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Week 1: EdTech Terms

This "cheat sheet" Boundless put together lists 24 ed-tech terms teachers and admins need to know these days.

Question 1

How many of these 24 terms feel new, fresh and interesting to you?

Question 2

Let us make a MathTech cheat sheet! What three terms, specific for mathematics education with technology, would you include? Give short and sweet definitions of your terms, as in the list below.

Ed Tech Cheat Sheet


From what participants wrote, this task seems difficult for people who are just starting their journey in math ed tech! Here are some steps that should help.

  1. Search for articles, book chapters or blog posts about topics that interest you in teaching mathematics with technology. You can search the Web in general, or blogs, or article depositories for this phrase ("teaching mathematics with technology") or add some particular technology keywords, such as "cell phone" or "abacus." For example, here is a blog search I used.
  2. Choose a likely article from your search results. This one looked promising to me when I searched. Why? The blog search gave me this description: 

    One of the more recent trends in teaching mathematics is incorporating social justice into math lessons,” he says. “One of the activities that we've done with teachers and ... Brown says that the continuous need for physical resources such as technology is a critical challenge for math teachers in California. “Besides computers, there are hand-held calculators, which help students to visualize math,” says Brown. “The technology piece is… a huge concern because it's ...
  3. Look for math ed tech terms in the full article. Here is one of the terms I found, for example:
     One of the more recent trends in teaching mathematics is incorporating social justice into math lessons,” he says. “One of the activities that we’ve done with teachers and [that they] have done with students is a probability activity that looks at racial profiling. We did a simulation to look at a situation where [a certain number] of a particular group in a particular metropolitan area were pulled over by the police, and we ask, ‘Is this a case of racial profiling or not? How do you create a probability simulation to prove whether or not this is a case of racial profiling?’
    Here are two more terms:
    “Besides computers, there are hand-held calculators, which help students to visualize math,” says Brown. “The technology piece is… a huge concern because it’s expensive. And it changes so quickly, that [equipment] can become obsolete.
    Visualization is a very important tool that students need in mathematics. Having something concrete to manipulate helps students to build their understanding of particular concepts.”
  4. Once you find the terms, you can either define them by yourself, or look up good definitions online and shorten them for this assignment. For example, I headed to the Wikipedia to check out the article on simulation, but quickly moved on to computer simulation. My version of that definition:
    "Simulation: A computer program that simulates an abstract model of a system."
  5. Make sure you give the links to articles you used, as I did in examples above. This will us all if we want to look up real uses of your terms!

Task Discussion

  • Green Machine   Jan. 22, 2013, 9:55 p.m.

    I am familiar with majority of these techniques but I was not aware that they were represented with acronymns or official titles. I have personally experienced many of these ED Tech terms since becoming an Arcadia scholar, faciliating classrooms and spreading knowledge as an educator, and various presentations and seminars. I would love to introduce some of these terms to my scholars when I return to the classroom and assist teachers implenting many of these ED tech strategies as well.


    In former teacher T.J. Fletcher's honors chemistry class at Eagan High School, in Eagan, Minnesota, students worked in groups to conduct video interviews of local experts on a research topic of their choosing. (Look at information and examples of their completed projects.)

    Transformers character

    Credit: Courtesy of DreamWorks SKG

    "The biggest thing needed for this project is an analysis of your resources," says Fletcher, who notes that in a project such as this, the teacher is not going to be the expert in all areas. "By using your resources wisely and filling in the areas in which you lack expertise, the project becomes very doable. Plus, it's a great way to get the community involved."

    "I let the students be the experts when it came to editing the videos," he adds. If a group lacked the needed editing skills, the students would set up tutorials outside of class. For easily obtainable editing software that's often free with a system, Fletcher notes that iMovie for Macs and Movie Maker for PCs are good places to start.

    For inexpensive yet effective video cameras, he suggests trying Flip video cameras: "Their cost and durability make them an excellent choice for the classroom."

