Writing Mathematics Online

Colleen Young:

Although this post concerns writing Mathematics – you could of course use these tools for any subject. There are some really useful tools for collaboration here – or some simple tools for pehaps just sharing a diagram.

Originally posted on Mathematics, Learning and Web 2.0:

I first wrote a post on the available tools online some considerable time ago and the post has been one of the most popular on this blog since then – time for a revisit and an update.

Something I use a lot. I should explain my requirements - I want tools to communicate Mathematics online, perhaps to give some model solutions or answer students’ questions. Writing mathematics can be a pain (and yes I know about LaTeX). Note that there are various possibilities – sometimes just a static picture is required, sometimes you may want to display how to solve a problem in stages as in my first example here, or perhaps you require a collaborative space. You will also need to consider if you want the examples to be permanent or whether you just want a collaborative space for discussion. A graphics tablet is essential.

There are as always several…

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By Colleen Young

Christmas 2013

Some Christmas suggestions: Starting with TES, Christmas resources are available for all subjects and ages, browse for primary or secondaryNote the various search options, if you search by Key Stage you can then search by subject.

Christmas ImagesSuppose you want some Christmas images; do you know how to search for copyright free images? This is the result of a search for Christmas images which are free to use or share. Note that you should still check any attribution requirements and of course it is always courteous to attribute the creator of any image.

You may want to create some art work of your own. Perhaps try these online drawing / art tools.

Storybird - Carmella's Christmas
Storybird – Carmella’s Christmas

Perhaps write your own story with Storybird, there are many lovely Christmas images you can use – just drag your chosen art onto the pages and write your story! (For more on Storybird see this page.)

Christmas fontsIf you are creating any resources yourself you might want to install some Christmas fonts! (shown here: christmas lights,Christmas tree christmas tree and kingthings christmas). Windows users can find instructions on installing fonts here. If you would like some clip art as well you could modify the search mentioned above for images. Note that you can specify the type of image you would like – changing that to clip art gives these results.

Try Padlet – a collaborative online noticeboard where you can invite people to add a sticky note. Note that you can set up your wall so that any comments require moderation.

Try looking up ‘Christmas’ on some of the excellent resources on this vocabulary page. Perhaps try a visual dictionary or look it up in Wordnic. On the subject of vocabulary, why not create some Christmas word clouds?

Nrich - secondary advent calendar

Nrich – secondary advent calendar

You will find a whole collection of advent calendars on Nrich and clearly the year doesn’t matter! Calendars are available for all ages. Note the different themes available – a Sudoku for each day perhaps? Or a tangram? Maybe you want to play a game? 

If you want to create your own advent calendar you could start with this PowerPoint on TES Resources. This has been created for Mathematics but you could easily change the questions and answers to suit any subject or age.

For any Mathematics teachers reading this you will find some mathematical Christmas activities here.

By Colleen Young


The Moodle page has been updated with some useful links to documentation and videos. Note the clear video from HRDNZ on uploading files.

Video adding files

Note that you can easily add mutiple files, simply create a folder of files on your computer.
Right click on your folder and select Send to – Compressed (zipped) folder.
On your Moodle course you can then add a file and select your zipped folder.

If you upload your file to a folder on Moodle you can choose to unzip the file.


By Colleen Young

Mathematics – Desmos Graphing Calculator

Try selecting the image and experiment with the sliders.

For an outstanding (free) online graphing calculator which is very easy to use try the Desmos Graphing Calculator.
This is something I use regularly in the classroom. Graphs can easily be shared so I have created many graphs for my students.
For many more examples see this page on my Mathematics blog.

By Colleen Young


From TED who provide free and inspiring video talks comes a new education initiative: TED-Ed, a series of videos on ‘lessons worth sharing’. New videos will be added regularly to the Ted-Ed YouTube Channel. The introductory video explains TED’s aims.

By Colleen Young

ifttt – if this then that

To use ifttt’s own description you can use ifttt to create tasks with the following structure: when something happens (this) then do something else (that).

I think this is best illustrated with some of the recipes that I use.

I really like my Kindle and using an ifttt task I now get an automatic email when a new book is added to the top 100 free ebooks.

I have various Gmail tasks, for example if I star an email it is automatically sent to Evernote.

Always liking the idea of a backup plan – all my Diigo bookmarks are sent automatically to Evernote (I also have Diigo set up to send the bookmarks to Delicious!)

There are numerous channels to use as building blocks for tasks.

You can use the numerous supplied recipes as a basis for your own tasks or create tasks from scratch. Ifttt has worked flawlessly since I started using it  - I am very impressed!

By Colleen Young


Evernote is an outstanding application for capturing just about anything you want from wherever you want and finding it again! The Evernote search facility is awesome (here’s why), even when I don’t tag resources all that well, Evernote finds them again! I would recommend it for both teachers and students and have included it on the organisation page of the student version of this site.

Create a note using a phone or any web browser or use a desktop application. See this link for a short introductory video and a video library with many helpful tutorials. Evernote have also created a clear guide to getting started.

As a teacher I use Evernote all the time and have a notebook for each class I teach as well as numerous other notebooks. I also use Evernote shared notebooks as a way of sharing information, for example see Mathematics videos, QR codes and very appropriately some Evernote links! Having used a shared notebook to share some useful resources with students at school, some students then created their own accounts.

The free version of Evernote is excellent and more than adequate for millions of users!