Showing and telling: using tablet technology to engage
students in mathematics
Received: 28 February 2015 /Revised: 17 November 2015 / Accepted: 24 November 2015 /
Published online: 2 December 2015
#Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia, Inc. 2015
Abstract This paper reports on a qualitative investigation into the use of Show and
Tell tablet technology in mathematics classrooms. A Show and Tell application (app)
allows the user to capture voice and writing or text in real time. Described here are the
perceptions of 11 teachers during and after their exploration into the use of Show and
Tell in their primary and secondary classrooms. These perceptions were used to
evaluate Show and Tell tablet technology against a framework of student engagement
and effective pedagogy. The results of the study indicated that the teachers perceived
both the level and the quality of the students’engagement were high. Using Show and
Tell apps enabled the teachers to enact effective pedagogy within their classroom
practices. Importantly, through the use of Show and Tell recordings, students’thinking
became visible to themselves, their teachers and other students in the class. This
thinking then formed the basis of robust discussions and negotiation about the math-
ematical concepts and the strategies the students used to solve problems.
Keywords Tabl et .Mathematics learning .Engagement .Reflection .Show and Tell
Tablet technology, currently dominated by the Apple iPad, is prevalent in many school
classrooms. Schools or parents have made significant investments in tablets because of
the expectations of a technologically rich society and the perceived benefits for
Math Ed Res J (2016) 28:123–147
University of Otago College of Education, PO Box 56, 9054 Dunedin, New Zealand
students’learning (Clark and Luckin 2013). Indeed, there is evidence that students’
learning at school is enhanced with tablet use. Two evaluative reports from the UK
found the use of iPads in schools to be overwhelmingly positive for students’learning
(Burden et al. 2012; Clark and Luckin 2013). The use of iPads motivated and engaged
students. Their use personalised learning, increasing student creativity, independence
and productivity (Clark and Luckin 2013). The iPads supported collaborative learning
because two or more students could interact with the touchscreen at the same
time. There were enhanced opportunities for communication between students,
parents and teachers. Furthermore, teachers found that using iPads within the classroom
enabled them to use a greater range of differentiated activities and forms of assessment
(Burden et al. 2012).
The use of tablet technology in mathematics certainly seems enticing. There are an
ever-increasing number of applications (apps), designed for a specific mathematical
purpose (Larkin 2013). such as Math Bingo or Chicken Coop Fractions. For example, a
tablet can also be used in a myriad of other ways within a mathematics lesson. A tablet
might be used to browse the Internet, perhaps searching for a photo that demonstrates
symmetry. A reference site might be accessed, such as Wolfram Alpha, or a support site
such as Mathletics or HotMaths. Other apps not specifically designed for mathematics
are also potentially useful, such as the camera or Show and Tell apps.
This article contributes to literature on the use of tablet technology in mathematics
by reporting specifically on these Show and Tell apps. Show and Tell is a collective
term coined by the authors (Williamson-Leadley and Ingram 2013) for the increasing
range of interactive tablet apps that allow the user to capture voice and writing or text in
real time. This is the same term used for a popular classroom activity involving students
sharing an object or news with their classmates. The term ‘Show and Tell’was chosen
for this technology because, like that activity, it involves students showing what they
have done and been talking about it.
This research captured the perceptions of 11 New Zealand teachers and their 5- to
14-year-old students (years 1 to 10 in New Zealand). It sought to explore how Show
and Tell impacted on students’engagement, how the tool could be used in mathematics
classrooms and what needed to be considered in integrating Show and Tell into
teachers’mathematics programmes. We begin this article by reviewing research into
the use of digital technologies, and more specifically tablets, in mathematics class-
rooms. The purpose of any mathematics education research is to ultimately improve the
mathematical learning of students; therefore, we focus on research that has evaluated
how students’learning has been impacted by digital technology use. Backgrounded by
this research into digital technologies, we shape a framework to explore how Show and
Tell apps within a mathematics programme can contribute to the context of students’
learning. We detail the methodology, present the teachers’and students’perceptions on
the use of Show and Tell, discuss these with reference to the research frameworks and
Digital technology and learning mathematics
The considerable potential of digital technologies to support students’learning of
mathematics is well recognised (Bennison and Goos 2010; Joubert 2013; Serow
124 N. Ingram et al.
et al. 2014) and is emphasised by national and state curriculum documents (Cavanagh
and Mitchelmore 2011). In describing how this could occur, Calder (2011)assertedthat
‘digital technologies, if used appropriately, enable mathematical tasks to be presented
and explored in ways which might initiate and enhance mathematical thinking, and
make further sense of a situation’(p. 37). As digital technologies continue to evolve,
researchers are not only exploring general issues related to the use of digital technol-
ogies but are also focusing on how particular forms of digital technology can be used to
Tablets and learning mathematics
As tablets have become increasingly utilised in mathematics classrooms in recent times,
there have been a number of studies looking at the effect of the use of tablets on
learning mathematics. For example, Attard, working with Curry (Attard and Curry
2012) and Orlando (Attard and Orlando 2014). found that the incorporation of iPads
into primary classrooms was perceived by teachers to have a positive effect on the
students’mathematical learning. The iPads promoted participation, interaction, chal-
lenge and fun and had the potential to give students immediate feedback. Teachers
reported being able to use a wider range of teaching strategies and the use of iPads gave
them additional opportunities to reflect on their pedagogy. In their study of the use of
iPads to assess the mathematics skills of three 17–18-year-old students with emotional
disturbances, Haydon et al. (2012) found students had greater degree of accuracy in
solving mathematics problems using an iPad. In both studies, the use of iPads was also
seen to have enhanced students’engagement.
Incorporating digital technologies into mathematics classrooms
There is a somewhat limited uptake of technology in mathematics teaching (Joubert
2013). and even if teachers do adopt technology, enhanced student learning does not
necessarily follow (Pierce and Ball 2009). After exploring a number of theoretical
frameworks and research related to classroom use of technology, Goos et al. (2010)
identified these issues as being related to the following: institutional contexts, such as
policies and access to technology; teacher characteristics, for example, beliefs and
knowledge in mathematics, pedagogy and technology and professional development.