    Tech Terms from the article excerpt

    editing: a technique that may be used to altar digital media such as video or photography. Products can range with a scholar's creativity and use with programs such as Adobe, Avid, iLife, and other free products easily accessible to all computer formats.

    iMovie: free video editing software included in the Mac operating system. Simple enough to create quality products with various uses across multiple disciplines. Movie Maker is the PC version.

    flip video cameras: affordable high definition (HD) video cameras which scholar can import onto computers and create originally movies, skits, shows, and etc..., relevant to what they are learning.

    The complete article may be found here

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 23, 2013, 12:32 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Green Machine   Jan. 22, 2013, 9:55 p.m.

    Edutopia is a good place to be for articles, in general. Thanks for the link to this one. How would you transfer these tech terms to be SPECIFIC TO MATH? Or you may want to search for other, related terms that have to do with mathematics. 

  • Katherine Hanisco   Jan. 20, 2013, 7:56 p.m.

    Several of these terms were new to me, such as asynchronous learning and MOOC. After reading up on the definitions, I realized that I have at least heard of the concepts even though I wasn’t familiar with the terminology. For example, I didn’t know the term MOOC, but I have taken courses from Coursera, which would be an example of MOOCs if I am understanding the term correctly.


    MathTech Terms:

    WebQuest – a specific kind of internet-based research lesson in which the teacher pre-selects the material and emphasizes higher order thinking. Since the teacher chooses the sources, it’s a good way to keep students on task while still giving them the opportunity for critical thinking and problem solving.

    Calculator-Based Laboratory – a handheld collection device for gathering real-word data.These devices can be used for all kinds of data collection and analysis, and I think they are a great way to keep students engaged in lessons and also connect math to the real world.

    Virtual Modeling – a way for students to visualize three dimensional or complex models or objects. There are so many uses for this, but I think it’s especially helpful for geometry and three-dimensional coordinate systems. I also like the idea of using interactive virtual modeling to relate math concepts to real life situations. 

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 23, 2013, 12:34 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Katherine Hanisco   Jan. 20, 2013, 7:56 p.m.

    I find it interesting that while WebQuest does not sound specific to math (when you read the definition), in practice, many (most?) WebQuests have to do with math. This is a good example of math ed people trailblazing for everybody else. 

  • Lisa Ritt   Jan. 20, 2013, 8:41 a.m.


    from Lisa Rittler: 

    Task 2:

    Regarding the Cheat Sheet:

    I’d say about 80% of these terms are brand new to me. The concepts are familiar for sure, but the name tags are not. I guess for me, I feel most comfortable with students & teachers together, in person, in a classroom.  These new technology learning environments are far from what I’m used to. However, I am excited to implement them and 100% challenged in learning about them.

    I also love feeling like there are so many options to try to reach a student’s highest learning capacity. This is the beautiful thing about technology, isn’t it? It gives us no excuse.  In my mind, to be an effective teacher, you really want to see what works for each individual student. We have so many opportunities with technology to be effective.

    So, if my student doesn’t seem focused when I’m doing fun games or traditional lectures in the classroom, maybe they’d love a MOOC type environment, or I can find an adaptive learning software that works for them. It’s fantastic!


    3 Cheat Sheet Terms pertaining to Math ED Tech:
    To tell you the truth, these math technology concepts I continute to read & research feel over my head. Because I’m not teaching right now & truly have zero experience with this, the technology terms are my biggest challenge. I know I want to learn this stuff, but the verbage used is really tough! I was a little unsure if you wanted us to use the ones on the cheat sheet OR find our own. OK, here is a crack at it:

    1-Virtual Manipulatives: Taking computer manipulatives a bit further. Computer manipulatives need to be purchased but virtual manipulatives are basically available to all via the internet. Any website where a student or teacher can use a math concept & manipulate it & the website updates based on what the user is doing on it.

    For example, a virtual manipulative for Math Ed could be a “geoboard.” See

    2-MathForum: a place where educators and/or students can find a website to communicate with each other regarding any kind of problem solving. See:

    MathQuizzing: Found on many education websites, the ability for students to take quizzes & then when they get a problem incorrect, they website gives a lesson as to how to find the correct answer. See:

    To go further, I think the MathQuizzing concepts should give the lesson even when the student gets the answer correct. It seems often a student because they just want to get through a quiz online is not really trying & guessing. So, they may get it correct, but realy they don’t know why.

