July 2011

Teaching a Grad Summer Course on Technology Use in Science & Mathematics

I have a very interesting opportunity to teach a summer graduate course on the use of educational technologies in science and mathematics teaching and learning.

First of all it is a graduate course. It means that all of the students have been teaching science, mathematics or other disciplines in the past and they have knowledge of science and mathematics content and pedagogy. Students’ experiences and practical knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work in the classroom makes a discussion very interesting. In addition, we have students from different countries, which is great, as the way we teach depends on where we teach in terms of student culture and what is available to us in terms of the resources. On Thursday and Friday we had a very interesting discussion about the use of Geometer’s Sketchpad. This a a dynamic software that allows to do construction, measurement and transformations. As we discussed the software and read the paper (by N. Sinclair and her colleagues), our focus shifted on the process of geometrical constructions. It was a great discussion and it allowed me to think more about how modern technologies have the potential to shift from the final product (a picture in the textbook) to the process of constructing it. I think the discussion of constructing a parallelogram using Geometer’s Sketchpad was very interesting. While this is a commercial product, my students recommended me to look at the free software, such as Geogebra: and Geoboard: I have to look more into it, but I can see great possibilities in using them in a mathematics (or even science – think optics for example) classroom!

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