Effective professional development provides a strong foundation in subject content,
pedagogical knowledge and skills and critical reflection on practice and methods
(Loucks-Horsley et al. 2011). In line with this, the technological pedagogical content
knowledge (TPACK) model (Koehler and Mishra 2009; Mishra and Koehler 2006)
argues that technological knowledge must be considered alongside content and peda-
gogical knowledge, rather than separately. This framework proposed that in order for
digital technology to be used effectively to support students’learning and teachers’
classroom practices, teachers need to understand how best to use the technology within
their curriculum area while using what is widely accepted to be the most effective
pedagogy for this. As such, in mathematics, developing teachers’TPACK involves
strengthening teachers’understanding of mathematics content and their knowledge of
the misconceptions that can occur; furthering their knowledge in the ways in which
students learn and becoming familiar with technology and the ways in which this can
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 125
enhance teaching and learning (Attard and Orlando 2014). It would seem to follow then
that effective professional development must address all three areas simultaneously.
In addition to considering the content of professional development, how and when it
is delivered must be considered. Professional development can often be ‘short-term and
sporadic’(Cavanagh and Mitchelmore 2011, p. 418) resulting in a focus on the
technology itself, rather than considering how technology can be used to enhance
teaching and learning. In addition to ensuring professional development occurs over a
time span sufficient to ensure it can cover the necessary content, continuing assistance
is required to support teachers as they put new practices in place, gaining skill and
confidence in using them (Joyce and Showers 2002).
Part of the professional knowledge teachers need in order to make best use of
technology to teach mathematics is how to identify the most appropriate app to use.
When first introduced to tablets, teachers often explore and use one of the huge range of
mathematics-specific apps that are available (Attard and Orlando 2014;Larkin2013).
Many of these apps are reminiscent of worksheets and are essentially drill and practice
exercises, designed for students to reinforce a specific mathematical skill through
games or repeated problems. The teachers in Attard and Orlando (2014) research found
these apps were easy to access and often very engaging; however, the teachers had
difficulty in creatively using the apps in open-ended ways that encouraged problem-
solving and reflection. Furthermore, the teachers were often not able to differentiate
their use for the range of learners in their class. This is similar to discussions by Larkin
(2013) who cautions that these apps tend to be rated at a skill level 2 or 3 years older
Evaluating how individual apps enhance students’learning is important. Larkin
(2013) argued that apps needed to be evaluated against their curriculum content,
technical specifications (using the Haugland Scale, see Haugland 1999) and dimensions
of productive pedagogies (Education Queensland 2014). which emphasised the poten-
tial learning afforded by the technology. As such, effective apps should match the
curriculum, have technical and user requirements that can be met within a classroom
environment and enable teaching to reflect productive pedagogies. These guidelines
emerged out of observations of around 1000 primary and secondary classrooms in
Australia (Lingard et al. 2003) and are based on 20 classroom practices that were
considered to have supported enhanced student learning. Larkin (2014) noted, however,
that doing this kind of evaluation would take too long for most teachers and usually
requires the teacher to purchase the app. These guidelines regarding what is necessary
to effectively evaluate apps are in line with, and extend, Attard and Orlando (2014)
assertion that a tool that aligns with effective pedagogy is one in which enables
mathematics to be the focus, rather than the technology.
The need for the focus to be on mathematics rather than technology means that it is
important to consider what effective pedagogy in mathematics involves when evaluat-
ing an app. In New Zealand, a Best Evidence Synthesis (Anthony and Walshaw 2007)
identified the pedagogical practices that allow mathematical competencies and identi-
ties to develop. This resulted in a list of ten effective pedagogies for mathematics,
presented in Table 1.
126 N. Ingram et al.
In general, it appears that the ten pedagogies identified by Anthony and Walshaw
(2007) share many features of the 20 elements identified by Lingard et al. (2003). For
example, ‘making connections’(Anthony and Walshaw 2007) involves aspects of
Lingard et al.’s‘knowledge integration’,‘background knowledge’,‘connectedness to
the world’and ‘problem-based curriculum’.‘Mathematical communication’(Anthony
and Walshaw 2007) is in line with Lingard et al.’s‘knowledge problematic’and
‘substantive conversation’. Student control is one element that appears in Lingard et
al.’s elements but is not explicitly identified within Anthony and Walshaw’s list.
Tab l e 1 Effective pedagogies for mathematics (adapted from Anthony and Walshaw 2007)
Effective pedagogy Description
An ethic of care Effective teachers have caring classroom communities where
students are able to think, reason, communicate, reflect upon
and critique the mathematics they encounter. Students have a
classroom where they feel responsible for themselves and
Arranging for learning Students need opportunities to work independently, cooperatively
in pairs and groups and actively participate in whole-class
discussion, so they have opportunity to clarify their understanding
and be exposed to broader interpretations of their own
Building on students’thinking Effective teachers make decisions based on students’current
knowledge and interests. Students can learn from their errors
by the teacher organising discussion that ask students to share
their interpretations or solution strategies so that they can compare
and re-evaluate their thinking
Worthwhile mathematical tasks Tasks need to allow for original thinking about important concepts.
Open-ended tasks are ideal for fostering the creative thinking
and experimentation that characterise mathematical play
Making connections Effective teachers support students in creating connections between
different ways of solving problems, between mathematical
representations and topics and between mathematics and everyday
Assessment for learning Effective teachers use a range of assessment practices to make
students’thinking visible and to support students’learning.
Effective teachers provide opportunities for students to evaluate
their own work
Mathematical communication Effective teachers encourage their students to explain and justify
their solutions, to communicate their ideas orally, in writing
and by using a variety of representations. Students become
accustomed to listening to the ideas of others and using debate to
resolve conflict and arrive at common understandings
Mathematical language Effective teachers foster students’use and understanding of the
terminology that is endorsed by the wider mathematical community
Tools and representations Effective teachers carefully select tools (including technology) and
representations to support their students’mathematical development.
Effective teachers make informed decisions about when and how
they use technology to support learning
Teacher knowledge Effective teachers have a sound grasp of the relevant content and
how to teach it
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 127
Aspects of this, however, are implicit within the ‘ethic of care category’and the general
pedagogical approach associated with effective teaching of mathematics. The other
element that is not included in Anthony and Walshaw’s list is engagement. This is
perhaps not surprising, as engagement could be conceptualised as occurring as a result
of using effective pedagogies, rather than being a pedagogical strategy per se, although
it is important that teachers understand what an engaged student looks like. The
effective pedagogies in Table 1are also in line with those identified in the research
related to the use of tablets in the classroom, such as students needing to make sense of
mathematical situations (Calder 2011). needing to have rich mathematical conversa-
tions and having the opportunity to work with multiple representations (Larkin 2013)
and real-world contexts (Attard and Northcote 2011). One approach that uses technol-
ogy and appears to be able to meet the criteria for effective pedagogies in mathematics
is the Show and Tell approach.