    Thank you!

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 20, 2013, 3:14 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Lisa Ritt   Jan. 20, 2013, 8:41 a.m.

    Lisa, I realize this assignment is a bit abstract at this time, for people who are new to the field. My purpose was to send people out and about on a scavenger hunt of sorts. Also, there is no list like this for math ed tech that I know, so it would be nice for us to make something together. Thank you and everybody else for being brave there.

    It's highly wonderful that you made up a term for a concept you found, MathQuizzing! The definition is solid, and the example you provided is very appropriate. I would like to invite others to follow this example and to describe ideas and concepts even without knowing their official names (if those exist).

    There are several related terms people use to describe different aspects of online math quiz systems, for example: algorithmically generated quizzes, expert systems, and instant targeted feedback. Say, algorithmically generated quizzes can provide you infinitely many practice problems of the same type, such as "add a two-digit and a three-digit number." The quiz will generate the numbers, like 34 and 178, and will check if your answer is 212. 

    I agree with you that it would be nice for students to learn something new from the computer system whether they solved a quiz correct or not. It's much harder to design LEARNING online systems, compared to just TESTING (like quizzes). 

  • Lisa Ritt   Jan. 20, 2013, 3:37 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Maria Droujkova   Jan. 20, 2013, 3:14 p.m.
    Thank you for being kind :) A scavenger hunt it was! I'm learning something NEW with every click !!! -Lisa Lisa Rittler email: cel ph# (215) 740-6036 Our OceanCity, NJ condos are available all year!
  • MgnLeas   Jan. 19, 2013, 9:49 p.m.

    Here is my second go at the math tech terms!


    FluidMath is educational software that can help students to visualize math concepts and make connections to other math topics. The student can create, solve, graph and animate math problems in their own hand writing. This software can be used on tablets and smart boards. ( )
    GeoGebra is free and multi-platform dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that joins geometry, algebra, tables, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package. It has received several educational software awards in Europe and the USA. ( I like that this software is offered in many languages. This would be great for students whose first language is not English. Perhaps working in their native language would help them to better understand the material.
    mLearning is just what is sounds like. Students could use their phone to access a world of information. A team has developed activities for elementary, middle, and high school students. Dynamic lessons where students explore mathematical concepts can be accessed from mobile phones. This means that students who have no access to classroom computers are not excluded from these learning opportunities. ( This generation of students is a cell phone generation. We should utilize the equipment they already have access to!
  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 19, 2013, 10:12 p.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   Jan. 19, 2013, 9:49 p.m.

    Thanks for persevering! These are excellent software examples. I am going to have a second go with you, and highlight what I would call math terms, mostly using your descriptions. So:

    Graphing software translates formulas into graphs. It can help students to visualize math concepts and make connections to other math topcis. This is one of the functions of FluidMath, for example.

    Dynamic geometry software allows users to create and manipulate geometric constructions. It can connect geometry, algebra, statistics and other math subjects. One example of such software is GeoGebra.

    I am going to leave the third one just as you have it, mLearning. They have the term "mobile math" in on the site, but they don't define it as anything more specific than "mLearning of mathematics." 

  • MgnLeas   Jan. 20, 2013, 10:48 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Maria Droujkova   Jan. 19, 2013, 10:12 p.m.

    Thanks for the feed back! It was a little overwhelming reading all the articles and such to find some ideas. It is a good intro to the course though. I feel like I already know more ways to incorporate technology other than using a calculator or the white board. I see more now what you mean now by terms. I found software and tried to give it a definition instead of a term and using the software programs as examples! I have been playing with GeoGebra and am finding it fun, I can not wait to use it when I start teaching.

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 21, 2013, 4:41 a.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   Jan. 20, 2013, 10:48 p.m.

