Video cases: reviewing teacher-practitioners’ practices (1)

Posted by: | January 19, 2009 | Comments Off on Video cases: reviewing teacher-practitioners’ practices (1)

This is a commentary on a video interview with a teacher who uses technology:

This teacher and his class use graphing calculators as:
– mini computers
– graphing machines
– programming platforms

Computers are too expensive, and there are too many classes wanting to use them, according to this teacher. Graphing calculators are much cheaper and every student can have one.

Students get used to the graphing calculators, so training sort of happens over the course of a number of years.

Interesting note: I found the PA system intrusive and annoying! Obviously, the teacher was used to it and just waited patiently until it was finished.

Also: he was using a very old-fashioned overhead projector. Hey … if it works …

The technology helped students get passionate about learning … trying things … understanding … experimenting. He said: “the technology made them comfortable.”

Teachers need to be comfortable with the technology to ask the right questions, and to ensure that kids use the technology for more than the simple answer … find the new questions that address math, not just calculator functions.

The teacher builds table teams and sprinkles kids who know the technology throughout … so they can help themselves.

Interesting: reverse gender equity via technology … girls are typically better students, but boys are learning better because they get more engaged with technology.

* What are the underlying issues?
– accessibility: all kids being able to have the technology
– resourcefulness: getting the most value for every educational dollar
– learning: the technology must be used to further the learning; it’s tempting to use it just to make things easier, but then learning may not actually occur

* Further questions:
– if laptops were as cheap as graphing calculators, would they be better?
– is it possible that less functionality is sometimes better?


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