Using Show and Tell for learning mathematics
The authors’previous research into Show and Tell (Williamson-Leadley and Ingram
2013) explored perceptions of the app Educreations (2014). Three year 2–5teachers
(with students aged 6–9) used this iPad app with tasks based on the New Zealand
numeracy assessment tool (Ministry of Education 2008). This assessment tool was
familiar to the teachers and students and took the form of a diagnostic interview that
was designed to enable teachers to make judgments about the knowledge and mental
strategies of their students. As teachers used Educreations to conduct their numeracy
assessments, students were encouraged to think aloud, i.e. to verbalise what they were
thinking. These verbalisations represent underlying cognitive processes allowing in-
sight to be gained into how the students apply strategies to solve problems (Branch
2006). The students used the tablet to work on their answers to the tasks, explaining
their thinking as they went. The students’workings and voice were recorded using the
Show and Tell app.
The teachers and students were positive about their experience in using Educreations.
The tablet worked as a window for learning (Clark and Luckin 2013). The teachers
gained detailed evidence of the students’learning and were able to make judgments on
the students’knowledge and use of strategies and were therefore able to make informed
decisions about students’next steps. In line with previous research on the use of tablet
technology in mathematics (Attard and Curry 2012;Haydonetal.2012). a common
theme in the interviews with the participating teachers was the teachers’perceptions of
enhanced student engagement (see Williamson-Leadley and Ingram 2013).
The major advantage of a Show and Tell app over the standard written recording of
the diagnostic interview was that the assessments could be replayed either directly on
the iPad or at a later stage online. As the students listened to the recording, they
reflected on their own learning, and rich dialogue occurred between the students and
the teachers. The teachers could also play back the interview to check their own recall
and identified the potential of using the playback for other purposes, such as e-
portfolios, moderation or reporting to parents. Teachers also saw the potential of
sharing the recordings with the class to highlight aspects of strategy use or for sharing
individual or cooperative learning. It is this research, and these potentials, that inform
the current study.
128 N. Ingram et al.
The current study
Given previous research that highlights the potential of tablet technologies to enhance
teaching and learning, this research aimed to evaluate the use of Show and Tell to
support teachers to enact effective pedagogy in mathematics. Teachers first participated
in professional development aimed at enhancing their understanding of how to use
Show and Tell to teach mathematics using what is widely accepted to be the most
effective form of pedagogy. They then used the tablet technology with their students,
before the effectiveness of their pedagogy was determined.
As noted previously, ten pedagogies that are effective in teaching the New Zealand
mathematics curriculum have been identified (Anthony and Walshaw 2009). If these
pedagogies are enacted, it is expected that learning will occur. It is beyond the scope of
this study to measure each of these pedagogies, so an indication of student learning is
the focus. While there are a number of ways student learning can be measured, this
study focuses on student engagement. Student engagement has been commonly used in
mathematics education research as an indicator that learning is taking place (Ingram
2011;Op‘tEynde2004; Williams and Ivey 2001). Indeed, in Ingram (2011)longitu-
dinal research into students’relationships with mathematics, when asked specifically
about their learning, students tended to talk about their ‘doing’or engagement in
Engagement has also previously been used as a measure of the effect of iPad use in
mathematics. Attard and colleagues (Attard and Curry 2012; Attard and Orlando 2014)
conceptualised engagement as occurring when students are procedurally engaged
during mathematics lessons; enjoy their learning and doing mathematics and view
the learning and doing of mathematics as a valuable, worthwhile task, useful within and
beyond the classroom. They found that the use of iPads enhanced students’engage-
ment, based on this conceptualisation. Haydon et al (2012). however, focused on active
engagement, defining this as the student writing, raising his or her hand, reading aloud
and talking to the teacher or peer about the task. Based on this definition, they found
students demonstrated higher rates of engagement when using iPads.
With the exception of Attard and Orlando’s(2014) multifaceted conception of
engagement, research is often confined to the level, rather than the quality, of engage-
ment. Addressing this issue, Ingram (2011) qualitatively analysed both the quality and
level of students’engagement over time and, informed by affective research (DeBellis
and Goldin 2006; Hannula et al. 2004). identified a number of engagement skills (see
Tab le 2). As such, the teachers’use of Show and Tell in this research was evaluated
according to how it enabled teachers to actively foster some or all of these skills.
This paper presents the results of a qualitative intervention study, which explored the
use of Show and Tell within 11 classrooms across eight primary and secondary schools
using a reality oriented approach (Patton 2002). In this approach, we seek to reflect in
our findings the truth of what is happening in the real world insofar as it is possible to
get at it. Not all questions are theory based, and some concrete and practical questions
are also addressed. The study aimed to evaluate the use of Show and Tell to determine
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 129
whether it was able to support teachers to enact effective pedagogy in mathematics. It
did this through addressing three research questions:
1. Based on teachers’perceptions, how did the use of Show and Tell impact on the
level and quality of students’engagement?
2. In what ways can Show and Tell be used in the mathematics classroom to enhance
3. What considerations are needed to integrate the use of Show and Tell into
The participants in this study were 11 female primary and secondary school teachers
who taught years 1–10 (aged 5–14) at eight schools representing a range of decile
(socio-economic) ratings within a city boundary in New Zealand. The teachers in-
volved in the project had been teaching between 1 and 20 years. They had a range of
experience in using ICT in the mathematics classroom. Many of them used ICT, and
even tablets, daily in their mathematics programmes, and two of them had used Show
and Tell technology previously. A further nine teachers were involved in the initial
stages of the research, but did not participate in the data collection phases. The
contribution of these nine teachers is discussed in answering research question 3.
There were five stages in the data collection process (see Table 3for an overview),
which resulted in a data set consisting of written responses from the teachers about their
teaching and technology background, journal entries written by teachers during the
study and transcribed post-intervention interviews with the teachers.
Tab l e 2 Engagement skills (Ingram 2011)
Engagement skill Description
Perseverance The skill of continuing to do a mathematical task, despite experiencing difficulty
Integrity A commitment to searching for mathematical truth and understanding—searching
for more than the correct answer
Intimacy Deep emotional engagement with mathematics
Independence The skill of solving problems autonomously
Concentration The skill of remaining focused on the mathematics and continuing
engagement despite disruption
Utilisation of feelings The skill of being resilient to negative feelings and instead using them as a
signal to persevere or change strategy
Cooperation The skill of discussing mathematics with others, to solve the tasks cooperatively
and to ask for help as a strategy, rather than as a form of disengagement or
dependence on others
Reflection Being self-aware. Reflecting on own and others’engagement
130 N. Ingram et al.
In order to ensure that the teachers were well positioned to make effective use of
technology in the mathematics classroom, they needed to have not only the skills and
confidence to use the technology but also the knowledge of how to make effective use
of it within the mathematics classroom. As a result, the authors delivered the profes-
sional development in the teachers’schools. In this 1- to 2-h session, the researchers
were introduced, the research into technology and Show and Tell backgrounded and
effective pedagogy and ways to enhance students’engagement skills were discussed.
