Friday, April 13, 2012

The Wave of Change

I thought I'd share some of the real life challenges that come up for discussion in my professional learning classes. Math instruction and math homework seem to be two of the most popular topics for discussion. How do we as educators, ensure that homework doesn't become part of a situation like this?
Assignment: do problems 2-20.  The students understand problems 2-8 but the other 12 become increasingly more complex. The student attempts to solve them but completes the assignment with a feeling of  "I hate Math, I just don't understand." Of course the next day in class, problems are explained and everything is fine until more homework is assigned and the cycle repeats.
Both of my children are good math students but it doesn't come naturally to them, they have to work at it. Algebra II is way over my head and evidently the skills to explain math have vacated my memory bank also so most of the time I'm no help. Here's how we cope or as I like to say "solutionize" when faced with the above scenario.
When "we" don't understand a concept, we first go to the lesson notes and completed problems posted online (thank goodness the teacher is a 21st century educator.)  If that doesn't remedy the situation, we're not through trying, Khan Academy is next or YouTube or a new app called ShowMe. Videos explaining similar problems usually help our understanding to the point that they provide some relief. 21st century solutions for the problems at hand. Bottom line- what is hopefully being learned along with math, is a higher order 21st century skill, finding new information and then leveraging that information to solve problems. In the 20th century, a tutor might have been needed to reteach the subject matter but now the student can access the information to learn for himself.
This type of resource wasn't widely available four years ago and even now when I talk with educators, most are unaware these resources exist. Professional learning needs to be focused on the utilization of 21st century tools and the teacher becoming more of a facilitator than the "sage on the stage."
The wave of change is in motion and the speed is increasing. What are you doing to prepare our students for this eventuality.

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Mr. Gerry Kosater

There are two paths you can choose but there's always time to change the one you choose