Like this year, last year’s research article projects ultimately led to the questions on the corresponding component of the final exam.  As part of your presentations on December 14th, we’ll have a discussion about common themes in your articles that can find their way into final exam questions. For reference, I’ll include my own post-discussion thoughts from last year here.

I really enjoyed everyone’s presentations today! I wish we had more time to discuss each of the research articles in detail; they’re all fascinating!

I have not yet nailed down exactly what questions you’ll see on the research article component of your final exam yet, but I wanted to capture some themes and issues that we discussed in class today and that appear in your OpenLab posts. Feel free to add your own ideas/questions/comments in the comments on this post.

These are the themes that I will have in mind when putting together this component of the final exam. My goal is to develop questions about any of these themes, phrased so that each of you will be able to answer using supporting evidence from these articles. Ideally, you could use evidence from the article that you read in detail yourself, but evidence from another group’s article might be more appropriate. Be sure to read each group’s OpenLab post to remind yourself of their summary of the article, their question and answer about the important detail, and their discussion questions.

  • There are barriers to implementing technology in the classroom. These barriers are both personal (for example, teachers and students may be apprehensive about using unfamiliar tools) and logistical (for example, not all classrooms have computers for every student; not all students have internet access at home).
  • There are components of the role of technology in math learning and teaching. I’ll spell out the four that appeared in Jodel and Josiel’s article here, though we discussed how these appeared in other articles (and in our own experiences) too:
    • exploring
    • conjecturing
    • verifying
    • generalizing
  • There are levels of technology use from the educator perspective that vary from non-use (before learning how to use the tool) and renewal (after having become comfortable using the tool and reexamining how to use it).
  • Students struggle to connect the calculations they do in their math classes with real-world applications. We saw in Tyniqua and Armando’s presentation as well as in Mei and Majid’s that students struggle with proportion/ratios/fractions. Technology can be used in intervention activities that allow students to make this connection through exploration and discovery by beginning with something students are familiar with.
  • Technology can be used as a pedagogical tool in different ways. Jodel and Josiel’s article showed us that Korean textbook questions for junior high school students used technology to foster conceptual understanding while questions for senior high school students used technology mainly in a technical/mechanical/procedural way. From Evelin and Sonam’s article, we learned that more successful students gravitated to using a graphing tool when it was appropriate; we noted that these student already have a conceptual understanding of the problem and are using the tool to do the mechanical work for them. The less successful students didn’t necessarily see how the tool could be used to answer the question. On the other hand, from Tyniqua and Armando’s article, we learned that Google Maps can be used to exploit students familiarity with technology in their lives to help them grasp an abstract mathematical concept.
  • For technology used as a mechanical/procedural tool, it’s important that students have to think in order to solve a problem. There must be a balance between thinking/developing technical or procedural skills and relying on technology.
  • Students’ perception can be exploited using technology to help them recognize patterns and learn more quickly. From Luis and Gary’s presentation, we saw that this use of technology can be more effective than traditional pencil-and-paper work. This helps develop fluency in mathematical language, ideas, and content.
  • Technology can be used to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses  and to deliver instruction that is tailored to individual students’ needs.