The topic for this week’s assignments were critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making. Some of the description for this included planning and managing projects that help develop a solution or complete a project. The standards for this sections also included using multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.
Regarding mathematics, almost every problem that is present can be solved in multiple ways. When I saw this description of critical thinking and problem solving I immediately thought back to a project I did in my AP Calculus class senior year of high school. At the end of the year, before the big test, we were told that we have to make a notebook that contained everything we had learned the entire year. Immediately my jaw dropped. There was no way that I could remember everything that we learned, let alone have time to write it down, in detail, and explain example problems for each topic. I would have to organize my thoughts, know that I have included everything, and because everything I do has to be perfect, it had to be in order. So, with that said, I basically had to write it all out before I put it in the notebook.
Now, you might be asking what this has to do with the rest of my blog, implementing technology in a math classroom. I have an answer for that! There are so many apps and websites out there in the technology world that could have made this project so much easier to accomplish. Below I have made a list of some of the problems I had with the project and some solutions I found that made use of the thousands of apps and website available for students.
1. Problem: When I was brainstorming all of the topics we had covered, I was drawing a metal map of all the different branches. I had to organize the topics it main concepts and then the different concepts that branched off of the main ones. This got very confusing with so many ideas running through my head.
Bubbl.us is a website that allows students to visually see the connection they are making. With this application, I could have seen more clearly the branches I made and easily put them in an acceptable order. Because this is digital, I could easily change and edit the bubbles and ideas I had created. This would have been a great starting point for me to get my ideas down without having to worry about it being perfect the first time.
2. Problem: I had to carry around a notebook to place that I could possibly have time to work on it. Because it took so much time to complete, I would take it to dinner a work on it during the hour wait time. Carrying an actual notebook became troublesome and added another thing to keep track of.
3. Problem: When I would finish a few pages, I would often time think of something to add in between the pages. To solve this problem I had to staple in a page, which looked very tacky.
Solution to 2 and 3: A virtual notebook
The Penultimate app allows you to take notes on your touch screen device, which can be done virtually anywhere. The app gives you the experience of writing on paper but allows you to edit the document with ease. You can import images and documents onto your paper for better notes. The apps automatically syncs with Evernote so your notebooks can be seen on all your devices. Because the notebook is digital, you can add pages in between already completed pages.
4. Problem: After all the students had created their notebooks, we would swap with other student and studies theirs to get a different perspective on some of the topics and study for the AP exam. I was always afraid that the other student would lose mine or damage it while they had possession of it. I understood the reason we were switching and looking at others’ but I was protective over what I had spent so much time on.
Dropbox is a web-based document storing site that allows you to upload files and share them with a link to the Dropbox sites. If we would have made the notebooks on a virtual notebook app, we could have shared them with each other using Dropbox, or several other sites that are similar to Dropbox. I would have been able to access many students’ notebooks anywhere I wanted on any internet enabled device.
So, now that I have present some problem and solution to the math notebook problem, I want to explain how it connects to last week post about interactive learning. Quoting myself, “Interactive learning encourages the students to be a part of the lesson instead of being an observer of the lesson.” This notebook project forced me and the other students to become the lesson. My teacher did not stand in front of us for two weeks reviewing all the topics that we had covered. She made us be interactive in our learning. The technology that I have provided would have been great resources for the class to use to help aid us in the project. It would have been an appropriate measure regarding the project and the class material.