As part of this, teachers were given examples of effective pedagogical uses of Show
and Tell in their mathematics classrooms. The teachers were reminded that they needed
to have patience to overcome likely hurdles related to the implementation of technology
and that they should learn alongside the students in their class.
The pedagogical focus of the professional development was the need for teachers to
be able to understand students’thinking when they solve mathematical problems in
order to be able to decide on students’next learning steps and to address any
misconceptions (Pottier et al. 2010). In both primary and secondary schools
in New Zealand, it is accepted practice for students to explain their thinking
when solving mathematical problems. Students are also often asked to show their
workings when solving a problem so that the teacher can see the process and where
the errors may have occurred.
There is currently disagreement in the literature about how best to access
students’thinking about a task (e.g. see Branch 2006;EricssonandSimon
Tab l e 3 Stages of data collection
Recruitment The principals of the schools were contacted with background
information and the purpose of the Show and Tell Project.
They forwarded teachers’names to the researchers
Background Twenty teachers from nine schools agreed to participate. They
were asked to fill out a background form, which included questions
relating to their teaching experience, their use of ICT and professional
development undertaken in the previous five years. The purpose of this
background was to assess teachers’professional development needs and
teachers with a range of experience were involved
Professional development Twenty teachers took part in the professional development.
Exploring the use of Show
Over a period of 2–4 weeks, teachers were asked to explore the use of
Show and Tell within their mathematics programmes, recording
their written reflections in journals and collecting examples of
students’work. Eleven of the 20 teachers participated in this phase
Interview The teachers were interviewed individually. These interviews were
semi-structured and designed to gather teachers’reflections about
their experience, which tablet device and app/s they used, the
ways they used Show and Tell within their mathematics programmes,
affordances and constraints for teaching and learning, the quality
of evidence of the students’learning and how this information could
be stored and used. These interviews were recorded and then
transcribed by the resear ch team
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 131
1999; Karo-Ljungberg et al. 2012) and whether this is able to be done concur-
rently or retrospectively, or through interviews, observations or work samples.
Despite these concerns, the think-aloud method is generally accepted as a valid
way of collecting data on thinking (Branch 2006). Through the use of Show
and Tell apps then, the students are able to show their thinking, thus allowing
the teacher to gain a more holistic picture of the thinking and application of
strategies that occur when students attempt mathematical questions (Williamson-
Leadley and Ingram 2013).
Given that students’active engagement is being used as a measure of
effective pedagogy in this research, teachers were also guided in the importance
of being explicit with students about the need for them to be actively engaged
with the mathematics problems they were solving. Ingram (2011,2013)work
on the engagement skills needed by a thriving mathematics student and the
accompanying student-written poster for engagement (see Fig. 1) were used as a guide
to these skills.
Of the 20 teachers who were given the professional development, 11 chose to
continue to trial Show and Tell in their classrooms.
This data was analysed in two stages: third-column analysis and then coding of
data with reference to the research framework and questions. The third-column
analysis was the initial interpretations made during data collection (Ingram
2011). which were written in the right-hand (third) column of the transcripts.
These interpretations consisted of ‘thoughts, musings, speculations, and
hunches’(Merriam 1998, p. 165) and were added to by the research team
throughout the research. These were shaped by our own backgrounds and
experiences, our interpretations of the literature associated with this research,
data already gathered in the research process and the emerging findings from all of the
stages of analysis in the research.
Fig. 1 Engagement poster (published in Ingram et al. 2015
132 N. Ingram et al.
In the second phase of analysis, the recorded data was explored specifically with
regard to the research questions and framework, yet remaining open to the emergence
of other themes. Specific details of how this was done with reference to each research
question is presented alongside the results. In all analyses, we remained conscious of
seeking alternative explanations.
A number of steps were taken in order to increase the credibility of the study and
minimise bias. An audit trail was kept throughout the research process. Triangulation of
the data sources occurred through comparing teachers’journal entries over time, as well
as comparing these with their interviews (see Patton 2002). Further triangulation
occurred through having multiple people analyse the data (triangulating analysts;
Patton 2002) and relating the findings to previous research.
Results and discussion
The research questions have been answered in the following section, using the frame-
work of effective pedagogy and engagement to evaluate Show and Tell. Pseudonyms
have been used to maintain the anonymity of the teachers.
Research question 1: based on teachers’perceptions, how did the use of Show
and Tell impact on the level and quality of students’engagement?
The data was examined for evidence of teachers’perceptions of the impact of Show
and Tell on students’engagement. Each potential instance was considered and then
coded as making reference to engagement in general, including the level of engage-
ment; engagement related to the use of technology or the quality of students’engage-
ment, as described through the engagement skills identified previously. Each of these
will now be discussed in turn. Representative quotes will be used to illustrate the
All 11 teachers who trialled Show and Tell in their classrooms were positive about
using it within their mathematics programmes, both in terms of its use and also in terms
of the responses from their students.
I got excited about [Show and Tell]…I’dliketousethisasateachingtoolinthe
future. I can see the potential in it. The students loved it, and were asking every
day, ‘Canwegoon[Show and Tell]? Can we do it for maths?’(Angela)
One of the teachers commented specifically on how being involved in this project
helped her understand the need to focus on engagement.
I think that’s the best thing about the whole thing. …Using the tablets meant we
could be explicit about engagement. The boys thought way more about their
engagement. Being stuck in maths. Satisfaction. Perseverance. What maths feels
Not unexpectedly, teachers reported that having the chance to use technology was at
least part of what made using the Show and Tell apps a positive experience.
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 133
It definitely made them more engaged and focused definitely …They love
anything on the iPad, and they love to be the one chosen to touch the iPad, to
use the stylus on the iPad. (Jennifer)
While the fun of using technology and the novelty value of using Show and Tell
were factors in students’engagement, it appeared to be more than this. Olive’sstudents
were already accustomed to using technology within their classroom, but Olive still
saw increased levels of engagement.
[Show and Tell] improved their engagement. They were focused they were
excited to go away and do an activity …and ‘can I do another one, can I do
another one?’So that shows me that they enjoyed it, and wanted to do it more.
