From the Principal's Office: Learning Math Should be Fun and Engaging

2/11/2013 12:00:00 AM
Kanchan Chellani, currently a math teacher at New Milford High School, is a strong believer in making the learning process fun, interactive, and meaningful for students. To engage students in her classroom, Mrs. Chellani has utilized a variety of tools to help her develop an interactive, student-centered learning environment.  Through the use of technology, collaborative learning exercises, and teaching mathematical concepts in the real-world and interdisciplinary context, she has managed to successfully work towards creating this desired positive and energetic blended learning environment.  Some of the many methods Mrs. Chellani has employed in her daily instruction include integrating Smart Board interactive review games and videos to reinforce prior learning, case studies performed in the computer lab so students understand the significance of the material taught, and team assignments to foster a collaborative working environment.


Since the “flipped” approach to instruction is proving to be a key asset in modern education, one of Mrs. Chellani’s recent initiatives has been to provide students with a means to learn independently utilizing digital content.  Starting in December 2011, she began using Edmodo, an online platform that enables innovative and social learning, as a way to share online videos and content on the relevant topic for her students to view and assign online polls to complete in order to foster discussion on the topic the next day.  Although enabling the “flipped” approach to instruction using Edmodo has transformed the way material is taught and comprehended by students, it has been difficult to find resources that combine curriculum delivery, real-world examples, and assessments in a cohesive manner.  As a result, she has started to create her own online learning modules, using the software Adobe Captivate.

Adobe Captivate is a highly, user-friendly digital content creation software that fosters interactive eLearning content.  Mrs. Chellani has made use of the tool by creating learning modules that teach the basic mathematical concepts, as well as, provide practice problems, real-world examples, and assessments that allow for better comprehension of the material in an organized fashion.  In these learning modules, instruction is provided using digital content, simulations, videos, screen captures, voice-overs, etc. to meet the visual, auditory, and tactile needs of the diverse student population. Once the instruction has been provided, guided practice problems and real-world examples are then discussed to reinforce the learning of the mathematical concept and to illustrate its’ significance.  A variety of prompts and formal assessments are also embedded within the project in order to ensure that the learning has taken place, to develop higher-order thinking skills, and to facilitate discussion in the classroom.

Here’s how it works! 

  • Students go onto www.learnmatheasily.com and select the assigned video for homework.
  • Students view the instructional portion of the video (both mathematical content and real-world applications) and complete guided practice problems, prompts, and formal assessments embedded within the video.
  • Students come into class the next day with a solid foundation on the mathematical topic.  The teacher utilizes the aforementioned prompts to facilitate class discussion and assigns polls via Edmodo to ensure that the learning has taken place.
  • SMART Board interactive review games, case studies, collaborative learning exercises, group projects, quizzes, and tests are assigned in class to reinforce the learning in a differentiated fashion and probe deeper into key mathematical topics. 
Using Adobe Captivate, Mrs. Chellani has been able to create an engaging and interactive learning experience for her students that not only helps them understand complex mathematical concepts, but also helps them understand the real-world significance of those concepts.

cross-posted on A Principal's Reflections


Eric Sheninger is a NASSP Digital Principal Award winner (2012), PDK Emerging Leader Award recipient (2012), winner of Learning Forward's Excellence in Professional Practice Award (20 12), Google Certified Teacher, Adobe Education LeaderASCD 2011 Conference Scholar, co-author of  Communicating and Connecting With Social Media: Essentials for Principals and What Principals Need to Know About Teaching and Learning Science, writer on education for the Huffington Post, co-creator of the Edscape Conference, sits on the FEA Board of Directors, and was named to the NSBA "20 to Watch" list in 2010 for technology leadership.  He now presents and speaks nationally to assist other school leaders embrace and effectively utilize technology. His blog, A Principal's Reflections, was selected as Best School Administrator Blog in 2011 by Edublogs.
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