Additional Math Pages & Resources

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Math 2.0—The Intersection of Math & Technology

On July 8, we celebrate Math 2.0 Day by taking a look at the many ways math and technology intersect. Let's begin the conversation today.

In January, PBS LearningMedia announced findings from a national survey of teachers grades pre-K-12 that highlights the rising role of technology in America’s classrooms, and points out barriers teachers face to accessing the “right” digital resources. Ninety-one percent of teachers surveyed reported having access to computers in their classrooms, but only one-in-five (22 percent) said they have the right level of technology. Read more at PBS.org.

Other teachers begin the year with wonderful new technology such as interactive white boards, computers, and electronic responders, but don't have funding for technical support or replacing parts when the equipment needs to be repaired or serviced several years later. Some teachers become frustrated with equipment or software that doesn't work consistently and abandon the technology after a period of time.

According to the PBS survey, most teachers using technology in the classroom are using it to visit websites and find online images and games. If you are one of those teachers looking for some educational websites for the classroom, here are some helpful links:
For videos and tutorials your Grades 5 and 6 students can access for the classroom, you may want to bookmark the video resource page from Excel Math with classroom videos using Projectable Lessons. You can also create your own videos using Projectable Lessons in your classroomThese videos work well in a flipped classroom and also as review for students and parents who need more.  Excel Math Projectable Lessons show the daily lesson sheets on a series of slides on CD. The lesson is first shown with problems. Students can solve the problems on white board or interactive electronic board or at their seats. The next slide shows the work and solutions in red. The files are standard PDF format that can you can use with any computer or print out for use on a document projector. Read more. Find additional online resources on our previous blog post, Using Technology in the Math Classroom.

Excel Math is correlated to state standards as well as to the Common Core. To  download math correlations for your particular state, visit ExcelMath.com/downloads/state_stds.html.

To become better informed about the Common Core Standards (CSS), here are some online links to the Common Core discussion and what it means for educators:
NCTM has prepared an overview PowerPoint presentation and other presentations for Pre-K–Grade 3, grades 4–5, grades 6–8, and high school to inform math teachers about these new standards and to support them in implementation of the Common Core.

Education Week is holding a webinar on July 11 called Revealing How Education Leaders Can Work Together on Common-Standards Implementation on the topic "implementing the Common Core."  Here's a link for more information.

If you're interested in hearing both sides of the debate about whether national standards are a good thing for your students, this article from the Wall Street Journal, "Should All U.S. Students Meet a Single Set of National Proficiency Standards?" has some excellent points. (The comments are especially interesting.)

According to this Wall Street Journal article, "Today's young Americans are falling behind their peers in other countries when it comes to academic performance. What makes the situation particularly concerning is research showing a close link between economic competitiveness and the knowledge and skills of a nation's workforce."

For some teachers and administrators, technology seems to be the answer that will help students bridge the achievement gap. For others, the answer is Project Based or Challenge Based Learning. (Read more about Project Based Learning at edutopia.com and about Challenge Based Learning at challengebasedlearning.org.) Other educators find the answer in smaller class sizes or more testing and assessment.

Although many of these recommendations can have a positive effect on education, there seems to be no one panacea or easy solution to raise academic performance. Perhaps a well-balanced mix of technology, top-notch classroom instruction, student engagement, collaborative learning, increased rigor, systematic spaced repetition, true spiraling, guided practice, homework, parental involvement, and regular assessment will prove to be the answer. Wow! That sounds like a lot to ask. Then again, helping our students gain proficiency, confidence, and a life-long love of learning may just be worth it.