Using e-Learning in Maths Programmes is About More Than Practising Basic Facts

There is an overwhelming number of Maths websites, gaming software, etc that reinforce number knowledge and basic facts mastery. While this is important and certainly has a place in the classroom Maths programme, e-Learning, in fact learning in general is about more than rote recall and memorisation. With a little bit of imagination and planning the Internet, web tools, digital devices, etc can be used to create meaningful mathematical learning experiences for your class.

Digital Camera

At the simplest level, a digital camera can be used to take photos of students work e.g. modelling of thinking on whiteboards or with equipment. Children can use cameras to take photos of environmental shapes. You could challenge the children to take a series of photos to model a story problem. Most digital cameras have a video recording function - use this to record the children sharing their strategies, acting out a problem, presenting a class news report to share the results of a statistical inquiry.

Digital Images

Images can be used as a discussion starter or prompt for Maths investigations. Images are a good prompt for encouraging children to write their own story problems. Flickr is a good source of images - remember to respect the licences assigned by the photographer, I only use images with creative commons licensing or I take my own. Children could be challenged to create their own images to illustrate a mathematical concept.

Power Point/Word

Power Point, Word and other similar programmes have an Auto Shapes feature. This is a really easy way of having children explore Geometry concepts such as: tessellation, symmetry, points of view/perspective, shape. The Auto Shapes tool makes it easy for children to rotate and enlarge shapes.



Available via TKI and the NZ Maths Websites. They have many different Learning Objects available to use with your class. One powerful feature is the ability to create Learning Paths. A Learning Path is made up of a series of Learning Objects collected under a theme of your choosing. There is also the ability to add links and external media related to the theme. Children can log in and work through the tasks in the Learning Path. For more ideas and information check out the Digistore wiki


There are many sources for infographics on the Internet. Infographics are a way of presenting statistical information using pictures and graphics to illustrate the data. You can use infographics to analyse data and present an alternative to traditional graphs. Once children are familiar with how they work you could have them create their own infographics.

Online Video Sources

There are a wide range of videos available covering a variety of mathematical concepts - from simple counting, shape recognition and basic facts, to story problems, though to complex mathematical strategies. You do need to choose carefully and make sure that the material relates to the NZ Curriculum requirements. Videos can be used as a warm up or starter or to reinforce a concept already covered. To take things to the next level, you could have your students plan and create their own.

Creating Videos

Xtranormal is a digital storytelling website I have used it to create problem solving tasks and videos to teach new concepts (it's great for all curriculum areas). Again this is something children could be challenged to create. If you have iPod Touch or iPad access there are storytelling apps you can download such as : Puppet Pals or Sock Puppets. These can be used in a similar way to Xtranormal.


Gloster is a form of digital poster. You can embed a Glog into a website, blog or wiki. Glogs allow you to include text, pictures, video and sound recordings. You could create a Glog to teach or introduce a concept. Your students could create a Glog to share their understanding of a concept or to teach and challenge others.


VoiceThread is a fantastic tool for recording student voice. You can embed video, photos and documents into a VoiceThread. Children can record their thinking or questions either through voice recording or by typing. They can use the pen tool to write on the photos, documents, etc. You could create a VoiceThread with different story problems for children to respond to or children could share different strategies for solving a problem. They could create a problem or presentation for others to comment on and create discussion between the participants.


Storybird is an online tool for creating e-books. Children can be challenged to create e-books about a range of concepts including: simple counting books, story problem books, share problem solving strategies, write about Maths in the world around them, share results from statistical inquiries.


Drive (was Docs) - create forms, documents, and diagrams. I've used the Forms feature to collect statistical data but you can also use it to collect students responses to word problems, equations, descriptions of shapes, etc. Children can create their own forms to collect information from others. Google Maps has a feature that allows you to create and save your own map. This can be made available publicly or kept private. There is a ruler tool plug in available which allows you to measure distances - great for investigating area and perimeter.
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These links give you some more great ideas for using Google Maps and other Google tools in your classroom:


A great tool for exploring Geometry in particular. Children can create 3D models and 2D drawings. Great for looking at perspective/point of view.
SketchUp can be downloaded here:

Lego Digital Designer

Like SketchUp this programme can be used to create 3D representations of children's 2D drawings. There is the added bonus that children can then go on to create models from actual Lego.



Scrtach is a programming tool designed for children. There is a lot of mathematical thinking involved in creating a Scratch project such as angles, positive and negative numbers and positional language. Scratch projects can also be created to teach and reinforce concepts. Find out more here:
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