Over the last number of years, education publishers have become more diverse in their offerings to students and teachers alike. The initial digital version of the text book, whilst addressing the problem of weighty schoolbags, did not really add a new dimension to learning overall. However, now publishers are looking at ways they can extend their digital content making it more interactive and engaging.
Our school use Text and Tests for Maths across all year groups. As our students use hard copies of the textbooks, each student is automatically entitled to the digital version of the book at no extra cost. This means students can access the book on a device at home. Some parents have mentioned they have reservations that their child may get tempted to wander online if accessing eBooks on a computer or device at home. However, whilst students need to go online to download the books, the books can then be accessed offline meaning access to Wi-Fi can be restricted without making the books inaccessible.
CJ Fallon, providers of Text and Tests, have a digital resource hub available to teachers found at http://my.cjfallon.ie/.
Included are blank PowerPoint templates of each section of the maths book with every question on a separate slide. This makes teaching topics easier once you can project each question and add the solution on your whiteboard in class. Students can follow more readily when the question is diplayed on the board. This also allows me to model how to highlight key information in the question by highlighting and underlining key words.
Typically I insert the PowerPoint slides into my class OneNote notebook and then I can add solutions in class. However, this is not a must and you can simply project the questions using the PowerPoint file and write on your whiteboard as normal.
Lately, CJ Fallon have teamed up with The Maths Tutor to provide videos explaining concepts, examples and exam paper solutions. These are available in their resource library on the CJ Fallon site. You do need an account to access these video and other resources which CJ Fallon will provide you with once your school uses their books. The Maths Tutor videos are an exciting addition as students like to revise and review topics using video guidance. Whilst I have often directed my students to Khan Academy, it is not always the optimal solution when the narrator is using terminology linked to an American curricula. The Maths Tutor has Irish maths teachers using examples and discussing questions on the Irish Maths syllabus and exam papers. Videos are typically accessed through a subscription to themathstutor.ie. Having some of these videos now available for free in the CJ Fallon resource hub is very benefical to further support learning.
I also use Edco Digital’s digital platform to access and project the exam papers whilst in class. This is an invaluable resource as I cannot imagine being able to discuss a geometry question where I need to discuss an image or shape without having it presented on the board in class.
Overall I am excited to see what text book publishers will do to evolve their role in bringing quality learning resources to Irish schools. I would also love to know more about what types of resources other publishers are providing to complement their text books and what is coming down the line.