Final Reflection

Throughout the class CEP 811 at Michigan State University I have learned so many things and more importantly changed my mind set.  The importance of guiding my students to express their creativity has always been present.  However, I did not think about the importance of them becoming makers.

This generation of students has had so much more experience with technology than earlier generations did.  Until now, I always saw technology as a way to enhance the curriculum.  I now know that we can use technology to show students that they can be makers and that anything is possible.  What an amazing skill to empower my students with.

Although using the maker kits became more difficult for me to relate to my high school mathematics classroom, I would still like to try to integrate them somehow.  At this time, I feel like I could see the makey makey working better in an elementary or specials classroom.

The quote from the MAET program states “As adult learners, we are most interested in your growth – and you will be evaluated on the basis of how far you go, not on the basis of where you started.”  As I re-read this, I thought what a great way to assess.  Progress should be measured, not so much right or wrong.  Students, including myself, all learn at a different pace and in different ways.  My favorite way to describe this is by comparing student learning to a doctor prescribing a drug, no one prescription works for every patient just as no one way of teaching works for all students.  If I were to evaluate my own growth after taking this course I would say I learned a lot.  The learning theories helped me to figure out how much education has evolved as well as the different theories that I have a tendency to teach more often than others.  Whether I am telling students to memorize their fast facts, which is the cognitivism approach, or using an exploratory approach and letting them discover they are computing surface area understanding how my students learn best is key.

The biggest afterthought of the course became from me reflecting on my favorite assignments.  I really enjoyed creating my ultra micro massive open online course.  Although I had no experience with a MOOC before it became a real fun task to create my own.  It allowed for me to feel good about what I know and do pretty good, which is play and coach volleyball.  Creating this MOOC was fun and I thought about presenting the idea to my students and asking them what type of course they would teach or create if they could to get to know them a little better at the beginning of the school year.  I also reflected on enjoying coming up with ideas and creating my maker experiment.  Although I struggled with integrating into a math context I had fun trying to come up with ideas.  I even involved my family for brainstorming.  I firmly believe that my reflection of these two assignments taught me that I enjoy being able to be creative just as much as my students do and I really need to stress the importance of that in my classroom.

I plan to implement as much as I can to allow my students to be creative and innovative.  This class has taught me that that is what my students need and want in my quest to make them the best that they can be for their future endeavors.  For that I say thank you Bill and Missy.

Choose Your Own Adventure (SoTL)

This week I learned about the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).  SoTL is using effective teaching methods in the classroom but take it a step further to involve inquiry into teaching, engagement, feedback, and reflection on teaching and learning. The Scholarship of Teaching and learning also stresses the importance of sharing results so others can review, critique and build on the work.  In the past, teaching has been a closed door policy.  We often imagine teaching as individualistic and self-directed, a sequestered event to which students are the only witnesses, and in which the professor is the only teacher(Bender, 1999). We cannot grow and become better teachers if we continue on that pathway.

Next we were asked to take that information learned about SoTL and find research based resources for my professional contexts which would be mathematics.  I decided to look for resources pertaining to hands on mathematics and/or research on lessons using technology in mathematics.  I was fortunate to be able to chat with a MSU librarian via instant message.  Within a minute the librarian was responding to my question.  The librarian then asked if it was teaching related and for what grade levels would I prefer.  Shortly after answering the librarian had a great resource for me.

1.  Hands-on Mathematics + Multicultural Education = Student Success.  

This article discusses how math teaching was approached differently in one particular example. It showed how a class of multi-racial students was able to learn basic math concepts by instituting different hands on ways to apply math. Some of the ways they did this was by showing fractionally how basketball is divided by different skill levels among caucasian and african american players as well as female players. The students actually guessed as to how their own class would do with basic basketball skills and made “hand-made” wooden hoops to show the results. Another interesting concept was that at the beginning of the class, at the start of the semester, the teachers and students made a “deal” and shook hands on it. The teachers promised to make math apply to the “real world” and to make math fun if the student agreed to learn and give 100% effort. It was an interesting article to research.

2.  The second link he sent me was an article titled Hands-On Mathematics and Science Activities for Students in Grades K-8: A Guide for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents.  Unfortunately, ERIC did not have a PDF available and the librarian mentioned that it is probably on microfiche.  He also said that it might be available at a later date in PDF format.

