for you to help. Working virtually, they can click a button leading straight to a video demonstration, drawing or diagram to get the support they need immediately.

Problem 6: Personalised learning

Learners work at different speeds. You might support a group who are struggling, whilst others access an independent problem. It can feel hard to spot struggling students when they’re not sat in front of you.

Opportunities to support individual needs

It’s easy to personalise online learning with a range of activities for every need. Lessons can be shorter and more focused with no distractions or behaviour interrupting learning. That leaves more time for individual feedback and challenge though 1:1 video calls, small group interventions and annotated feedback.

Problem 7: Collaboration in maths

Online learning feels more isolated. With less opportunity for paired and group work, students can receive less peer support and be more reliant on you to help them.

Opportunities to work together

Who said students had to do online learning alone? Set up collaborative groups and boards so your learners can share ideas. Create whole-class discussions using Skype, Zoom or Teams. Pair students up to work together or make flexible groups for them to work in.

How Wacom can help

Here at Wacom we’re committed to helping educators make the most of distance learning. Our range of pen tablets and screens mean it’s easy to find the right product for you.
Here’s how we can help you teach maths.

Writing and drawing in maths lessons

Every maths teacher knows how hard it is to type algebraic formulae. Wacom pens make it easy by letting you draw directly on the screen. In the classroom, clean your whiteboard and your notes are gone. With Wacom it’s easy to save annotations and use sniping tools to add the drawings to other documents.

Reduce cognitive overload

Busy screens filled with text and pictures don’t help learning. Use your Wacom pen to underline keywords and point to things. Add notes to diagrams and graphs and reduce the amount displayed to students by drawing in real time.

Planning maths lessons

Virtual teaching encourages us to plan collaboratively too. Add lesson plans to shared areas and use your Wacom pen to annotate them. It’s simple to record notes after delivering a lesson and add any diagrams you’ve drawn. Update lessons easily, with no need to retype.
Teaching maths online has many challenges, but the opportunities are vast. It’s never been easier to personalise learning in a way that is impossible in the classroom.

Related posts:

Wacom’s digital art lesson plans: Exploring light, shadows, and highlights, Part One

Wacom’s digital art lesson plans: Exploring light, shadows, and highlights, Part One

Level up your classroom with Wacom’s new Education Product Bundles 

Level up your classroom with Wacom’s new Education Product Bundles 

How to magically change the focus of photos in Photoshop with Colin Smith

How to magically change the focus of photos in Photoshop with Colin Smith

Artist and animator Joshua Leonard on his career, why diversity matters, and advice for young artists

Artist and animator Joshua Leonard on his career, why diversity matters, and advice for young artists

Connect with Wacom on social media

We asked character designer @omarsharif.creates to share part of his process. Check out his reference mix and how much fun he has experimenting with textures and colors. ⁣
Head to the #WacomBlog to read our interview with Omar! ⁣
Link in bio!⁣⁣
#wacom #characterdesign #digitalart #artprocess #madewithwacom #wacomcintiqpro #cintiqpro ⁣
180 4
See you in Berlin!💫 Come celebrate with us at @weareplaygrounds this weekend!

💡 Explore artist discussions, demonstrations, film showings interactive live sketching!

✍️ Visit our Wacom booth to experience and enjoy drawing on our latest pen-displays and tablets and some other surprises 👀

📅 Berlin, DE on May 25th-26th

See you there!

#TADBerlin #CreativeCommunity
91 5
A magical midnight forest... 🌲🌙🦉🎨🖌️⁣
That's what @yingshiart was conjuring in this amazing piece #MadeWithWacom. Tayler loves using color to evoke emotion and fullness in her paintings, and liberally uses adjustment layers, filters, and gradient maps. She trusts the creative process and lets go, allowing the subconscious to put one hand on the wheel instead of micromanaging every detail. ⁣
Do you trust your creative process? ⁣
#WacomOne #digitalillustration #moodpainting #environmentdesign
997 15
Easy to pack & ready to go! 🏃🏻‍♂️

🆕 The new Wacom Movink easily fits in any bag and can be set up anywhere with a single cable. The best solution for creative professionals on the go!

Wanna get yours? Follow the link in our bio!

412 7
Dive into the insightful first look of the NEW Wacom Movink by @wieger_poutsma, Digital Artist and Creative Director, working for clients like Netflix, Warner Bros, HBO and many more. 💻 🙌🏻

👉🏻 Follow the link in bio to discover all the benefits of our NEW Wacom Movink and shop yours!

#WacomMovink #CreativeProfessionals #CreativesOnTheGo
295 12
You got this! ✍️ Never stop creating. 🤘⁣
Animation made by the wonderful @javadoodles⁣
#MentalHealthAwareness #madewithwacom #TVPaintAnimation⁣
760 24
🆕 Alex Wätzel @dgtlcraft_postproduction , High-end photo retoucher & video editor with years of experience on the creative industry, also tried the NEW Wacom Movink!

Now’s your turn! Follow the link in our bio and discover all the amazing benefits of our new Wacom Movink💥

Ph: @akazie.photography 

#WacomMovink #CreativeProfessionals #CreativesOnTheGo #MovinkMakers
169 4
Mental health awareness month is upon us and we want to give a shout-out to anyone out there struggling, yet creating. ⁣
We see you and you're absolutely wonderful. 😍⁣
Art by @chibirdart 🐤💓⁣
#MentalHealthAwareness #webcomic #comic #webtoon
833 10
Meet the NEW Wacom Movink 🆕💥 first of its kind OLED pen display perfect for creative professionals on the go!

A professional device that you can easily pack and carry with you anywhere, everywhere.

If you  switch workstations, visit clients,  travel frequently or work in different locations and studios, this device is all you need.

Follow the link in our bio and discover all of the benefits of our NEWEST product: Wacom Movink

Now, get ready to Make your move! 😎

#WacomMovink #CreativeProfessionals #CreativesOnTheGo
2400 109