When I was in Year 4 at school, we had a teacher who every day would play the 'Beat the Calculator' game. He would ask us a times table question and we had to answer it before he could type it into a calculator. I was hooked! It was this one game that made me endlessly practice and perfect my knowledge of times tables. It is still a challenge today to get children to instantly recall different number facts.
Today with children being exposed to so much more technology, calculators may not bring the WOW factor that it once did. One thing that does captivate children is the ever impressive 'Siri.'
Siri is a "computer program that works as an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator. The feature uses a natural language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Web services."
In essence, by holding the home button for a couple of seconds you can orally ask a question and Siri will try and answer it... it has been around for a few years now but is still very cool!
I read this lovely story about how Siri helped a boy with autism and it got me thinking about other ways in which to use Siri in the classroom.
Students tend to be very impressed by how fast and accurate Siri usually is. Just explain that Siri is a system Apple have spent years developing and consider it to be one of the most advanced and intelligent programs in the world. Wouldn't it be great if children could beat it and be faster?
Ask the children or child to try and answer the questions quicker than Siri can display it on the screen.
Talk the question into Siri and see if children can either write it on their whiteboards or orally answer before Siri displays the correct answer.
This creates a brilliant mental/oral starter for Maths lessons ask any calculation can be spoken into Siri - addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.
There are plenty of other ways in which this idea can be used and I would love to hear if anyone does anything different with Siri. Please do tweet or post it to my facebook wall.