The problems with Math

June 2, 2010

I had a few minutes today waiting in the doctor’s office (actually it was more like a few hours.  Can I charge the doctor for my time?) I was thinking about some of the problems in math instruction and the ones that I am encountering as I explore a redesign of our online courses.

  • Students feel isolated; they cannot get the support they need when they need it.
  • Student cannot achieve manageable milestones.
  • They do not have the prerequisite concepts and skills before they start a math course.
  • Student go too fast through the courses.
  • Do not master a concept before moving on to the next concept.
  • They want a tutor to teach them, not the textbook.
  • Student don’t explore the multimedia resources if it is not integral to the course.
  • Student don’t read  the textbook.

Some of my ideas about how to address these problems are:

Create chat rooms for each concept that is being taught.  If the student needs help, they can join the chat room and discuss the problems with other students who are also grappling with the same problems.  Or have a TA online that the students can call or skype or set up virtual office hours.

Create a milestones in the course that students must meet before them can move on to new material.  Make sure that they understand the concept through some sort of assessment before they can move on to new material.

Move a word problem from the end of the lesson to the beginning of the lesson and use it to start a conversation.  Allow the word problem to drive the instruction and introduce the concepts to be learned. Make the word problem visual


Out of the mouth of babes

April 12, 2010

My children and I went tothe university today and stopped by my husband’s class to put up a key.  His class was already in session when we arrived.  As we were leaving the classroom,  my five-year old son looked up at his dad and said, “Dad, I love you because you are a teacher.”  You could hear the students in the classroom make an audible sigh.  Out of the mouth of babes.

On a separate note,  graduation day is 10 days away.  It is hard to believe that I have finished my graduate work.  I remember the day that I defended my thesis and passed.  I felt like there should be a 21 gun salute followed by a ticker tape parade but it was rather anticlimatic.   I guess the pomp and circumstance comes on graduation day.   Regardless,  I have accomplished a goal that I had set some time ago and it feels good.

People are referring to my posts.

October 27, 2008

This is the second time that someone referred to one of my posts.  This is very exciting to me because I wasn’t sure if my posts could offer anything of interest to someone else, but it turns out that I may have been wrong.  The experience of blogging my ideas has been life-changing for me.  I feel empowered to share my ideas more.


October 13, 2008

I received a comment on my post about digital storytelling from David Adewumi from Washington, D.C.  He writes, Heekya which is an digital storytelling tool that allows people to create stories that happen in real life.  You can use it as a digital scrapbook or you can add to stories that are happening in the world.  It is like the wikipedia for story-telling where others can come and create their version of the feature story, whether it is about a world event or a personal event (wedding).  I can see a great potential for educational uses of this tool.  Students can express their viewpoint about a specific event in history, current event, or storyline in a book or a topic.   It also helps students to see the viewpoints on others on the same event or topic.  This tools looks very promising and I am interested in using it to see what other possibilities it has for personal and educational use.