3. The Effects of Teaching Techniques and Teacher Attitudes on Math Anxiety in Secondary Level Students.  This Article described an experiment which revolved around a class of 48 students learning algebra I. Half of these students were taught in a “regular” style by a math teacher using her typical and standard method of teaching algebra I. The other half of students were in a environment where the idea of stress due to math was addressed. The teaching approach in this class was to try an eliminate any anxiety about learning and doing math. Additional teachers were used and a different approach to instruction was instituted. Despite one class focusing on the anxiety and “stress” level of students, the learning results were almost identical between the two classes. Even with focusing on “math anxiety”, it did not change the level of learning in the classroom when compared to a class that did not address this issue.

4. An Ap”peel”ing Activity.  This was an actual activity that was allowed to be peer reviewed.  To explore surface area and volume of a sphere students peel an orange and make inferences before and after peeling.  I might actually use something similar in my Geometry classroom.

5. Partnership Teaching: Success for All Children Using Math as a Vehicle.  This article stressed the importance of accepting others ideas and thoughts and working together in groups as a team.  It had provided some great ideas for activities that I could use in my sixth grade mathematics classroom.  Unfortunately some of the activities would need to be scaffolded toward a middle school learner as opposed to elementary.

I really liked the librarian feature.  The librarian was so helpful but did all the leg work for me.  I was almost hoping they would show me how to look up things and have it be more interactive.  It showed me how easy it is to find peer reviewed articles like was SoTL was referring to.  The librarian pointed out that most of the articles he was finding were before the year 2000, which I thought was interesting.

References:

Adeeb, P. and Bosnick, J. (1995). Hands-on Mathematics + Multicultural Education = Student Success. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/papers/math.html

Adeeb, P. and Bosnick, J. (1998). Partnership Teaching: Success for All Children Using Math as a Vehicle. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ574661

Bender, E and Gray, D. (1999). The Scholarship of Teaching. Research & Creative Activity, XXII(1). http://www.indiana.edu/~rcapub/v22n1/p03.html

Quality Education for Minorities Network. (2000). Hands-On Mathematics and Science Activities for Students in Grades K-8 [electronic resource] : A Guide for Teachers, Tutors, and Parents. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from http://catalog.lib.msu.edu/record=b6583593~S39a

Urich, J. A., & Sasse, E. A. (2011). An Ap”peel”ing Activity. Mathematics Teacher, 105(3), 189-193.

White, P. (1997). The Effects of Teaching Techniques and Teacher Attitudes on Math Anxiety in Secondary Level Students. Retrieved on August 15, 2013 from  http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED411151

Maker Experiment #2 (Universal Design)

This week we learned about the Universal Design for Learning (UDL).  This design was made to assist educators to reach all students in the learning process.  UDL helps educators meet this goal by providing a framework for understanding how to create curricula that meets the needs of all learners from the start (Cast, 2011).  After learning and working through how UDL works, I decided I needed to make a lot of revisions to my Maker Experiment to essentially reach more learners.

The changes necessary include a lot of integrating multiple representations and pathways to engage different backgrounds, abilities and motivations.  The point of the lesson is to review multiplication and division from the previous year so that the students can review and become faster in order to build on that knowledge in sixth grade, for example multiply and dividing integers and fractions.

  • To clarify syntax and structure, I would do a walk through of how to multiply and divide.
  • To reach auditory learners, a student would demonstrate how in English as well as Spanish due to the fact that I have a lot of ESL learners.
  • To reach visual learners, the students to watch this video called Long Division Style (Warning: you will not be able to get this out of your head).

The reviewing process would apply to more learners in the classroom due to the multiple representations offered.

To introduce the makey makey the first part of the lesson would contain the math basketball game.  Here two players can compete where a mouse and a left click button would be necessary.  I would create the mouse with a toy mouse of some sort connected to the makey makey and for the left click, a basketball would signal when the shot would be released from the players hands.  This would use touch equivalents for key visuals that represent concepts.

Next, students get into groups of three or four and let them know that they can either work together or take turns with the task.  Next, I will have them go to mangahigh.com.  A recent study showed that the work environment requires graduates to have skills to work collaboratively over distance and time (Kohut & Yon, 2013).  I would then have them find a game to play from that website and also create a game pad using the makey makey.  Providing options of the game to choose would allow some freedom, although I would have to regulate that they are not choosing a game that is too easy for them.  This would allow for them to practice basic mental math skills.

Each game played on mangahigh requires the use of the numbers 1-9 and an enter key much like the figure below.  Therefore, I would have them create a game board that they can step on much like the dance games that are popular now.  For connectivity to work, students would have to shade in the numbers with their pencil and connect each number to the makey makey as well as create an enter key with an object of their choice to allow customizing the display of the information.  Once it is connected correctly students may begin reviewing the concepts by playing the games all while using kinesthetic learning to step on the corresponding number answers.  Research shows that students reacted positively to the exercise and showed an improvement on their scores at both assessment periods (Melander & Wortmann, 2013).  Through this review students can relearn the math facts that they forgot as well as have fun playing.

