Category: Math Ed Research

Teaching Math with Technology (Discussion Panel)

While I was at Wolfram Alpha Homework Day, I participated in a Panel Discussion about the Myths about Teaching with Technology. The panel ran 30 minutes and was mediated by Elizabeth Corcoran. There were three of us (all women, weirdly enough), Debra Woods, a mathematics professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Abby Brown, a math teacher at Torrey Pines High School; and myself. I no longer remembered anything that I said in this panel, so it was fun to watch the discussion from an outside point-of-view. I am glad to see that I talked about the value of play during the discussion, because I am finding more and more that introducing play (and exploration) back into learning makes a big difference in engagement and in retention of the subject. Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in Math Elaborations for Creative Thinking in...

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How can we measure Teaching and Learning in Math?

Last week I prepared a new presentation for the MichMATYC conference based partially on the literature review for my dissertation.  In my dissertation I am studying instructors, but in this talk I addressed both the instructor and the student side.  It was also the first presentation I’ve built using Prezi, and it was interesting to re-think presentation design using a new tool.  Of course, the presentation misses something without the accompanying verbal descriptions, but there is enough information on here that you can begin to understand the problem (we don’t actually know much) and the solution (common language, common measurement tools). There are also a few new cartoons/illustrations in this presentation.  I’ve started just paying for a couple of illustrations per presentation to help viewers to understand (and mostly to remember) difficult concepts.  Just to give you a rough idea in the time involved to create something like this, I spent about 18 hours on the Prezi build (which doesn’t even begin to account for the time spent doing the research). How can we Measure Teaching and Learning in Math?  Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the...

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Mathematics Instructional Practices

What follows are ten mathematics instructional practices (MIPs) are meant to capture the nuances of the majority of mathematics instruction for the first two years of college mathematics. Lecture Collaborative Lecture Cooperative Learning Inquiry-based Learning Emphasis on Application Problems Emphasis on Project-based Learning Emphasis on Multiple Representations Emphasis on Communication Skills Mastery Learning Emphasis on Formative Assessment These MIPs are not part of my Ph.D. dissertation research, they are just something I needed to do in order to focus my literature review on a narrow and clearly defined set of instructional practices for mathematics. Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback in the last two days – it was vital to developing a comprehensive list of practices. I am permanently posting the list (with descriptions and illustrative examples) under the Resources tab on this website (go here). You can also print the full list and research notes from the feedback surveys in the last two days (here). I only ask that if you use these as part of a study, paper, or presentation, that you use the proper citation (or if it is digital, link back to the site). Please note that the use of technology for instruction is not its own category on the MIP list (ironic, I know). However, technology is used as part of the implementation of various instructional strategies. Emphasis on technology itself is...

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Trends in Reform Instructional Strategies for Math

I spent most of the day yesterday compiling data from the last four CBMS reports to get a sense of how widely adopted reform instructional practices are being used in mathematics.  The graphs are interesting.  You will probably want to view these with full screen to see all the graph details. Uploaded on authorSTREAM by wyandersen Some general trends: Community College math faculty adopt reform instructional strategies at higher rates than 4-yr instructors. PhD faculty at 4-yr schools have the lousiest adoption rates for everything except for Online Resource Systems (can you say online homework in large lecture sections?).  To be fair, they tend to teach more large lecture hall sections, and may find it more difficult to use strategies like writing and group assignments with 100+ students. Graphing Calculators are the most-widely adopted reform instructional strategy. Use of Group Assignments, Writing Assignments, and Computer Assignments has been sliding backwards.  Since community college faculty seem to be more willing than 4-year instructors to adopt instructional innovations, and they are rejecting these, it should be interesting to see why. Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in Math Elaborations for Creative Thinking in...

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Cognitive Psychology and Math Education

In the last three weeks I’ve read or skimmed about 2,000 pages of scholarly articles about math reform efforts, technology for teaching, innovations, change movements, faculty development, community college statistics, learning theories, and distance ed statistics. If you had any idea how many topics I want to blog about every day, but don’t have time for right now …well, just forgive me for lame posts for a little while, okay? In the meantime, you can read this paper called “Applications and Misapplications of Cognitive Psychology to Mathematics Education” by Anderson, Reder, and Simon.  The full text is available at the link.  Interestingly, this was never published, although a similar article (not specific to math) was published.  I’ll warn you that I’ve read a few books on cognitive psychology, and it was still a difficult read because of all the terminology.  However, I assure you, it’s interesting reading.  If you find the first few paragraphs daunting, try skimming to where you read an applied example, then back up to read the section before it.  It’s easier to get the vocabulary when you have a concrete example in your head to pair with it. As a math teacher, I use a lot of student-centered learning strategies.  I incorporate technology into my classes and emphasize the rule-of-four.  However, I still insist on students learning some procedural skills (like derivatives and integrals) because...

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