Similarly, Cathy commented that
Possibly it’s the novelty. It would be interesting to see if the novelty wears off.
But it’smorethanthat–there is something much clearer in the way the images
appear. …Watching the drawing and equation appear seemed to absolutely
capture the kids …It enhances their learning because of this captivation …
They seem to connect and …they can transfer that learning into something else.
Using iExplain has really helped with their subtraction strategies. They just kept
going …they grasped it quickly and well …They were all working a stage above
where they were before. (Cathy)
Overall, it appeared that students’engagement went beyond simply being engaged
by the technology; they were also engaged with the mathematics. Each of the engage-
ment skills was identified as having occurred by at least seven teachers, as seen in
Tab le 4. Using the Show and Tell apps appeared to be particularly good at engaging
students both independently and cooperatively with all teachers identifying occasions
when this occurred. This shows the flexibility in the apps, with students able to work on
their own or with others.
Four of the teachers had younger students, aged between 5 and 6 years old.
Although all of them were generally positive about their students’engagement in
mathematics using Show and Tell, Ruth identified and described an issue in terms of
their engagement. Ruth’s students remained engaged while working remotely when
they were listening and following along with Ruth counting. Indeed, their level of
engagement surprised her. However, the group of 5-year-olds in her class struggled
with being on task when the complexity of an independent task increased. The students
just ‘switched off’. Ruth, a beginning teacher, acknowledged that this was a general
issue with this group of students. Other teachers of younger students acknowledged the
potential of this occurring. For independent tasks, Cathy ‘buddied’younger students
with slightly older students to help them remain focused while working remotely on
tasks, and Prue changed from the app Explain Everything to the simpler Show Me app
for her younger students. In general, however, it appeared that the use of Show and Tell
enhanced both the level and quality of students’engagement. Students were not only
generally perceived by teachers to be more engaged, but most teachers reported seeing
134 N. Ingram et al.
evidence of this engagement through behaviours. This engagement went beyond the
technology and showed itself in their mathematics learning behaviours.
Research question 2: in what ways can Show and Tell be used in the mathematics
classroom to enhance students’learning?
In order to identify the ways in which Show and Tell could be used in the mathematics
classroom, the data was examined to identify instances where descriptions of use were
provided. These were marked and then further considered to identify where ways of
working could be identified. Details of each of these are presented in the subsequent
sections. It was clear that Show and Tell could be used to enhance students’mathe-
matics learning in a wide variety of ways and its successful integration was not
dependent on the app being used (Cathy), the task being completed (Gill) or the
curriculum strand being taught (Angela). The teachers used Show and Tell in many
Tab l e 4 Presence of engagement skills
Engagement skill Number of
Perseverance 7 If [the students] got stuck, they’d come and ask a
question or they would go and talk to their
Integrity 7 I knew they’d persevere with it, they don’tjustgo
I’m done, and move on, they want to go back and
find the right answer. (Angela)
Intimacy 9 She’s really into it. She wanted to do another one and
another one. She wanted to work on the problems
and enjoyed exploring, trying a new one. (Ruth)
Independence 11 I gave them a problem, and they went away independently
and solved it um, in a real, non-invasive way, because
they were by themselves. Show Me clearly shows the
children’s thinking without it being daunting. (Jennifer)
Concentration 8 They were way more engaged and on task. (Helen)
Utilisation of feelings 8 It’s just that confidence in themselves and in their own
mathematical ability, taking time to slow down and
read it when they are stuck and making sure they’re
actually comprehending it. (Helen)
Cooperation 11 I used it as a way to get the children to interact. To get
off the mat and show their thinking to each other. They
have to use Show Me either independently or with a buddy,
voice it and bring it back and share it with the group.
This provided good discussion and learning. Their thinking
became more clear as they learnt from being able to see
the other children’s thinking visually. (Jennifer)
Reflection 8 In group work, without a tablet, it is just group work and
there’s less reflection. Learning from the process and
learning from each other. The main thing I got out of this
trial was the importance of students’reflecting on their
learning and taking a step back from it and having a
look at it. (Gill)
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 135
ways in the classroom. For example, Janice used it for the students to construct their
own tens frames, while Ruth got groups of students to take photos of measuring devices
around the school and record their verbal reading of the scales. Prue used Show and
Tell at the start of mathematics lessons, recording the whole classes counting together
as selected students with tablets formed the numerals on the touchscreen. However, the
main ways teachers talked about using Show and Tell were mini-lessons, modelling
books, problem-solving, assessment, differentiation and reflecting on their teaching.
Each of these will be described in turn.
Eight of the teachers used Show and Tell to pre-record mini-lessons for their students.
These mini-lessons were used to introduce concepts and served as benchmarks to
reinforce dialogue and for the students and teacher to refer back to at a later point.
For example, Cathy used mini-lessons in her fractions unit to develop the students’
connections between the multiple representations of fractions. Structured by these mini-
lessons, she then continued the unit, working with play-dough, manipulatives and the
whiteboard, referring back to the mini-lessons as needed with individuals and groups.
Angela used mini-lessons for students who needed a lesson on a particular concept so
that they could work independently.
The students in five of these eight classrooms also used Show and Tell to record
their own mini-lessons. Working in a group, Angela’s students needed to negotiate how
to explain the concept. They often had several attempts at fluently recording the mini-
lesson because of the ‘wrangling going on’(Angela). Students as young as 5 recorded
mini-lessons on counting or geometrical features (Cathy, Prue). Re-voicing their
teachers, students’recordings sometimes began with ‘I am going to explain…’
(Cathy) and ended with ‘now you have a go’(Angela). These lessons were a valuable
learning tool for other students (Ruth) and were rich additions to teachers’own
databases of resources (Olive).
Similarly to mini-lessons, but with student interaction captured, six teachers success-
fully used Show and Tell as modelling books. Modelling books are generated in
primary classrooms when students have instructional time with the teacher in a small
group. Sometimes, using a template already created, modelling books record what the
students are learning. They are used as evidence of progress and are often used for
students to refer back to during further, independent activities. Modelling books are
usually a static artefact of the learning process, but the Show and Tell apps allowed
these to be interactive.
During the research period, the Show and Tell apps recorded the interjections and
the social building of ideas as the teachers and students built conceptual understandings
of a concept together, or as they worked together on a problem.