Through learning about Universal Design for Learning, I was able to improve my lesson to essentially reach more learners.  UDL really helped me learn how to insert additions into my lessons to optimize levels of support.

References:

CAST (2011). Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.0. Wakefield, MA: Author.

Kohut, G. F. & Yon, M. G. (2013). Student Perceptions of Cognitive and Social Learning in Global Virtual Teams: A Pilot Study. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 13(1), 19-32.

Long Division Style (2012). Retrieved on August 9, 2013 from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWU6K3GV2A8.

Melander, L. A., & Wortmann, S. L. (2011). Activating Theory in the Introductory Classroom: Erving Goffman Visits Wisteria Lane. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 11(2), 75-86.

SUDOKU (n.d.) Retrieved on August 9, 2013 from http://juegos-inusuales.blogspot.com/.

21st Century Learning Space

Through learning about experience design, I believe that majority of educational facilities are doing students a disservice.  Learning should not be forced or seem like punishment, learning should be an aspiration.  Learning does begin that way, yet the way our education system has developed over time we have discouraged this.  Therefore, this week’s assignment on designing a 21st century learning space was very exciting to me, although creating the space using Google SketchUp made it a little more difficult.

SketchUp is an amazing tool that really allows the user to experience being an architect.  However, the learning space I had pictured in my head became so much more difficult to make than what I thought.  My first difficulty was creating the walls.  I was able to create a cube for my classroom, but was hoping to make transparent walls on two of the sides in order to peer inside.  Instead, I had to create the floor and two walls.  I also wanted a space with windows where students could sit in the sill for inspiration.  That is how this design was derived. Image

In playing more, I found hexagonal shapes and recreated the window space.  Ultimately, I would love to create my space so that it is environmental friendly and with as much recycled material as possible since I work at an environmental school.  I do have a growing passion for going being eco-friendly although I am still educating myself on the topic.

Technology is also a massive part of our students future.  Therefore, I created a space in which there are enough computers for each student.  The picture below shows laptops, however my ideal class would have tablets built into the desk tops so that students could use their desk tops with paper as well as for their tablets.

Image

Hence, I would have adjusted the tables to look a little more like this. In addition, I would have chosen more comfortable chairs more like teacher chairs so that the students could be comfortable as well as swivel to promote movement and keep the brain alert.

Furthermore, I changed the colors of the walls to match eco-friendly colors.  An independent study demonstrating white and off-white business environments resulted in a 25% or more drop in human efficiency (Faber, 1997).  Yet, most classrooms still have white and off white walls.  Cool colors are recommended for upper grade and secondary classrooms for their ability to focus concentration (Mahnke, 1996) .

My ultimate goal was to create a space where everyone can comfortably feel like a designer to allow their creativity to become enhanced.  To adapt to different learning styles, especially kinesthetic learners I added tablets on the walls for students who have trouble sitting still as well as embedded into the blue carpet space.  This, in turn, would allow learners can figure out where they are comfortable and most productive.  Although, as you can see, I had trouble rotating the tablets so that they lie flat on the wall.  Last, I added white boards for student use so that they can brainstorm and use as well as plants in the room to promote air purification and a homey feel.  You should also note that there is no teacher desk.  I have a teacher desk and I have yet to sit at it.  I am typically walking around or sitting with a student or small group.  My desk has become more of a storage place which could be eliminated by adding a storage cabinet.

Image

In closing, I am proud of the space I created.  A lot of my inspiration came from the 79 ways you can use design to transform teaching + learning.  I am sure this would be very expensive to create.  A tablet alone could cost anywhere from $200 to $1,000 and I have 19 pictured in my classroom.  Not to mention the high ceilings and windows.  The point is we are talking about creating a better future by developing life long learners.  Therefore, shouldn’t this investment be the opportunity of a lifetime?

References:

Birren, Faber. The Power of Color. Carol Publishing Group, New Jersey, 1997

iDesk Apple Desk (n.d.). Retrieved August 1, 2013, from
http://www.­furniii.­com/­2012/­04/­idesk-­apple-­desk-­design-­by-­sebastian-­lara/

Mahnke, Frank H. Color, Environment, and Human Response: An Interdisciplinary Understanding of Color and Its Use as a Beneficial Element in the Design of the Architectural Environment. New York: Wiley, 1996. Print.

The Third Teacher Plus. Online Website. Retrieved August 1, 2013, from http://thethirdteacherplus.com/s/79-Ideas-Overall-List.pdf.