Thursday, May 8, 2014

Accolades to NCTM for Tools and Technology Addition in Final Form

In the original draft of the Principles to Action that was available for review this statement appeared on page 81 of the Tools and Technology section:
"While non-mathematical technologies and tools (e.g., word processing, presentation, and communications software) have a role in the mathematics classroom (Cohen & Hollebrands, 2011), they provide a more supportive role and do not have the direct potential to promote student reasoning, sense making, and mathematical thinking found in mathematical action technologies."
In the final version (now available from NCTM in book & eBook form) which I highly recommend purchasing*, the paragraph above was replaced with the following on page 79-80:
"Non-mathematical technologies and tools (e.g., word processing, presentation software, and communications applications)  can also support interactions in the mathematics classroom (Cohen & Hollebrands, 2011). For example, student responses to an interactive poll can be quickly gathered through the use of either a dedicated clicker system or applications on a range of mobile device platforms, to provide teachers with informative information that may help guide instruction.  Interactive whiteboards, document cameras, and web-based presentation applications can help students communicate their thinking to classmates and receive constructive feedback. Students sharing of work can occur beyond the boundaries of the face-to-face classroom through the use of secure Web-based platforms to post and comment on student-made podcasts, digital images of student work, and student presentation files. Students might use text messaging, cloud-based shared documents, virtual whiteboards, blogs, or wikis to collaborate on mathematical problems within the school or with students in other states or provinces or even countries (Rochelle et al. 2010). By making use of these electronic tools, students have a greater sense of ownership of the mathematics their learning, since the applications promote a sense of shared enterprise in the learning of mathematics. 
Finally, a wide variety of web-based resources support the teaching and learning of mathematics. Teachers are increasingly using personal and shared pages to organize and categorize the resources they find most useful. These lists allow them to quickly locate resources that they have found useful in the past and share these with others through social media. Their capacity to do this represents, in a sense the virtual opening of the classroom door to allow for collaboration among classrooms and teachers. Furthermore teachers can organize shared pages to enhance communication with their students and their students’ parents or caregivers."
Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All
(2014: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Reston, VA. p. 79-80)

Thank you NCTM for making the chapter on Tools and Technology relevant to today's Web 2.0 world!

*the eBook version is available for $4.99 ($3.99 if you are a member).

Wanna do Games, STEM and Mr. K

At this week's Global Math Department session, Tim Kubinak shared something "outrageous" that he does with his students on Fridays. He let's them play games for up to 45 minutes. The actual time depends on how well their group did on their math during the week. What games and why? "Let's face it," Tim said, "We're not good at teaching problem solving. We're good at teaching them to solve problems, but not problem solving. If we want to teach them problem solving, we have to exploit their interests. And that's what games do for kids." For that reason Tim makes available a variety of player games for his students. The main goal is to learn problem solving with a STEM theme. He calls it PYG (Play Your Games) which is a gameplay program designed to exploit the interests of students, within the context of reinforcing STEM methodology and problem solving acuity. Students work in groups of three. The amount of time that students are engaged in these activities is determined by results on these quizzes.

Tim has assembled an ecletic collection of playergames, hand held devices, MaKey MaKey touch pads and BYODs as part of his platform for teaching problem solving. Time frame is usually 8:15-9:00 when groups meet to get their equipment for game play. They check on the chart to see how much time is allotted to their group. They are also responsible for filling out the PYG sheet which has instructions for helping them make their session productive.

Though I do the question the method used to determine time for playing (the high scorers get the most time), Tim treats it as a game and I'm sure the kids are motivated to do better on the next grading period so they get more time the following Friday.

The open time for game playing with appropriate rubrics is an appealing way to engage students.

To learn more about Tim's class listen to his webinar at GMD.