Visualizing Technology in Math

This past week in our professional learning group discussed the importance of visualizations in mathematics and also looked at the role of technology in the mathematics classroom. For this post I would like to touch upon the importance of visualizations and diagrams and also the ways in which we can responsibly use technology in the math classroom.


Visualizations are an important way to approach math instruction and are important for students to access as strategies to solve problems. Jo Boaler has a lot of great information about using visualizations in the math classroom and notes that it is well known that visual math improves performance. Through our class discussions, we also touched on the importance of using visual solutions as a way to fully understand the math processes instead of simply memorizing a formula. When we encourage visualizations we can reduce the memorization needed by increasing the key information our students understand.


In teacher’s college, there is a high emphasis on facilitating 21st century learning skills of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Many times, we discuss the use of technology to achieve these goals and demonstrate our skills. However, I believe many pre-service teachers (and perhaps in-service teachers) are still confused about the EFFECTIVE use of technology in the classroom.

This week we looked at a resource that I find extremely valuable in assessing the use of technology in any educator’s classroom – and this idea is NOT new! The model is called the SAMR model which stands for substitution, augmentation, modification and redefinition. This model was popularized by Dr. Ruben Puentedura and should be familiar to most educators. Using SAMR in connection with Bloom’s taxonomy also highlights the importance of evaluating how you are using technology in your classroom. The above video is an overview of the SAMR and how it can be used engage students in the 21st century learning skills.



It is suggested that modification and redefinition are the best areas for teachers to aim for. I think that we need to evaluate a teacher’s use of technology based on more than just a linear comparison to this model. Many educators are still familiarizing themselves with technology and moving beyond enhancement and into transformation is a stepping stone. That being said, using technology in the enhancement areas can also be extremely beneficial for a classroom depending on the situation. When we look at differentiating instruction, providing substitutes and augmentation with technology can offer our students different ways to approach the same problem while keeping them engaged and catering to their learning styles and preferences. This is responsible education.

Here are some other examples of technology and SAMR:

Christi Collins – Thinglink Picture – Amazing Sorting of Resources

Kathy Schrock – Blog Post – Another example and great connection to Bloom’s taxonomy


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