Friday, April 5, 2013

Is a "tipping point" in math learning no longer a dream?

Most of you who follow this blog are probably aware that I believe my vision of math 2.0 is no longer a fantasy, but a reality that is doable through the commitment of inspired educators who with the help of powerful technological applications can hoist a learning revolution never seen before. The first step in such a revolution is having the technological infrastructure so that all students have access to the technology. My friend and colleague Joshua Koen, the technology director at a committed urban school district in Passaic, NJ have taken the first steps in that direction. He calls it a tipping point a phrase coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book "The Tipping Point" which he describes in this video as: "It's a moment in which something explodes, something changes shape. It's that moment of critical mass where everything changes all at once." With the technology in place (1-1 computing with Chromebooks for grades 7-12) the Passaic Schools now have the opportunity to fully embrace a paradigm that focuses more on learning and where teaching and learning are indistinguishable. 

A recent Edutopia article "How to Make your Classroom a Thinking Space" reminded me of the importance of classroom environment as one of the cornerstones* of my Dynamic Classroom model which is the essence of Math 2.0. 
"Take a moment and imagine a creative work environment. Don't worry about the kind of work going on. Just focus on the space. Close your eyes and picture it. What is that space like? What does it sound like? How are people interacting? Is there movement? Is there evidence of work in progress? Is it tidy, or busy-messy? Can you imagine working there?"
To make your classroom work for you the authors suggest the following:
  • Fine-tune the physical environment for PBL (Project Based Learning)
  • Make a place for independent, partner and small-group work.
  • Reimagine who the stuff belongs to.
  • Make for a conversational classroom.
  • Student presentations should be the norm.
  • Encourage hands-on, minds-on creative thinking by providing tools for tinkering.
  • Skype with other schools on collaborative projects.
  • Create a video booth to capture student reflections.
In closing the authors write:

"What's on Your Wish List?

Teachers model creative thinking when they find workarounds or inexpensive fixes to make their classrooms more conducive to project work. They also model collaboration if they enlist parent volunteers and other community members to help. Put your creativity to work by imagining how you might improve your classroom environment to invite good thinking. What belongs on your PBL wish list? How might you make it happen?"
*The others are curriculum, resources, teaching, learning and assessing. See my blog entries for more about math 2.0 and the dynamic math classroom:
cc blog 132

No comments:

Post a Comment