Maths leader explores the power and potential of ClassPad
We’re very excited about the recent launch of ClassPad, our web-based teaching and learning environment comprising the new ClassWiz emulator and dedicated tools for graphing, shape drawing, statistical analysis and more.
As always, we want to get as much feedback on our products as possible from schools, teachers and others on the frontline of education, to ensure we can constantly improve and deliver the most effective technologies.
With that in mind, we sat down with Claire Clay, Lead Practitioner for Maths at Ormiston Academies Trust, to get her thoughts on ClassPad, its key features, benefits and potential applications.
ClassPad is entirely web-based and accessible from anywhere via an internet browser and registered account, with no need to install any software on a physical device.
This, for Claire, is one of its biggest strengths. Since all it needs is internet access, ClassPad can help teachers recoup the time they might otherwise spend on making emulators accessible on individual devices and potentially getting IT support involved.
“I also like the fact that I can have it on my phone, and I can have my phone look like my calculator, which is great,” Claire said. “I think that will be the main reason that a lot of teachers will use ClassPad to start with.”
Its web-based nature means the platform is also available to students who use tablets, allowing the emulator to effectively function as a larger, more accessible version of a handheld calculator.
With the introduction of ClassPad, we hope to open up a range of opportunities and benefits for teachers and students, encompassing everything from lesson planning to finding new ways to tackle key topics in the classroom.
On the subject of planning lessons, one particularly useful feature of the software is its sticky notes functionality. This allows you to highlight significant pieces of information and resources such as learning objectives, definitions, uploaded images and questions.
“You can have various elements of your lesson all in one place,” Claire explained. “You’ve got the ability to place separate sticky notes all over your ClassPad, so you can keep scrolling down the page, adding more to it, then you can save that as a lesson that reflects your thought process.”
Live modelling is also possible. As well as planning lessons in advance, you can use ClassPad to explore any interesting questions that arise in real time, and make every piece of new information easily visible to the entire class.
Claire contextualised how ClassPad can help shape lessons with the example of a trainee teacher she recently observed, who took advantage of the fact that he could display the emulator to the entire class by asking students to tell him what to do next on the calculator to get the right answer.
For teachers looking for ways to engage students in the classroom and encourage them to explore topics independently, ClassPad offers some powerful advantages.
“You can upload a sticky note with a GCSE question, for example, and then have the emulator right next to it, which is really nice because students can clearly see what you’re doing,” Claire noted.
“The more we show students how to use the calculator, the more likely they are to pick it up and use it themselves.”
ClassPad can also unlock interesting routes into new topics and provide inspiration when you’re looking for different approaches to key parts of the curriculum.
The graphing functionality, for instance, enables you to introduce classes to the power of visualisation for understanding and analysing different types of equations.
Claire offered the example of adding two functions to a table, plotting the data on a graph and asking students to examine where the lines cross, thereby giving them an entry point into simultaneous equations.
While the inbuilt ClassWiz emulator is likely to be one of the most attractive and useful features of ClassPad for many teachers, Claire pointed out that the platform has a lot more to offer than this, including:
- Number lines for calculating inequalities
- Geometry software to measure and explore angles and their properties
- Tools for formulating and investigating sequences (which could be particularly useful for those using calculators that don’t have this functionality)
Crucially, ClassPad provides access to all of these applications in a single location, which could prove to be a major advantage for busy teachers looking to save time wherever they can.
“It offers real time-saving benefits because it’s all in one place and there’s no need to switch across platforms,” Claire said.
If you’re interested in learning more about ClassPad, take a look at our FAQs, which cover the most important aspects of the software and how you can access and use it.
You can also request a licence code to start seeing the benefits of ClassPad in your school straight away.