Hi, my name is David Wees. When I graduated from UBC there were almost no full-time jobs available, so I started my career in Brooklyn, NY in an inner city school. After three years I moved on to London, England, where I had my first experience of the private school system, and then Bangkok, Thailand, where I had my first experience of Asia. I now teach at Stratford Hall which is a small private school on Commercial Drive. I want to talk today about the use of multimedia in the mathematics classroom. After 8 years using various forms of multimedia in my own classroom I've come to the conclusion that every math teacher should be using multimedia in some form. Here's my reasoning.
The problem, I see, with most mathematics instruction, is that we start by choosing the mathematics curriculum we want covered, and then find problems to suit this curriculum. The flaw with this plan is that choosing a compelling problem to fit a particular area of mathematics is really difficult, and many math teachers don't even try. As a result, much of mathematics instruction is lacks motivation in the eyes of the learner.
What I suggest instead is that we look at the world, and we find problems kids find compelling, and then we tease out the mathematics which is relevant to those problems. No kid will ever ask, &quot;why do we need to know this.&quot;
Trees for example have a fractal structure which is worth investigating. It is not hard to see that there is a mathematical formula of some kind which helps determine tree growth, but we can also see the idea of replication errors, and environmental factors that play a role as well.
Something to note: Anyone here know what the Khan Academy is? Here’s a synopsis. Salmir Khan was unemployed and decided that he would start creating these video tutorials online and post them to Youtube. Now his work is watched by students all over the world as they try and understand mathematics and science concepts. He recently received funding from Google to start his non-profit organization which is organizing his videos. They’ve also started creating a way for students to try out exercises associated with his videos and practice the concepts right away. I think the Khan Academy is pretty neat, and I use it as an additional resource with my students. However this isn’t what I would consider to be an example of using multimedia in your classroom. Let’s be clear, multimedia to me means students are engaged and interested in the activity and my students agree with me on this one, the Khan academy is useful, but not interesting.
Let's take a look at some actual uses of multimedia. You can take a boring worksheet and use multimedia to spice it up. So we’ll take a worksheet about finding the equations of lines for example, and we’ll turn it into an exercise where students take a photo, find the lines in the photo and trace over them in dark, cover their picture with graph paper so they can find coordinates, and then work out the coordinates on the lines themselves, then find the equations of the lines. You can do something like this with lots of different topics in mathematics besides equations of lines. Hint: Have students take pictures of things and find the mathematics themselves, or alternatively provide them all with the same image.
Take an ordinary mathematical construct, like a simple reflection, and turn it into a fun mini-project. Here I usually have students choose 3 celebrities and find photos of them on Google Images, download the images and create right and left reflections of their faces.
Take an ordinary mathematical construct, like a simple reflection, and turn it into a fun mini-project. Here I usually have students choose 3 celebrities and find photos of them on Google Images, download the images and create right and left reflections of their faces.
Reason 1: First, the use of multimedia allows our students to develop their creativity & divergent thinking skills. Both creativity and divergent thinking rely on student choice. Sir Ken Robinson, a world renowned expert on education, has this important statement to make about education, “My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” The reason why he considers this skill, and the ability to participate in divergent thinking, is so important is because of our inability to predict what the future will hold. We don’t know what will happen in 5 years except that it may be very different from what is happening now. Our best bet is that people who are innovative & critical thinkers will be able to manage the future better than people who are stuck in the status quo.
Reason 1: First, the use of multimedia allows our students to develop their creativity & divergent thinking skills. Both creativity and divergent thinking rely on student choice. Sir Ken Robinson, a world renowned expert on education, has this important statement to make about education, “My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” The reason why he considers this skill, and the ability to participate in divergent thinking, is so important is because of our inability to predict what the future will hold. We don’t know what will happen in 5 years except that it may be very different from what is happening now. Our best bet is that people who are innovative & critical thinkers will be able to manage the future better than people who are stuck in the status quo.
Reason 1: First, the use of multimedia allows our students to develop their creativity & divergent thinking skills. Both creativity and divergent thinking rely on student choice. Sir Ken Robinson, a world renowned expert on education, has this important statement to make about education, “My contention is that creativity now is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status.” The reason why he considers this skill, and the ability to participate in divergent thinking, is so important is because of our inability to predict what the future will hold. We don’t know what will happen in 5 years except that it may be very different from what is happening now. Our best bet is that people who are innovative & critical thinkers will be able to manage the future better than people who are stuck in the status quo.
First we graph the initial cost to join a cell phone plan, and then we graph the cost of the cell phone plan. This gets us talking about graphs, equations of lines, horizontal lines, and slope.
Now we recognize the optimal solution is actually the green line. We should be ignoring the negative numbers, since they don't represent real values, and we should focus on the part of the graph which is actually our solution to the problem. We need to discuss domain and range, within the context of a problem the kids understand. Notice also that our solution isn't a single number.
Finally, we need to tidy up our solution so that we are only representing what is actually solving the problem. Clearly, without labels on the axis, the graph of our solution to the &quot;what is the cheapest cell phone plan&quot; doesn't make a lot of sense. I'd have the kids keep the first steps, so they can talk about their solution and communicate the reasoning they went to solve the problem.
Outside of our own world, the whole universe has a strong mathematical structure on a large scale. How often is this mathematical structure shared with students? What about the relationship between the previous picture of the ball flying through the air, and these stars in orbit around each other?
Hi, my name is David Wees. When I graduated from UBC there were almost no full-time jobs available, so I started my career in Brooklyn, NY in an inner city school. After three years I moved on to London, England, where I had my first experience of the private school system, and then Bangkok, Thailand, where I had my first experience of Asia. I now teach at Stratford Hall which is a small private school on Commercial Drive. I want to talk today about the use of multimedia in the mathematics classroom. After 8 years using various forms of multimedia in my own classroom I've come to the conclusion that every math teacher should be using multimedia in some form. Here's my reasoning.
Computer Based Math
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Interactivity & Multimedia in the Mathematics Classroom David Wees Twitter: @davidwees Blog: http:// davidwees.com
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Computers as assessment Computers as content delivery Computers as exploration Computers as programmable tools
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Turn your worksheets into purpose-filled activities image credit: code monkey
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