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Using technology

The use of web-based media provides learners with opportunities to create or manipulate on-screen representations of patterns in ways that are not possible with traditional materials. By using such media, students can test out their ideas and hypotheses and build more robust understandings of patterns.

Some sites provide little more than an attractive drawing or construction medium and require as much teacher input as using concrete materials. Other sites are interactive and provide instant feedback, sometimes with sound, on whether student input was correct.

For demonstrations, web-based media may be displayed on an interactive whiteboard or on a screen via a data projector. Students can also work in small groups on the interactive whiteboard or in pairs with computers.

Other valuable electronic resources include iPhone apps (seen in the YouTube video Life of George), programmable robots (see Bee-Bots) and even the humble calculator (see, for example, Looking for Calculator Patterns on the Illuminations website).

Electronic resources have a special appeal for today's learners and can therefore promote increased student engagement and motivation. But they should not replace hands-on experiences. Good teaching combines digital with concrete resources.

Examples of ICT resources

There are many web-based resources available that enable students to create, copy, continue and manipulate a variety of patterns. Here are some examples of the various types.