Saturday, December 30, 2006

Open minded sceptic

A few months back I was asking a student in my Geometry class about what they were learning in an EdTech class she was taking. She told me that they spent most time learning about blogs. I was flabbergasted! "What a waste of time", I thought. It seemed to me that future mathematics teachers would be better off if they learned about and how to use various educational software, like Geometer's Sketchpad , or Cabri , or GeoGebra, or others. I didn't really think about this much until I read the blogs my students created for that class, and ran into a link to Darren Kuropatwa's blogs . I've only had a few hours to look through some of the blogs there, and it is now little bit more clear to me how and why we would want to use them in our teaching. Hence, this blog. There seem to be a community here that I've never heard of before, and I am hoping to spend some time browsing through their postings and figuring out what works and what doesn't. One of my pet peeves with the education today is that I don't believe students write enough and if that is the only benefit of blogs (and I believe there are many more) it would be worth incorporating them into the classroom.

There is a really exciting semester ahead of me. Learn more about blogs, and how to use them successfully in a math classroom (I may have an easier time with this as my students are potentially more blog savvy than high-school students), to teach my pre-service teachers how to use them, to be a mentor (hopefully), visit high school and elementary classrooms, and I won't even start on my reading list. Speaking of reading, I rembered pre-service teachers' concerns about having to follow a specific text and being bogged down by stringent curriculum while reading the following in a book by Liping Ma :

In China, teaching a course is considered to be like acting in a play. Although an actor has to know a play very well and can interpret it in an original way, he or she is not supposed to write (or rewrite) the play. Indeed, a well-written play will not confine an actor's performance or creativity but will rather stimulate and inspire it.

What I was thinking back then, and what this quote indicates is that a textbook and curriculum are supposed to be tools, not crutches. You just need a good one. Hmm, I guess that goes for just about anything under the sky.