What If Students Assigned Their Own Homework?


“Some may say homework is good practice, and practice makes perfect. Others insist homework is unproductive and pointless.

“What benefit is there in doing 20 of the same type of math problem? If students didn’t understand the lesson from the day, not understanding 20 problems may make them feel that math is inaccessible. This is how children begin to struggle in math and decide it’s not for them. And if they did understand the lesson, repeating similar problems is pointless. Worse still, students begin to believe math is boring, irrelevant, a set of mundane rules, and maybe even a waste of time.

“What if homework could be a means for promoting self-efficacy, agency, and motivation to learn? Teaching students to actively pursue knowledge and see it as valuable is critical to their success both in and out of school.” — Margie Pearse, Edutopia

Continue reading the full blog post.

Image Source: Learning & the Brain

Making Mathematics Visible

Math ConnectionsAs a math teacher I would sometimes hear students ask, “When are we going to use this in real life.” I worked hard to provide students with practical experiences and tangible answers to this question as I think doing so helps with transference and engagement. I relied on feedback from my father (an architect, contractor, and farmer) and my friends that work in the areas of engineering, accounting/finance/sales, and healthcare for ideas and real-world examples that I could use in my classroom. I think the students and I would have also enjoyed having examples similar to the ones included in the following video. Amazing!

BEAUTY OF MATHEMATICS from PARACHUTES.TV on Vimeo.

Image Source: alibris.com

hgsepzfol #hgsepzfol

Interest in Math and Science Careers Sparked in Classes Where Learning Is Directed by Students & Supported by Technology

This post is a follow-up to an earlier blog entry about the findings in the Speak Up 2011 report. The following information provides additional insights and comes from a press release from Project Tomorrow.

— — — — —

For Immediate Release
Contact:
Amber Taylor
703-201-4893, amber@sambertaylor.com

Just Nine Percent of Students Describe Their Most Recent Math and Science Classes This Way; More than 40 percent Still Describe Traditional Format

Washington, D.C. – Nearly one-third of high school students who experience math and science classrooms where instruction is led by teachers, learning is directed by students and where technology is used to support both, express a strong interest in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career, according to the latest findings from the 2011 Speak Up survey (View as: HTML, PDF). Nationally, just nine percent of students described their most recent math or science class this way.

Only 20 percent of students in traditional classrooms, where the instruction is teacher directed and the use of technology is limited, expressed the same interest in STEM careers.

“This is the first time we’ve noticed this correlation between the type of math and science instruction and the students’ interest in STEM careers,” said Julie Evans. “For a nation concerned with developing the next generations of scientists, engineers and innovators, this finding should raise some eyebrows.”

When asked to describe their most recent math or science class, the majority of middle and high school students chose one of these three classroom paradigms:

  1. Traditional class with teacher-directed instruction – lectures, textbook assignments, group projects and labs (43 percent)
  2. Traditional class with teacher-directed instruction as in #1, but with some technology used to support instruction (33 percent)
  3. Traditional class with a mix of teacher-directed instruction and student-directed learning and the use of technology tools to support both teachers and students (9 percent)

“For three-quarters of today’s students in grades 6-12, math and science class is still much like it was when we adults were in school: predominately teacher-centered with little or no opportunities for students to direct their own learning, at their own pace, with their own tools,” said Evans.

“Think about that in contrast to what is being called for by the new Common Core Standards for math. The Common Core approach is based on teachers laying out a specific task and inviting the students to dig in and solve the problem using appropriate tools and resources,” explain Evans. “If our schools are able to implement this type of teaching and learning, the potential for interest in math and science should grow.”

These findings can be found in a Speak Up 2012 report, Mapping a Personalized Learning Journey – K-12 Students and Parents Connects the Dots with Digital Learning. That report and more can be accessed here: http://www.tomorrow.org/speakup/2012_PersonalizedLearning.html

This year’s survey findings also show:

  • Significant increase in students’ mobile Internet access outside of school with more than half of all students (urban, suburban and rural) reporting access through 3G/4G mobile devices.
  • Middle and high school students’ access to a personal tablet device doubled from 2010-2011 (26 percent of middle school and 21 percent of high school students now report personal access to a tablet).
  • Students are adopting technologies and then adapting them to support their own self-directed learning (tweeting about academic topics, tutoring other students online, using mobile apps to organize school work, used Facebook as a collaboration tool for classroom projects, etc.).

The 2011 online survey – completed by more than 416,000 K-12 students, parents, teachers, librarians and administrators – offers the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered input on education and technology from those ‘on the ground’ in the schools.

Now in its 9th year, the annual survey about education and technology is facilitated through public, private and charter schools all around the country; every school is eligible to participate. The results provide important insights about education, technology and student aspirations to individual schools, state departments of education and national leaders.

Since 2003, more than 2.6 million K-12 students, educators and parents from more than 35,000 schools in all 50 states have participated in Speak Up. The online survey is facilitated by Project Tomorrow and supported by many of our nation’s most innovative companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations including Blackboard, Inc., DreamBox, Hewlett-Packard, K12, Inc., Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach Initiative, Schoolwires and SMART Technologies.

Project Tomorrow partners with more than 75 different education associations, organizations and think-tanks for outreach to the schools and development of the survey questions including the American Association of School Administrators, Consortium for School Networking, iNACOL, International Society for Technology in Education, National School Boards Association, National Science Digital Library, National Secondary School Principals Association, Southern Regional Education Board and State Education Technology Directors’ Association.

