I have been teaching transformational geometry using Geometer’s Sketchpad (GSP) since 1994. I have used graphing calculators, Fathom and GSP to enhance how I teach in my classroom by using technology to substitute and augment what students had done before with graph paper, pencil, ruler and compass. Now that I am planning for my final COETAIL program project, I would like to transform how I teach math by using technology in ways that modify and redefine what I do in the classroom as described by the SAMR Tech Integration Model. My initial project ideas are for units that expand on the use of tech tools students already use in my classroom by using the Web 2.0 tools to share what they have learned.
I have used Fathom since teaching A.P. Statistics in Oregon in 2001. Students use the software to discover patterns in data using dynamic links between tables, graphs and statistical tests. My I.B. Math SL students have also used Fathom to complete their internal assessment type 2 tasks in mathematical modeling by using sliders to transform functions they think will fit the data. By using Fathom, I have redefined how students learn statistics concepts in my classroom. Now I would like to have them use Fathom in a statistics unit at a transformational level.
With the addition of Web 2.0 tools to my statistics unit I can transform my statistic lessons by having students use Fathom to explore the living conditions of Romanians and share their graphs and statistics they create online. I have recently been approved to use the data from the Integrated European Census Microdata website. This year the IB Math SL internal assessment changed from a 10 day type 1 or 2 portfolio task involving mathematical modeling or pattern investigation to an exploration of a mathematical topic of their choosing. Students will use Fathom and micro data to do a practice exploration project to describe a region of Romania in statistics and graphs that will be posted on a webpage of a Google Sites website. The American International School of Bucharest recently became a Google apps school under the domain name of go.aisb.ro. The students’ Google Sites page will include info graphics created by using Fathom, Gap Minder and one of the other info graphic creation tools.
Next semester due to scheduling conflicts I will not be teaching the middle school robotics course and the seniors in I.B. Math Studies will be reviewing for their I.B. exam. I will be teaching new material in only the previously mentioned Math SL course and my MYP Math Level 4 course so another Course 5 project option would be to do a tech transformation makeover of my geometry unit in MYP Math 4. MYP math students are graded on four criteria of knowledge and understanding, investigations, communication and reflection. My assessment of their reflections is the weakest link in how I grade my MYP math students. Currently I assign a project each semester that they write a reflection paragraph on and that determines their reflection grade for the semester.
I would rather give my students multiple opportunities to be assessed on reflection but I do not have the time to grade more multi page projects. To transform how I teach and assess reflection I would have students keep their own problem solving blog. The students would be assigned a problem from Dan Meyer’s Three-Act Math Tasks or a Three-Act Math Task I have created myself. They would would then be given 2 weeks to post an explanation of their math task solution using Java Sketchpad or GeoGebra to creative interactive elements on their blog posts. Students would then be assigned a new Three Act Math Task to work on for the next 2 weeks during which they will also be required to comment on two of the solutions posted on their classmates’ blogs. When 2 weeks have passed students will post their solutions to the second Three Act Math Task and write a paragraph reflecting on their solution to their first Three Act Math Task by responding to some of the comments posted by their peers.
I will need to learn new skills for both of these Course 5 project ideas. I have not used Fathom with micro data before and I am not sure how the graphs and tables produced using Fathom could be used with info graphics creation tools. I have created websites before using iWeb and Freeway Express but I have never used Google Sites. I have used Geometer’s Sketchpad for 18 years (an eternity in tech time!) but I have never used it to create interactive blog posts. Lastly I have never created a Three Act Math Task like the ones created by Dan Meyer.
Implementing either the Info graphic Romania Student Website or the Three Act Math Task Reflection Blogs will raise tech integration in my lessons to the transformational level. Both of these projects would be impossible to implement without the use of technology. Students creating the info graphic web pages will not only learn statistical concepts but will also learn about the living conditions of Romanians who were surveyed by the EU census. Students creating Three Act Math Task problem solving blog posts will be incorporating comments from their peers and possibly from students at other schools into their reflection writing. Removing the technology component from either Course 5 project idea will make the project impossible to implement which is the essential quality of a Transformational Mathematics unit.