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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bring Tech to Math Education!

I love the first two sentences of this article from 

Tech lets teachers 

What do abacuses, slide rules, blackboard chalk and paper have in common?

They are obsolete — or quickly becoming extinct — in the classroom.

Lakota East Freshman math teacher Susan Kerkhove said technological advances have changed the way students learn.

Technology allows teachers to put interactive lessons on their 3M projectors and provide students with pictures, graphics and more during math class.

Her favorite program, she said, is a free Web site called Geogebra that allows her to borrow lessons, plan work sheets and challenge students at home and at school.

“The biggest thing about it is it’s interactive, and it really brings math to life,” she said. “The pictures we create, especially in algebra and geometry — they have movement. Kids can see change.”
Instead of drawing, erasing and redrawing a line and slope, she said now students can see it change on the screen and can try it themselves at home at

“The neat thing about it is the kids can be involved in it and can have a hand in changing or working with the equation. Kids can go in at home and practice with a dynamic worksheet,” Kerkhove said. “It’s not a piece of paper anymore. It’s an experience.”

And teachers, she said, are excited about the possibilities.

Math intervention specialist Kelly Wegener said her job is to ensure teachers get the resources they need to build 21st Century skills into their classroom lessons.

“It’s not just Lakota, but across the nation, there’s a push for kids to be more fluent with 21st century skills — technology, problem solving — that’s what companies are looking for. That’s what colleges want,” Wegener said.

And bringing technology into the classroom has been a way to accomplish that, she said. The fact that some of the programming is offered free online is even better.

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