Category: Life in the Math Classroom

Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra

Today’s talk from AMATYC was “Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra” (to lessen the heretical title slightly I will tell you I’m advocating for taking *some* of the algebra out of College Algebra). The goal of the talk is to help faculty redevelop a math program so that it de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation can be daunting. Faculty will leave this talk with both a vision for the nirvana they want (the long-term goal) and small, executable steps they can take right now to work towards that goal. I meant to record the audio for the talk but I completely...

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Group Exploration in Math

I am often asked how to get learners to spend more time “exploring” in their learning rather than just recalling or responding to specific prompts for information. Exploration of the learning space is particularly important because learners find the interesting nooks and crannies of the concepts that they would not otherwise discover. Let me share an example. Yesterday in class we needed to spend more time on exponential functions. I began class by displaying a graph of y=2^x and asking the class specific questions like “The graph of an exponential function has an asymptote, where is it?” Only to...

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AMATYC Keynote Notes: Interaction and Impasse

Thursday I had the honor of providing the opening keynote for the AMATYC Conference in Denver, “Learning Math is Not a Spectator Sport.” I expect the video of the talk will be available to share next week, and rather than provide the slides (124 mostly stick-figure drawings), I’ll point you to some resources that will likely give you the information you’re looking for between now and when the full presentation becomes available. We covered three main themes: Interaction & Impasse (this post) Challenge & Curiosity Durable Learning I’ll provide resources for each of these categories, starting with Interaction and...

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Learning Notebooks for Online Math Homework

After teaching math at a community college for 10 years (and using online homework for at least 7 of those), I have noticed that my online math students don’t seem to have the same grasp on notation and the steps to “prove” the solution to a problem as when they did old-fashioned paper & pencil homework.  I have also found that the students who use online homework have become much more unorganized, and are unable to find the work for the problems they have questions on.   This last year, I’ve been experimenting with what I call a “Learning...

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Mastering Your Document Camera

My latest “Teaching with Tech” column is now out in MAA Focus. Take Another Shot at your Document Camera So, what can you do with that document camera? Possibly Related Posts: ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the trees Group Exploration in...

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