Thursday, May 3, 2012

#Edchat Experience

I have not had the opportunity to participate in a specific educational chat for the second time. I have observed and briefly participated in many and throughout the day on #edchat, but have not had the chance to fully engage in the conversation. So, as the semester comes to an end, I have decided to reflect upon my various experiences on the different educational chats.

Throughout my experiences, I would say the most beneficial aspect that I have noticed about the chat is the amount of resources that I am able to steal from other people. I really enjoy reading other's tweets and the resources that go along with it, and then if I believe it is a valuable resource I will bookmark it in Diigo. I am not sure I have the time to look at all of the resources I have come across but they are bookmarked in my Diigo for later when I have time.

I do also enjoy the atmosphere of #edchat. At first I was somewhat nervous about participating and putting myself out there, but after a while I began to feel more comfortable. I suppose I have realized that most of the people participating are in a similar situation as I am, and they simply want to collaborate and discuss educational topics just as I do. It also helps when you know nothing about anyone else, and you are just having a discussion educator to educator.

Overall, I am very excited and anxious to be able to participate in more #edchats, whether it be #edchat, #mathchat, #ntchat, and many others.

Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers

          From seeing other videos from Conrad Wolfram and on the TED (Conrad Wolfram: Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers) webpage, I was very interested in watching Wolfram’s video on Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers. In the video, Wolfram provides reasons for why math education should be using computers and technology throughout the curriculum. He begins by saying there are three reasons why math is important to teach: one, technical jobs; two, everyday living; three, logical mind training. He also answers the question:
           Wolfram points out that math education today is focused more than ever on the third point, computation. However, in today’s society there are computers to do this for us. He continues to argue that our focus, as math educators, should be on the other three steps. We should be getting out students to understand how to ask the right questions and formulate math problems and then interpret the results, something a computer is not as useful for. 

           I completely agree with Wolfram in this video. It is an ongoing topic in today’s world of math education. The main reason computation has been greatly stressed in education is because there used to never be such a resource like computers to be able to do the computation for us. Within the last couple decades, we certainly have reached this “math liberation”, as Wolfram says. Where tedious calculations can be made with a computer rather than by hang.  We should be teaching our students how to use the computer to make computations, while also teaching them about the concepts of mathematics. 

           I’ve discussed this concept with many math educators, that have similar opinions about the direction math education should be going. I suppose my next question would be to all of you is if this is our new goal in math education then how do we, as teachers, begin to implement such a curriculum? There is much more to this particular video that Wolfram discusses and I suggest watching the entire video in the link above.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Math Methods Comes to an End

EDSS 543 A&B

Our last math methods course was last night and I did not think about it being the last class until we completed an activity at the very end of the class.

The activity we did, all 7 of us prestigious math teachers, was to write on the board everything we could remember about the entire year in the course. It was an enjoyable activity that brought about many memories, fun and not so fun. Around this blog are pictures of what we wrote.
Overall, it got met thinking about how great of a class this was. The teacher was great and very fun to learn from, Dr. Brian Lawler. I wish I could spend more time in discussion with him about teaching and mathematics. There is truly so much to learn from him. My colleagues in class were always enjoyable to be around and have conversations with about teaching mathematics. I feel I have learned so much from just taking this one class. 

Last night, I also presented an ignite speech to our class. Of course, if you know me and are a math nerd, you all know my presentation would be on Geometer's Sketchpad and it was. Some background it was a 5-minute timed presentation, each slide had to automatically progress to the next every 15 seconds. My presentation was a very good end to this entire year. It was so much fun! I sadly do not have the presentation readily available at this moment, but I will promise you that I will post it as soon as I can!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Geometer's Sketchpad Video

Why use Geometer's Sketchpad in the classroom? -- video

Above is a link I found that shows a video based around Geometer's Sketchpad and why it is useful for learning in the classroom. I enjoy this program and believe it could be put to very good use. The video reviews how it can be useful for shapes, but there are also many other tools it has for students to explore mathematics. Hope you enjoy the video.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Small World Situation

One of my cooperating teachers is Mr. Bob Swan at Escondido High School. We got to talking and figured out that his son and I were in the same K1 class at Rock Springs Elementary School in Escondido, CA. I am always amazed by small world situations that happen in life. I am so glad I ended up where I am today. So, I wanted to share the picture with all of you. I am the cute girl in the pink and blue outfit second row, middle and his son, Matt Swan, is the blonde boy in the top row, middle of the row.

The Need for Collaboration

Sitting here, quiet, in my classroom during this week of CST testing has got me thinking about how collaborating and talking with others should be an essential part of student learning. I sit here and try to think of ideas and work on lesson plans for my up coming units and I get some things accomplished, but I am seldom satisfied with the work I complete. I am not yet positively certain that what I have thought of is the best idea for my classroom.

During my prep periods, today and other days of this week, I do have the opportunity to talk with my cooperating teachers about my upcoming units. During this time, I feel as though I able to accomplish so much more than if I were to just think to myself about the unit plans. I have the opportunity to ask questions, bounce ideas of them, explain to them my thoughts, and hear their thoughts about my suggestions and the unit.

The time I spend collaborating and talking with my teacher, to me, is obviously 10 times more productive to what I am trying to accomplish. I learn much more from talking to them than spending time alone myself. I may have made this point before, but I also are beginning to believe that it is of great importance in the world of learning.

In comparison to what I am doing and what my students are doing in the classroom I teach in, it may be more similar than different. Currently, I am learning. I am learning how to become an effective teacher and about all of the information that goes along with it. My students are also learning. They are learning how to be an effective mathematician and student. The connection to be made is an obvious one. It is extremely beneficial to me, personally, to be able to talk to others about the information I am learning, therefore when students are learning it could also be very beneficial for them to be able to discuss and collaborate with others.

This was just a thought running through my mind as I sit here, hoping my students do well on their CSTs!