    GeoGebra is a neat project overall. What I like about it is the online support community of teachers and ed developers who share applets and teaching ideas. 

  • Gina Mulranen   Jan. 19, 2013, 5:25 p.m.

    Question 1:

    I am familiar with most of these terms, especially a virtual classroom since I do teach a course in an electronic classroom through Adobe Acrobat Connect. My virtual classroom is synchronous and the students are on webcam so I can call on them when they raise their hands and I can see their reactions. I also have a learning platform (Moodle) with recorded lessons, self-check quizzes, and online assessments. I have also heard of a flipped classroom and have tried it in a few lessons with my Algebra 1 students. They have worked really well!

    I have not heard of the term “Gamification,” however I have played a lot of online games in Quia to help students review for a test or quiz. I have also not heard of a MOOC, but it sounds like a really neat idea, especially for students who want to learn more about a topic that their course does not go into depth with. Now I want to go do some research on these MOOCs for my own educational research!

    Question 2:

    Listed below are three terms that I have found in some online articles relating to educational technology.

    Peer-to-peer courses – The curriculum for these courses are created based on the current need or interest of the students. It does not have a prepared curriculum like a traditional course.

    Hypertext courses – Based on the definition I found online, it sounds like this is a fancy term for an online textbook. The course materials are accessible with a browser and provide the same structure as a regular textbook.

    Virtual field trip – I have heard this type of activity called a webquest before. It is when teachers provide students with links to different sites that relate to a common theme or concept for the students to learn and explore in more depth.

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 19, 2013, 5:30 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Gina Mulranen   Jan. 19, 2013, 5:25 p.m.

    Gina, neat terms to add! Can you give them a math twist or relate them to math? Or maybe find some math-specific terms? For example, you can choose to define virtual manipulatives or math microworlds - both are related to your suggestion of virtual field trips.

    I love MOOCs too. I started a Wikipedia article on them last year when I was participating in one "summary MOOC" - but it still needs a lot of work: 

    It's a hot topic for ed research. 

  • Gina Mulranen   Jan. 20, 2013, 7:25 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Maria Droujkova   Jan. 19, 2013, 5:30 p.m.

    Question 2 Revised

    Here is the math twist on my terms:

    Peer-to-peer courses – The curriculum for these courses are created based on the current need or interest of the students. It does not have a prepared curriculum like a traditional course. This course might include a math tutoring site that teaches lessons based on student needs.

    Hypertext courses – Based on the definition I found online, it sounds like this is a fancy term for an online textbook. The course materials are accessible with a browser and provide the same structure as a regular textbook. I have an online textbook that has a lot of resources like video tutorials, self-check quizzes, practice tests, extra worksheets, and an online version of the textbook. This is GREAT to supplement a math course since students are available to use these resources based on their own needs when studying or reviewing a specific concept.

    Virtual field trip – I have heard this type of activity called a webquest before. It is when teachers provide students with links to different sites that relate to a common theme or concept for the students to learn and explore in more depth. I used a webquest before to have students discover the order of operations and different acronyms for it. These virtual field trips can also include virtual labs like with algebra tiles to learn how to represent a solve a two-step equations.

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 20, 2013, 7:33 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Gina Mulranen   Jan. 20, 2013, 7:25 p.m.

    Virtual field trips to virtual labs! Actually, this works great for very visual content, like origami. I fondly remember that Second Life trip to the SubQuon island where the hosts built a lot of 3D models of their system...

  • SueSullivan   Jan. 18, 2013, 12:40 p.m.

    1.  I'm familiar with most of these definitions, but didn't know the formal terms for some (such as asynchronous learning).  I find all of the concepts interesting, but for now, the one that most intrigues me is 'Flipped Learning'.  I'm interested to see what future studies say about its efficacy, as it does seem to make perfect sense to have students become exposed to concepts independently but work together to solve problems, rather than vice-versa - it offers more opportunities for collaboration among students.

