Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ch. 23 - Tech. in Math Ed

After today's discussion in class, I realized that teachers should not overwhelm their students with technology nor should they be too dependent on technology within the classroom. However, I believe that technology can be an extremely useful learning tool. It provides new ways for students to visualize the subject matter, especially when dealing with different dimensions, graphs, and shapes. By using technology, the teacher can reach out to more of his/her students with the incorporation of different learning styles. For example, when finding the volume of a cylinder, some students may be able to memorize the equation without ever visualizing the actual object. However, for the spatial learners, they may need to see that you first find the area of one of the bases and then multiply it by the height. These forms of technology will allow teachers to gear their instruction more accurately towards the specific learning goal by acknowledging each student's learning style.

When reading Pete Rubba's thoughts about online courses vs. face-to-face teaching, I found it hard to believe that face-to-face teaching would dwindle away so quickly. I feel that face-to-face interaction is something that cannot be replaced. I understand that Rubba was trying to stress how important technology is in education, but I feel he was to extreme on his assumption. I agree best with Bob McCollum and Kyle Peck's beliefs on the matter. When it comes to teaching a math courses, I believe that one of the most important aspects is relating the methods/concepts to the each student's learning style. It is important to go into further instruction with an individual student if they are having a specific issue. Unfortunately, students do not have the luxury of being explained in a different way when taking an online course.

I found it interesting to read about how technology has progressed over time and how it affects our limitations as learners. Technology provides simplified ways to approach complex material. Since technology has helped math progress tremendously over the years, I find it very important to use it within the classroom, but I know not to rely on it. When making those lessons using technology, it is important to know the capability of your students so it is not too simple or too complicated. Therefore, you can maximize each student's learning experience.

6 comments:

LAN said...

The use of visualization is beneficial to all types of students. Abstract concepts such as those covered in math can be conceptually understood when taught using visualization.

Jess Madigan said...

In response to Rubba's thoughts, I got the sense that Rubba was warning against online classes. He thinks that online classes takes away from the person to person feel of a classroom. I agree with Rubba and didn't feel like he was suggesting it would happen right away; instead, he was expressing the importance of face-to-face teaching. Does anybody else have a different take?

LAN said...

The reality is that online learning is happening for a long time now. An example is Illinois Virtual HS. See http://www.ivhs.org/index.learn?action=welcome&bhcp=1 for the site.

Speaking as an online learner, an online professor for a long time, and a distance ed researcher, online learning is a different experience. The teaching process has different challenge and the learning style is for some reason not comfortable for some. Most online classes provide supplementary face to face interaction, hybrid style they call it. Not all people are comfortable being a fully online students that is why most online institutions provide learner support including some form of limited face to face interaction. Having experienced both as a teacher and learner online, I believe that face to face teaching will not be extinct in spite of proliferation of online degree granting institutions.

Kathleen Ellison said...

I completely agree with you when it comes to finding a balance between the basics and tons of technology. As someone who wants to be an English teacher, I can understand the desire to go back to the basics in addition to being able to use the new technology. I want my future students to be able to have all of the current information and understand how to use technology to aide their learning, but there's nothing like picking up an actual book and holding it in your hand. That is where I think I would want to draw the line. I would never want to fully get rid of paper books as a means for learning and replace them with electronic ones. There is something that is just taken away from the experience, just as in math classrooms there is something fascinating about working out a complex problem by hand and without the use of a calculator or computer. To me there is different sense of accomplishment with finding the solution by hand.

Klee said...

I agree with what you said about students needing face time with teachers! It's scary that technology could one day takeover, and teachers could be obsolete. Students still need the face time, as well as tangible objects in their daily lives. It might be difficult, but it is necessary to find the correct balance of technology and teacher interaction. Only the teacher can really get to know each student and their individual needs. The computer is not going to know when the student gets frustrated, or needs the pace to be slowed or quickened. Human interaction is something that always needs to be present in the classroom, and we have to be careful to not let technology take over.

Jess Madigan said...

Sorry Ben. You were right about what Rubba thinks about online courses taking over face-to-face teaching. I don't know what I was thinking when I read his section. I think I was giving my two cents because I am not a big fan of online courses. One of my good friends from home took an online math class and it was extremely hard for him to get through the topics without me giving him face to face tutoring. Maybe the class (where they only solved multiple choice questions) wasn't set up as effectively as other online classes are--I wouldn't know. So far, in my opinion although online classes are becoming more popular, they aren't as effective as face-to-face learning.