The beauty of using the Show and Tell app for a modelling book is that it records
the writing and the conversation as it builds up. Children can see the lesson as it
unfolds again and again rather than just looking at the end point. (Barbara)
136 N. Ingram et al.
Ten of the teachers used Show and Tell to capture their students’thinking as
they solved problems, working independently from the teacher. These problems
ranged from addition, subtraction or fractional problems to multi-step word
problems. The students, working on problems individually, in pairs or groups,
began with a written, typed or photographed problem on the tablet page. The
students then used that page and subsequent pages to record their drawings,
jottings and solutions. They were asked by their teachers to think aloud at the
same time, which was recorded. In Gill’s class for example, students working in groups
of 3–4 used one tablet between them. They took turns to do fill various roles, such as
scribe and leader.
This recording was then used for self-reflection or shared with the teacher or other
students. Asking students to share their recordings with other students ‘showcased’
(Gill) the range of strategies used. The dialogue generated from this meant the students
engaged more deeply with the problem and this enhanced their learning.
Sharing their working with the class provided good discussion and learning.
We’d find out who had the best strategy and make a decision. …By negotiating
and discussing and then having to share their strategies with other groups, this
enhances their understanding. (Jennifer)
The recordings of the different ways students solved problems informed teaching
decisions. For example, Olive shared chosen recordings in the next lesson with the
whole class to generate discussion or to reinforce effective strategies. Helen regularly
scanned the recordings at the end of the day so that she could adjust her planned
teaching according to students’needs.
Assessment for learning
Show and Tell made the students’doing of mathematics explicit; therefore, all
11 teachers were able to collect detailed evidence about students’mathematical
thinking and learning. They were able to monitor how well the students made
connections between the concepts and were able to identify whether the stu-
dents’ideas need to be developed further or were potential misconceptions.
Before, the students would just write their answer on a piece of paper …but they
wouldn’talwaysrecord…how they got that answer. [Using Show and Tell]I
knew exactly what their thinking was. (Angela)
Using Show and Tell, teachers identified aspects of the students’learning that they
did not think they would have picked up without its use. For younger students, this was
particularly around number formation. For older students, it was centred on their
conceptual understanding and the problem-solving process.
Ihadn’t picked it up until this study. One child had a lot of confusion between
‘teen’and ‘ty’numbers, and I felt the app really highlighted that. (Janice)
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 137
Sometimes kids look like they are actually understanding it, but when you dig
that bit deeper, and look at them through the whole process, actually they’re not.
On a piece of paper sometimes you don’t see all those things unfolding. (Mary)
A disadvantage of using Show and Tell cooperatively for Ruth and Olive was that
they had difficulty in assessing individual students.
You’re not really truly seeing …what that child is thinking. You’re seeing how
they [are] working together, rather than individual thinking. (Olive)
Five of the teachers used Show and Tell to individually assess students’numeracy
strategies, using the Show and Tell as a tool to record diagnostic numeracy interviews.
As a result, Angela found Show and Tell helpful for making decisions about students
who were on the boundary of two stages. The recordings gave her a fine-grained view
of their understandings and enabled her to accurately assess the level of student
understanding. Cathy, however, cautioned against using Show and Tell as the only
assessment tool when it is relatively new to the students as they are yet to master the
physical coordination of using Show and Tell, which may detract from their mathe-
Differentiating the learning
Show and Tell worked well with students who had a range of achievement levels and
learning needs. Nine of the teachers talked about this explicitly. For example, Ruth
prepared for different achievement levels by differentiating her mini-lessons. For the
first group, she recorded herself first counting in series and then saying numbers out of
sequence, writing and speaking the numbers at the same time. The students, working
independently from Ruth, counted along with her making the shapes in the air. In the
next recording, a group of numbers appeared on the screen, the first in sequence and the
next out of sequence. Ruth recorded herself circling a number and then recorded a
pause to give the students an opportunity to say what it was before she did. In the third
group of recordings, Ruth circled a number and then asked them to say a number above
or below the one that was circled, again pausing for them to respond before she gave
them the answer.
Before using Show and Tell, Angela found her English for Speakers of Other
Languages students difficult to ‘catch up with’. She did not know if incorrect answers
were because of their mathematical understandings or because of their misinterpretation
of the question. Show and Tell made this visible to Angela. She was able to focus on
language, and it made students’mathematical processes clear because ‘their mathemat-
ical processes are often different depending on what country they are from’(Angela).
She found that incorrect answers were often to do with their misinterpretations of the
question. Using this knowledge, she was able to adjust her teaching to account for
question interpretation. Angela also found Show and Tell useful for her special-needs
child because it gave her a chance to listen again to the playback along with looking at
what he was writing.
Students who were working above standard in Barbara’s class used Show and Tell
individually to record their thinking during problem-solving and then swapped iPads.
138 N. Ingram et al.
Barbara found that the tension and discussion this generated was especially useful for
students who were committed to the use of one strategy. Barbara also found Show and
Tell useful for children with dyslexia because they were able to verbalise their thinking
rather than only presenting it via text.
Reflection on pedagogy
Playing back the recordings gave the teachers an opportunity to reflect on their own
teaching practices. All of the teachers in the study adjusted their teaching and classroom
routines to account for the useful sharing of recordings. Six of the teachers explicitly
spoke about how the use of Show and Tell engaged them in a process of reflection on
their own pedagogy. They often did this in often very different ways. For example,
when reviewing the impact of her mini-lessons, Ruth discovered that her explanations
were not concise or simple enough for the students’level. This reflection led to her
reviewing her instructions and explanations across her teaching. Cathy found that
reviewing the recordings of her explanations made her reflect on the links she was
making and improved her future explanations. Angela found it beneficial for the
students to work remotely, and then, she played the recordings back to herself when
she was planning the next lesson. When she did that, she was more accurate in her
assessments and better dialogue resulted.
I actually had time, and I didn’t have all the distractions. I could analyse it better
and easier …I’d take it home and know where they were going with it, and the
next day, talk to them about it. Go through it with them. (Angela)
In Jennifer’s class, there were some students working at a very high level and
Jennifer worried that she did not give them feedback because of her lack of confidence
with the content. Jennifer found it useful to, outside of class time, review the recordings
of how they solved problems. They had often solved problems in surprising ways, and
this gave her the opportunity to further work through the problems herself and be more
confident in her feedback.
Discussion in relation to effective pedagogy
Effective pedagogy for the teaching and learning of mathematics was being enacted in
these classrooms. This is evident in the level and quality of the engagement of the
students, as described previously, and the degree to which the ways of working
described above relate to the different features of effective pedagogies (Anthony and
Wals haw 2007). Table 5highlights evidence of how Show and Tell apps enabled
teachers to enact effective pedagogies.
The teachers established an ethic of care in the sense that they explicitly encouraged
the students to think aloud, cooperate and discuss the mathematics with each other.
