The Reflective Educator

Education ∪ Math ∪ Technology

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Day: September 20, 2010

What’s missing?

Bill Gates thinks that a video with a nameless person showing math concepts is the future of education. He’s wrong. Here’s why.

In that video there is something missing. Some major feature of learning that is completely missing from all 1800 of the videos up on the Khan Academy website.

Do you know what it is? Of course you do!

Kids! None of the videos has kids asking questions about what is happening in the video. You can pause the video, fast forward it, rewind it to re-watch the video, but you can’t ask it any questions. The ability to ask questions is a critical part of the learning process.

You can still use these videos as part of your classroom because your students can pause the video, bring you over, and say "hunh?" They can ask questions. Until the student can ask questions of the video, it will never replace a classroom teacher; the best it can do is support good instruction.

Differentiating in Math Class Using Online Videos

I told my colleagues about the Khan Academy last week. They thought the idea of being able to access all these resources was incredibly cool.

One of them today built his entire lesson around the Khan Academy videos. You see he has a class with a very wide range of abilities. Some of the students know nothing about exponents, some of them know a tonne already. So he found all of the Khan Academy videos that related to the rules of exponents, organized them in order of difficulty and content area, then shared his list with his students through Moodle. The idea is that the kids get to start with the curriculum that they need rather than the curriculum which comes first in the book. It’s a great way to turn one teacher into 15.

When the students finish their video and feel that they have absorbed enough information, they were instructed to come back to my colleague and ask any questions they had and find out what problems from the text would be best for them to do. Here’s where my colleague discovered a flaw. After about 15 minutes, which is the length of one video, he suddenly had 22 8th graders asking him for problems. Wooops. Now he’s setting up the problem exercises in advance. It will blow his mind when I show him that he can use something like http://thatquiz.org to automatically give the students feedback on their problems as well…

Observations about the Pre-Internet generation

I’ve noticed some things about a few people I know in the Pre-Internet generation. Just sharing my thoughts here and wondering how we can help them. Note that these generalizations don’t apply to everyone in this generation, but almost never apply at all to anyone outside of it.

  • They often double click when they should single click
  • They single click when they should double click
  • They drag stuff around by accident because they forget to release the mouse before they move it again
  • They don’t scan the entire screen and look for instructions so they often have to repeat entering information on a form
  • They don’t keep track of multiple windows or tabs very easily
  • Each program looks completely different to them, they haven’t learned the commonalities of their programs
  • They find technology frustrating and slow, to them it is hardly ever reliable
  • They want to hide their lack of knowledge of technology
  • They generally don’t know the language of technology, icons, arrows, and other common notation is lost on them

Does this remind you of anyone you know? How can we help them? I can imagine it must be very frustrating to be in a technology rich world and not know how to use a lot of it, especially when it seems like every week there is something new you have to add to your repertoire of skills.

Resources for International Day of Peace

Here is a collection of resources I am building so my staff can talk about the International Day of Peace tomorrow. Hope they are useful.

5000 years of religion in 90 seconds (from here).

An interactive map which shows many of the conflicts between 1900 and 2004.

http://nobelprize.org/educational/peace/conflictmap/conflictmap.html

 

Lists of conflicts in recorded human history

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_wars

Note: You can add up the number of years we have been at war simply by taking the time to add up all of the wars listed on the previous page. This could be a great activity for your students.

 

Things you can do with your students

Check out this broadcast of events around the world celebrating world peace.

http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/2010/broadcast.shtml

Talk about the relationship between religion & conflict. Think of other reasons why conflict occurs. How could we be proactive in preventing some of these reasons from occurring.

 

Look at other activities you can do with your students here:

http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/calendar-activities/today-international-peace-20296.html

 

Sing along to Imagine by John Lennon