The events of 2020 forever changed the face of education; however, with a little adaptation, we can ensure learning remains pandemic-proof for our students. In this post, I share five examples of digital math activities that can be used by students from anywhere in the world.
I immediately knew something was wrong.
As I approached, I slowed down to ensure I was going in the right direction.
This is where it used to be . . . right?
Confused, I walked up to the storefront and peered inside.
I could still see the equipment, but the store was dark.
A crumpled and torn note on the front door said, “Closed.”
My heart sank.
This was my favorite place to eat ice cream. The mere thought of it brought an immediate smile to my face.
Ben and Jerry’s was gone.
What was I going to do now?
The Good Ole’ Days
I’m sure we can all relate to losing something we love . . . a favorite restaurant, clothing store, ice cream shop, TV show, store-bought foods, drinks, etc.
It seems silly, but when you become accustomed to something, it’s hard to adapt to something else. It’s human nature.
And, while some people adjust faster than others, having to do an “about-face” mid-stream is hard.
Well, we all experienced this in the Spring semester of 2020.
Holy moly, that was a huge “about-face”!
Teachers had to transform their instruction overnight because we weren’t able to do paper-and-pencil activities from a distance.
We needed to pivot . . . and fast, so many teachers turned to activities students could complete via a computer.
You may have heard of recession-proof jobs— jobs that are not likely to be affected by a recession. Well, what about pandemic-proof activities?
Pandemic-proof activities are activities that will survive any situation we encounter, like a world-wide pandemic that forced us to seek refuge in our homes for weeks. Even now, almost a year later, we are still making changes to our lives.
Many teachers have been using digital activities to help students continue learning even when learning from home. Digital activities gained popularity before the pandemic, but now, they are here to stay.
So, what are pandemic-proof activities? They are digital activities, games, and resources students can use from anywhere in the world.
What are Digital Activities
Digital activities are similar to the traditional paper-and-pencil tasks we have used for years except students complete them on a computer or handheld device. Not only does this mean students can access their assignments from anywhere in the world, but it also means you can save a ton of money on copies. 💃
Digital activities have been gaining popularity over the past few years, but the events of 2020 have helped them skyrocket to become a go-to resource for many teachers due to increased safety protocols and limited opportunities for material-sharing.
Many types of digital activities emerged over the past year, including interactive digital slides, Boom Cards, digital task cards, digital escape rooms, and other paperless activities.
Examples of Digital Math Activities
One of the quickest things that emerged were interactive digital slides. These fun and engaging digital activities are simple and easy-to-make. The best part is you can use print resources to create these in a few quick steps.
Once the activities get loaded into the background of the slide, elements students can use to respond to the activity can be added on the top layer, such as text boxes, drawing tools for circling objects or matching objects, and even digital manipulatives. Other objects, such as images with the solutions to the activity, can be added so students can drag the images to the correct place on the slide.
Digital activities are versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. Students can access them on many devices; however, desktop computers, laptops, and Chromebooks seem to work best.
Boom Cards are self-grading activities, like task cards, designed to be interactive and “gamified” for students to provide an engaging learning experience. They are easy to use and provide immediate feedback and performance data for teachers.
Boom Cards can be used on iPads, tablets, Chromebooks, laptops, desktop computers, and interactive whiteboards. Boom Cards are also compatible with Google Classroom and can be assigned via the Google Classroom platform.
Students, and teachers, love them! Check out a preview of one of my favorites here!
Digital Task Cards
I know so many teachers use task cards in the classroom. It had to be devastating not to be able to use them last spring, but there are several ways to still enjoy these simple and effective activities.
First, you can use a snipping tool, with permission, of course, to extract them from a digital resource and then add them as images to Google Slides. Provide students with a recording sheet, Google Form, or place to respond on the slide and you’re ready to go.
Second, you can add them as images directly to Google Forms and create a self-grading quiz to save you some time and give students immediate feedback. Cool, right?
Digital Escape Rooms
A digital escape room activity is like a physical escape room; however, instead of unlocking real lockboxes, students solve problems and use codes to unlock “digital” locks. They are also collaborative experiences students can complete together using breakout rooms.
Digital escape rooms are easy to create and provide a new venue for learning! They are also gaining popularity and are available to use to teach/reinforce a variety of skills. The image above shows a digital escape room emphasizing seasonal and holiday problem-solving tasks.
Did you know you can create digital worksheets in a snap? In the same way you can turn paper task cards into digital task cards, you can take your tried and true worksheets and create digital worksheets with them.
There are two quick ways to do this. You can scan the worksheet to create a digital image and then upload the images, with permission, into the background of Google Slides. Then, you add text boxes on the top of the slide so students can respond to the questions. The second strategy is similar, but you upload the images into Google Forms and add questions so students can complete the worksheet.
Viola! You created a digital worksheet!
Digital Activities are the Future!
Digital activities have been gaining popularity for years and now they are here to stay! Besides the fact they are fun, engaging, and easy-to-use, students love them and they help make learning accessible to all students from anywhere in the world.
The five digital math activities shared here can help you create engaging learning experiences for your students in a pandemic-proof classroom!
Grab a free set of TEKS-aligned digital activities for your fourth- and fifth-grade students using the form below!
What are your favorite digital activities? Respond in the comments below.