Category: Teaching

ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age

In the early 90’s, most people had three reasonable choices for looking up the information you did not know: a book or journal you owned, the notes you took in class, or a library. In all of these cases, you had to physically move yourself to the location where the information source was stored. The best bet to be able to state information quickly was to know the information yourself. Given that we are humans, let’s assume the accuracy of all the information we hold in our heads is (at best) 80%. In the later 90’s and early 00’s,...

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Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day

I’ve been spending the first 5-10 minutes of every 2-hour math class discussing graphs in the news with my students. I’ll give you a few examples of what came up naturally week by week: Lots of social media graphs: Slope of the adoption rates for new users, the DAU (daily active users) and MAU (monthly active users) over time, and comparison of the adoption of new features in different platforms (Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) Tech industry: Growth of Amazon, Facebook, and Google, rise in employees at these companies, and comparison the money spent on Black Friday in the...

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Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the trees

If you’re a faculty member, you can probably tell me all about the first time an instructional designer said to you “You can’t use the word ‘understand’ in a learning objective.” And it probably made you mad. The oft-cited reason to avoid “understand” is because “You can’t measure it.” And this is where I’d like to take issue with Instructional Design 101.  Can you always measure an “understand” learning objective? No. Can you sometimes measure an “understand” learning objective? Yes. And it really comes down to the definition you use. understand: mental comprehension of a topic understand: demonstrated comprehension...

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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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Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM

Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math In the last 5 years, there has been a rise in what we might call “large-scale digital learning experiments.”  These take the form of centralized courses, vendor-created courseware, online homework systems, MOOCs, and free-range learning platforms. If we mine the research, successes, and failures coming out of these experiments, what can we discover about designing better digital learning experiences and technology for the learning of mathematics? Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math from Maria Andersen   Possibly...

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