    2.  The three terms that I would include in my cheat sheet are:

    Dream Box:  Adaptive Learning is technology/software that responds according to each individual student's level of knowledge (which should be within the student's zone of proximal development and provide scaffolding).  This technology can also contribute to a more relaxed and low-pressure classroom climate, as students are being instructed individually, rather than as a group (where individual strengths and weaknesses may be more obvious).   The Florida Virtual School uses DreamBox (  The DreamBox website ( describes the Adaptive Learning Engine as "providing differentiated math instruction to meet the needs of every learner" that can tailor "every math lesson" to a student's individual needs, creating "millions of learning paths" for the K-5 grades that align with Core Curriculum.

    Virtual Learning Environments attempt to use real-world experiences as a basis for instruction and assessment.  These are extremely useful because they demonstrate how mathematics concepts are used in real life (students often complain about a perceived lack of application).  Also, VLE's can be chosen to that they are culturally and socially relevant to particular groups of students, which is another important aspect of application.


    Virtual Manipulatives:  Real-life manipulatives are objects that students can manipulate to learn about various mathematics concepts.  Virtual maipulatives allow students to do the same thing, just using a computer (they are often Java applets).  Virtual manipulatives offer the advantage of being able to help model situations that aren't accessible in real-life.  Examples can be found at (

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 19, 2013, 8:12 a.m.
    In Reply To:   SueSullivan   Jan. 18, 2013, 12:40 p.m.

    Sue, good definitions! I am really into MOOCs too. In fact, I am taking one just now, about infographics. 

    Please add three terms that are specific to mathematics to that list, as well. I updated the task with some hints.

  • MgnLeas   Jan. 14, 2013, 11:07 a.m.

    I had heard of most of the terms they have listed. Some were new and fascinating. I am interested in asynchronous learning as well as blended learning. I like the idea of the flipped classroom as well. Technology is allowing students more opportunities to learn.

    The three math education technology words I would add are all websites that I have used and I love.

    BrainPOP is a site with animated characters that show students the worlds of numbers, operations, measurements, geometry, algebra and more. These fun cartoon like characters talk about these topics in a way that kids can understand.

    WebMath is a site where kids can go for help. When they are frustrated with a problem they can go here. This site finds solutions. Students can use these to help them get started.

    CoolMath is a fun, interactive site. It has games and activities students can do. Better than the same boring drills everyday.

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 14, 2013, 11:25 a.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   Jan. 14, 2013, 11:07 a.m.

    These three are excellent sites for teaching. How would you categorize what they do in more general terms? Please name a category, a notion, an idea or a concept that each site exemplifies for you.

  • MgnLeas   Jan. 16, 2013, 4:38 p.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   Jan. 14, 2013, 11:07 a.m.

    BrainPOP is a good site to get the idea of a topic introduced to the students in a fun way.

    WebMath is a good help tool for students.

    CoolMath is a game site. So it is for practicing ideas and concepts in a fun way.

  • Maria Droujkova   Jan. 16, 2013, 6:53 p.m.
    In Reply To:   MgnLeas   Jan. 16, 2013, 4:38 p.m.

    Hmmm, this is descriptive, but maybe I should have been more careful when I wished for "something more general"! Terms are more general than names of particular sites, but they still have to be specific to the field of mathematics education and technology.

    From this list, "good site" is probably too general to be a term. "Math drill game" is a term, though. Does it make sense? If so, what mathematics education or technology terms would you use to describe BrainPOP and WebMath? 

    I actually like the Wikipedia article about the word "term":

    Its list of examples starts with "mathematical jargon" - awww!

  • MgnLeas   Jan. 18, 2013, 7:32 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Maria Droujkova   Jan. 16, 2013, 6:53 p.m.
    Sorry, i am not currently teaching so I do not really know of any math tech terms to add to the list. These sites that i have used, in my opinion, should be used by all math teachers as tools in the classroom. I noticed someone else posted and elaborated on terms in the list given. Is this something I could do also? Hopefully through the semester I will come up with some new terms I believe to be useful. I did like the wikipedia site and the math jargon. Thank you for your feedback, it is good to have such quick responses. Meagan Sent from my iPad