About Project Tomorrow
Speak Up is a national initiative of Project Tomorrow, the nation’s leading education nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that today’s students are well prepared to be tomorrow’s innovators, leaders and engaged citizens of the world. The Speak Up data represents the largest collection of authentic, unfiltered stakeholder input on education, technology, 21st century skills, schools of the future and science instruction. Education, business and policy leaders report use the data regularly to inform federal, state and local education programs. For additional information, visit www.tomorrow.org.

 

Happy Pi Day: Vi Hart Challenges What We Know about Pi

(Repost from 03/14/2011)

Happy Pi Day!

What is Pi Day?
I’m a math educator and I’ve celebrated Pi Day for many, many years. It isn’t the most widely celebrated holiday, so let me explain what it means. Today is March 13, which can also be noted as 3/14. The mathematical notation Pi is rounded to 3.14, so math classrooms around the world celebrate Pi Day today.

Do We Have It All Wrong?
Vi Hart shared this video which challenges what we think we know and understand about Pi.

 

Vi Hart Challenges What We Know about Pi

Happy Pi Day!

What is Pi Day?
I’m a math educator and I’ve celebrated Pi Day for many, many years. It isn’t the most widely celebrated holiday, so let me explain what it means. Today is March 13, which can also be noted as 3/14. The mathematical notation Pi is rounded to 3.14, so math classrooms around the world celebrate Pi Day today.

Do We Have It All Wrong?
Vi Hart shared this video which challenges what we think we know and understand about Pi.

Bill Nye Headlines 2011 Martin Institute Summer Conference

The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence is excited to announce that Bill Nye will be the keynote speaker for the 2011 Summer Conference.

About Bill Nye
Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life. “My family is funny,” he says, “I mean funny in the sense that we make people laugh, not just funny looking.” Bill discovered that he had a talent for tutoring in high school, and while growing up in Washington, DC. He spent afternoons and summers de-mystifying math for his fellow students. When he wasn’t hitting the books, Bill was hitting the road on his bicycle. He spent hours taking it apart to “see how it worked.” <Read More>

Featured Speakers
Other featured speakers at the Summer Conference include Tom Barrett (a.k.a. @tombarrett), 21st century educator from Nottingham, England; Vaija Wagle, Harvard University Project Zero Group Leader; Carol Vukelich, distinguished educator in early literacy; and Tiffany Boyd, literacy coach and consultant with Heinemann Publishing.

Registration
Registration details for the Summer Conference are forthcoming. Sign-up to receive an email notification once registration begins. The 2011 Summer Conference will be held on Wednesday, June 15 and Thursday June 16, 2011, in Memphis, TN, USA.

DEN SciCon 2011 Is This Saturday

(Cross-posted from TN DEN LC Blog)

The Tennessee Discovery Education Network Leadership Council (TN DEN LC) is hosting 3 live events for the DEN SciCon Virtual Conference happening January 22nd! So, no matter where you live in TN, you can attend a live event with relative ease and be part of one of the most fantastic groups of educators anywhere on the planet…the DEN!

So why go to a live event? First, you will get to spend quality time with educators who share the same passions for Discovery and science that you have. Second, there will be live workshops at the events that will not be available to you online. Third (as if you need another reason), the food is on us! And fourth, we will be skyping all three groups together so we can all meet one another across the state!

Join us for all of the event or just part of it. Breakfast and lunch will be provided to registered participants (and this event is FREE)!

Here are the locations and links to register:

Cleveland, TN

Ocoee Middle School

Register at: http://tinyurl.com/38bue6n

Knoxville, TN

West Hills Elementary

Register at: http://tinyurl.com/2b4vuvz

Memphis, TN

St. George’s Independent Schools, Germantown Campus

Register at: http://tinyurl.com/29v9qzw

On site registration begins at 7:30 AM. The first session kicks off promptly at 8:00 AM.

You must pre-register online to attend the live events of the conference. This will help us coordinate room space and food expenses. If you register, but later decide you cannot attend, please contact the coordinator for your event at least 48 hours prior to let him or her know you cannot attend.

This year’s SCIcon will have a special presentation from Reed Timmer, Extreme Meteorologist and TVN team leader, for Discovery Channel’s hit series Stormchasers.

Join thousands of educators from around the world for an amazing day of professional development sessions, networking and sharing.

Agenda (all times CT)

8:00 AM
Opening Keynote

The Five E’s of Inquiry-Based Instruction

Patti Duncan, DEN Guru

9:00 AM

The Student Experience: Engaging and Assessing Young Scientists

Mike Bryant

10:00 AM

Spotlight Session
Real Students, Real Teachers, Real Results: Implementing Discovery Education Science

Cindy Moss, Director of Science and Math, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

11:00 PM

Top Ten Free Science Resources from Discovery Education

Porter Palmer

12:00 PM

Hands-On Digital

Brad Fountain and Lance Rougeux

1:00 PM
Closing Keynote

Into the Storm: Following the Love of Science

Reed Timmer, Extreme Meteorologist

Suggested Reading: STEM Education

Texas Tech alumnus Rick Husband was the final ...
Image via Wikipedia

Overview

“The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The STEM fileds are those academic and professional disciplines that fall under the umbrella areas represented by the acronym. According to both the United States National Research Council and the National Science Foundation, the fields are collectively considered core technological underpinnings of an advanced society. In many forums (including political/governmental and academic) the strength of the STEM workforce is viewed as an indicator of a nation’s ability to sustain itself.”
(Source)


Suggested Reading

STEM at Work: Students become Physicians-in-Training

Where Will Your STEM Education Take You?

NASA Launches STEM Education Video Game

STEM Resources and Discovery Education


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