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    mathematics and statistics support

Interactive Technologies for Maths and Statistics Support 19 March 2014

Event held at the Eastern England sigma Hub, 19th March 2014

As maths support tutors, we do not just spend our time in one-to-one support situations. We are increasingly invited into courses to deliver occasional “guest lectures” on mathematical or statistical topics to large groups of students. This event gave a hands-on overview of a variety of interactive technologies that can help to engage students and hopefully make the lecture memorable and meaningful for them.

We started with audience response systems, also known as “clickers”, which enable the audience to vote on a range of options and the result of the vote to appear instantly. Delegates practised embedding interactive questions into PowerPoint presentations, and a discussion of the pedagogical considerations around the effective use of clickers in mathematics learning was led by our guest speaker Andy Ramsden, e-learning Manager at UCS.

We then considered the Poll Everywhere system, where text messages sent to a given number are projected  on a screen.  This can allow qualitative responses to be collected, which can be richer than simply responding to multiple choice questions. It also allows students to (anonymously) text in questions and comments either before, during or after a session, and these can be displayed collectively and discussed.

As an alternative to using text messages, response data can be submitted via GoogleForms using a range of online devices (laptops, tablets, smart phones). Delegates experimented with designing GoogleForms and collating the responses to a GoogleSheet, from where they can be exported to Excel or SPSS and analysed.

Finally, a “show and tell” session for mobile apps allowed delegates to demonstrate and share apps and websites that they have found useful for teaching and learning.

This event was attended by delegates from eight universities in the Eastern region, all of whom left with at least one new idea to try out with their next group of unsuspecting students!


David Bowers
Chair, sigma Network