Integrating Technology to Enhance 'Building Thinking Classrooms' Strategies

With the influx of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that can solve any math problem, teachers look for ways to move beyond memorization and repetitive calculations in math classrooms. ’Building Thinking classrooms’ by Peter Liljedahl transforms math classrooms with strategies such as thinking tasks, vertical non-permanent surfaces, student autonomy, and shifts in note taking and homework. Teachers love seeing students working in groups standing up at white boards and often ask, where is the tech? Let's explore options.


Students standing up at a white board solving a math problem
Solving math problems on vertical non permanent spaces

Group Problem Solving at White Boards

Students standing up at whiteboards solving problems in groups is a powerful strategy. Each group member has a different color marker and takes on a different role in problem solving process. 

Technology Integration Tip 1: Reflect on Problems Solved in Groups

  • Students take pictures of their task once they solved it.
  • Students annotate a photo of the problem they solved together in class highlighting steps to solution
  • Students annotate a photo of the problem they solved together in class and add academic vocabulary (proportion, ratio, integer, etc.)
  • Students create a video or voice memo of themselves describing how they solved their problem
  • Students create a screen recording of themselves narrating the picture they took of their task and explain their role in the problem solving process.

Technology Integration Tip 2: Shifting from Note Taking to Note Making

Liljedahl also suggests the strategy of shifting from note taking (copying notes off the board) to note making where synthesis, reflection and application occurs.

Consider asking students to;

  • Reflect on problem solving strategies
  • Identify the steps to solution
  • Set goals for next steps learning
  • Check for understanding
  • Document facts, information or steps to remember
  • Identify areas for growth

This can be done digitally in a casual manner using any tool such as Pages, Freeform, Keynote or Numbers. You can also make this task accessible by allowing students to write, create voice memos, create videos, or draw. If you want to take this one step further, consider creating a template for students to complete. See sample below.


Sample keynote slide of a note making process using Keynote. There are four quadrants with sample student responses.
Sample assignment for reflection and synthesis where students make meaning of mathematics.

Engaging students in thinking tasks and allowing them to share their synthesis and reflection with a choice of tools for expression, teachers provide students the opportunity to share their understanding of math in an engaging way. Helping students focus on process over product, allows for metacognition and ownership of learning.

What are some ways you use technology for synthesizing and reflecting on critical thinking?



2 replies

July 13, 2024


This is a wonderful idea! I particularly like the annotation and reflection aspects of your work.

Many math teachers will find this helpful.

Thanks for sharing.

July 13, 2024

Synthesizing and reflecting on critical thinking are important skills in all disciplines. These mathematics tips are super helpful in providing educators with a variety of ways to achieve these skills. Thanks for the post and ideas Julie!

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