Common Sense Review
Updated September 2015

Geoboard, by The Math Learning Center

Digital take on classic math tool has cool features, needs more depth
Common Sense Rating 3
  • Kids can use different colored bands to create shapes.
  • A circular board is useful for exploring fractions and angles.
  • An option for displaying numbers on the grids is helpful when kids explore measurements like area and perimeter.
  • A math text tool allows users to display equations directly on the board.
  • Kids can copy and then rotate or flip shapes.
Pros
Geoboards present great opportunities for learning about a variety of math content.
Cons
There's no built-in learning content.
Bottom Line
The app might be useful for teachers who don’t want to -- or don’t have resources to -- invest in traditional geoboards.
Mieke VanderBorght
Common Sense Reviewer
Researcher
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 3

Design is clean and straightforward. The possibilities for use are pretty limited; it may be fun at first to build different shapes, but without any depth to that experience, it could get old quickly. 

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

It's an electronic version of a real geoboard with options for flipping and rotating. There aren't any suggestions for extending learning to another context.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

There's a help screen with illustrated directions, but the app doesn't give any instruction. There aren't any suggestions for how to extend learning beyond the digital experience, and there's no option to save creations.

About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

If your class is already using iPads, and if you've already planned to use geoboards, then this might be a simple solution. Just as with real geoboards, kids can work individually or in groups to create shapes. As a teacher, you can project your virtual geoboard onto a screen for whole-class demonstrations and instruction. Teachers will have to add their own lessons and learning activities to this app, as nothing is built in. For example, teachers could use the virtual geoboard to explore area but will have to provide all the instruction necessary to teach this concept. But the numbered grids, drawing tools, and math text tool are useful for modeling these concepts with the app. If you do want students to save their work, have them use the iPad's screen capture function (pressing the power button and home button simultaneously).  

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What's It Like?

Geoboard by The Math Learning Center offers kids a virtual geoboard on which they can wrap bands around pegs to build and contort shapes. In the iPad version, kids can choose from a small board (with widely spaced pegs) or a larger board (with pegs that are close together), and grid lines on the boards can be displayed with numbers to help kids calculate area and perimeter. There is also an option for a circular board so kids can explore angles, fraction models, and time measurements.  There are eight band colors to choose from (or five, for other platforms), and the colors can be changed even after they are used on the board. Kids can copy and move shapes around the board to explore concepts like symmetry, transformations, and congruency.  Drawing tools for annotations and a math text tool for incorporating equations are useful for instruction. An information page gives some basic instruction for use and offers two links for further geoboard exploration. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

A geoboard is a great tool for learning about a number of topics: geometry, area, perimeter, angles, fractions, symmetry, and more. However, Geoboard by The Math Learning Center isn't much more than a digital version; it misses a real opportunity to offer all sorts of possible teaching and learning content. Kids can shade the shapes they build, but there’s no discussion or suggestion about why this option is useful or what kids can learn from shading their shapes. It would also be great if the app could help kids calculate the perimeter and area of shapes that they've created.  The numbered grids are great for doing this with squares and rectangles, but formulas for other shapes would be useful. In its current state, the app doesn't allow kids to save or share their creations with others. 

If you're looking for a simple geoboard and a virtual version will suffice, you might find this app useful. However, teachers looking for an in-depth digital learning tool that adds something more to the equation might look elsewhere.

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