Students ‘took charge’(Jennifer) and were willing to share, reflect and critique their
own and others’strategies. In sharing their work, students negotiated their understand-
ings and made judgements about their own and others’reasoning (mathematical
communication). Teachers perceived that the students gained confidence in their
learning and developed their conception of themselves as mathematical learners.
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 139
Furthermore, and importantly, students’were able to reflect on their own learning
processes. Students, through cooperation and debate, were constantly reflecting on their
own and others’processes and arriving at common understandings. Using Show and
Tell generated opportunities to differentiate the students’learning.
Creative thinking and mathematical play were fostered by the use of worthwhile
mathematical tasks. Rich and challenging tasks that required open-ended problem-
solving seemed particularly beneficial. The students had multiple opportunities to work
independently, in pairs and in groups (arranging for learning). By teachers and
students being able to write, draw and speak simultaneously, the use of Show and
Tell enabled concepts to be represented in multiple ways and encouraged the teacher
and students to model, emphasise and use mathematical language. Through recordings,
Tab l e 5 Evidence of effective pedagogies
Effective pedagogy Representative quote or use
An ethic of care They were contributing to conversations. A lot of them were
confident and gregarious. ‘Right! We are going to solve this’.
They enjoyed handing the tablet around –being the commentator
or the narrator. (Gill)
Arranging for learning We did a whole class thing then each group made wee movies
to show children. And we used it in pairs, by themselves,
or as a whole class. (Prue)
Building on students’thinking [They] really wanted to share what they’d done all the time, and
that was quite good when they shared that back as a group.
Then there was one group that got it all wrong but, when they
watched it back the other kids …were able to see exactly the
steps that they’d gone wrong and pointed it out to them, rather
than me pointing it out, so that was, you know quite a powerful,
motivating for them. (Helen)
Worthwhile mathematical tasks I used bigger, open-ended problems, ones where they could get stuck.
Then I tried it with smaller questions. …Wee c hu nk s of a
larger investigation. (Gill)
Making connections [Some are] using Os rather than zeros. There’sactuallya
[community] phone book here called the 479O. …You can see it
as they’re writing and talking it through. (Cathy)
Assessment for learning [Using Show and Tell] showed me clearly who did understand and
who didn’t…to see if they’d grasped that concept or not. (Mary)
Mathematical communication There was a bit of wrangling going on working [the answer] out.
They had to negotiate the different ways of doing it. (Angela)
Mathematical language Like the language they use is quite interesting isn’t it, because all
of a sudden I’m like…they hear, you know, the teacher’s
Tools and representations It was good to use Show and Tell for the mini-lesson. You’ve got
a good starting point and then actually get the playdough out
and practically do it …some people also may get
[the understanding] through that playdough, some people may get
it through [the mini-lesson] and reinforce it or the other
way round. (Cathy)
Teacher knowledge When you’re recording yourself and you want to show links,
listening to it actually improves the way you explain and
140 N. Ingram et al.
the students’thinking became visible and could be used as one source of evidence of
their current understanding (assessment for learning). The best lessons were those
where the students got ‘stuck’because of the rich dialogue, reflection and decision-
making process that resulted. The recordings of students’work and the sharing of
solution strategies formed the basis of further valuable dialogue, including whole-class
discussions (building on students’thinking).
The teachers made informed decisions about when they used, and did not use, Show
and Tell to meet the students’learning needs (tools and representations). The teachers’
pedagogical practices were enhanced (teacher knowledge) because they reflected on
their teaching and used fine-grained knowledge of the students’understanding to make
decisions about next learning steps. In particular, viewing the recordings of the
students’solution strategies contributed to teachers’planning for the following lessons.
Research question 3: what considerations are needed to integrate the use of Show
and Tell into mathematics programmes?
In answering the research question, we considered the data anew, with a focus on the
considerations that were needed to integrate the use of Show and Tell into mathematics
programmes. Initially, individual issues were identified, and then, they were
considered to see whether they could be grouped into broader themes. While all
the teachers were excited about using Show and Tell, and positive about the
effects it had on student learning, they identified a number of issues and factors
that need to be considered when using it in the classroom. The first issue that
needed to be considered was the choice of app to use, while secondary considerations
were related to technical issues, or issues associated to learning to use the Show and Tell
Two teachers trialled iExplain on Microsoft Surfaces, and the other teachers trialled
Educreations, Show Me, and Explain Everything on iPads. Due to software updates,
the individual features of the apps changed, even during the research period. However,
each teacher identified criteria, against which a potential Show and Tell app would be
assessed. Based on the criteria the individual teachers identified, it appeared that a
student or teacher using a Show and Tell app needed to be able to:
&Write using finger or text and record voice simultaneously;
&Record audible voices within a busy classroom environment;
&Copy and paste a question or photo onto the touch screen;
&Work over multiple pages;
&Playback the recording;
&Pause and re-wind during the playback of the recording;
&Link with the main screen of the classroom;
&Save and share the recording;
&Have the option to keep recordings private;
&Create a template to save for future use; and
&Edit recorded work.
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 141
While a number of these requirements are technical in nature (e.g. recording voices
within a classroom environment), many are based on the teachers’beliefs regarding
how the technology could be used effectively to enhance students’learning. For
example, the need to be able to save and share the recording is due to the teachers’
desire to be able to revisit and reflect on students’work, either with students or for their
own professional development. In line with Larkin (2014) work, then, these criteria are
both technical and pedagogical. They do not have the content element identified by
Larkin, but this is a feature of the nature of the app, rather than an oversight.
Technical and contextual issues
All of the teachers wanted more tablets, if not one for each student, at least a group set.
Even then, there were issues.
I’ve got six iPads, and 30 children. That was the biggest struggle because I
wanted to use them more, so I had to timetable the way I used them. I had to
become more creative. (Helen)
How and where to store recordings over time also arose as an issue that needed to be
considered. The teachers wanted to keep many of the mini-lessons and modelling
books that they and the students had created for future use. Background noise could be
a problem, although the teachers were surprised by how well they were able to capture
students’voices. There were occasionally times when the student could not hear the
recorded voice when playing back in class or when there was too much background
noise to isolate the voice of the person being recorded.
Learning how to use Show and Tell
Nine of the 20 teachers who received the professional development chose not to
continue to participate in this research. This is a significant number, and their reasons
for this need to be considered. Generally, it appeared to be due to timing. It was the
fourth term in the school year, and several of them were simply over-committed. For
Jenny, however, the decision not to take part was more complex than that.
We had that lovely long introduction and all the background and so I was quite
enthused but when it came to sitting down and thinking how is this going to work
for my wee guys, because I’ve got year 1 and 2 s …it became an extra thing,
rather than something that I could envisage using alongside what I’m doing at the
Jenny was a beginning teacher with little experience with using technology in the
classroom, so she needed more support and time to integrate technology into the
classroom. As teachers become more familiar and competent with how the technology
works, they can become more creative with how it can be integrated into the teaching
and learning programme (Goos et al. 2000). She was also the only teacher involved at
her school. She may have been more comfortable if she were part of a working group
where teachers who had been using it shared their experiences and provided concrete
142 N. Ingram et al.
examples. Of the teachers who continued with the Show and Tell trial, all found the
professional development useful, but the main way they learned was through their own
exploration. Learning with and from the students in the classroom was highly benefi-
cial. Talking to other teachers who were also learning to use Show and Tell was useful
for the teachers who were at the same school.
Perhaps even more so than their teachers, the students did not need much more than
a brief introduction to the use of the Show and Tell app, even for those students who did
not regularly use tablets in the mathematics classroom.
I just threw it at them and let them have a wee play and they went for it. Then
they taught each other …and [me]. (Angela)
What took more time was encouraging the students to think aloud and to share their
work, and this took time to evolve.
I wanted them to explain how they got there, not just the answer …So that took a
wee bit for them …to make sure they’re not just giving the answers. (Angela)
With encouragement and practice, the students became ‘actually not too bad at
explaining their thinking’(Olive). Cathy, Angela and Jennifer felt that their students
were comfortable to record their thinking because of the intimate personal interface and
‘because they were not feeling harassed’(Jennifer). Over time, too, the students became
more willing to share their work with other students or the whole class.
[The students] were way more willing to share …and were disappointed if they
didn’t get to show their thinking …you don’t normally get [that], but it’sbecause
it’s them talking but they’re not actually having to talk to the group…it’sa
removed way of getting feedback in class, like yes I’monthere,butI’mnot
standing up there giving you the answer. (Helen)
The technical and pedagogical considerations identified by the teachers in this study
are important, but they do not detract from the overall success of the trial. In terms of its
impact on teachers’pedagogical practices, students’learning and engagement in the
classroom, Show and Tell is well worth the time and energy it takes to integrate it
within classroom practices.
Discussion relating to the main challenges
As noted earlier, Goos et al. 2010 identified three key challenges associated with the
effective use of technology in mathematics teaching: institutional contexts, teacher
characteristics and professional development. Each of these was apparent, to at least
some degree, in this research. The key challenge teachers faced in terms of the
institutional context concerned access to the technology, with all teachers wanting
more tablets. They also noted that issues arose around storage of recordings. While
all teachers appeared to recognise the potential value of the use of the Show and Tell
apps, the level of importance they placed on it varied. Several teachers already had
activities planned for the term and did not prioritise trialling the use of Show and Tell
Using tablet technology to engage students in mathematics 143
apps. Teachers’level of experience and confidence also influenced whether or not it
was used; one of the beginning teachers found it difficult to envision how she could
effectively use the apps within her context. In contrast, another was able to implement
the apps in a range of ways. The professional development was seen as useful, although
teachers generally appeared to find their own exploration of and experimentation with
the apps, and ongoing discussions with colleagues and their students, more useful than
the one-off formal professional development.
This study aimed to evaluate the use of Show and Tell to determine whether it was able
to support teachers to enact effective pedagogy in mathematics, as indicated by their
perceptions of the level and quality of students’engagement. From teachers’responses,
it was clear that they felt that using Show and Tell apps had a positive effect on all
aspects of students’engagement. These teachers believed students were generally more
engaged with the mathematics. They also reported that students remained focused for
longer periods of time whether they were working independently or with others.
In particular, they felt students’cooperation and reflection skills were enhanced
because of the dialogue generated while using Show and Tell. While acknowl-
edging that some of this could be attributed to the novelty of using technology,
in line with previous studies (e.g. Attard and Curry 2012; Haydon et al. 2012).
teachers reported that students also appeared to be engaged, in multiple ways,
with their mathematics learning.
The teachers in this study engaged their students as they integrated Show and Tell
into their mathematics lessons. They did this through making changes to their class-
room practices. In this way, Show and Tell enabled the teachers to enact effective
pedagogy. The teachers made decisions if, when and how Show and Tell could be used
to enhance students’learning within a lesson. They identified features that were
necessary for Show and Tell apps to be effective within a mathematics classroom, as
well as identifying a number of considerations that impact upon their use. In line with
Goos et al. (2010). challenges identified in this research were generally related to
context and resourcing, teacher characteristics or to learning how to use Show and Tell.
In this study, the teachers cautioned that good teaching remains the principal factor
contributing to the success of students’mathematical learning. Show and Tell is only
one of many tools in a teacher’s‘arsenal’(Cathy). Further caution regarding these
results relates to the fact that only 11 teachers across eight schools in New Zealand
trialled the use of Show and Tell apps; therefore, the results are only an indication of
what may occur in other contexts. Despite this, and consistent with Clark and Luckin
(2013) review of wider research into the integration of iPads in classrooms, the results
were overwhelmingly positive and this study highlights the potential use of Show and
Tell technology with tablets. Show and Tell seems particularly useful for mathematics
because it enables emphasis to be placed on thinking, dialogue, cooperation and
reflection. Sharing thinking was already an important part of mathematics lessons in
these classrooms; using Show and Tell emphasised this importance. Show and Tell
enables students to represent the problem visually and records them as they negotiate,
change their mind and make sense of the problem in order to understand the
144 N. Ingram et al.
mathematical operations that are needed. It records the moments of their decisions and
allows the students to embrace and relish the confusion of problem-solving. Mostly, it
seems, using Show and Tell reinforces that mathematical learning is social and situated
within the practices of the mathematics classroom.
This paper captures the students only a few weeks into their introduction to the use
of Show and Tell. Attard and Curry (2012) called for longitudinal studies into the use of
mobile technologies, and the need for a longer study of the use of Show and Tell in
these classrooms is no exception. By further capturing the use of Show and Tell, factors
such as the novelty value, storage and longer-term learning benefits of using Show and
Tell will be able to be more accurately assessed. Further potential affordances will need
evaluation, such as the use of the playbacks to inform parents, training for student
teachers and moderation processes.
Acknowledgments We would like to express our warm thanks to the teachers involved in the research
project for their creativity and the time they spent in implementing Show and Tell in their classroom. We
would also like to thank the Division of Humanities, University of Otago, for their contribution towards this
project with the awarding of the Humanities Research Grant.
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