Monthly Archives: May 2012

Annie Fetter on the development of math teachers

  Annie gives a very short talk that highlights some of the issues in math education, and which I can tie to work various people have done on learning. Everyone who is trained to become an educator has some fairly strong intuitive sense of what it means to be an educator. They have seen educators […]

Multidisciplinary projects in schools

It is my experience that we compartmentalize knowledge entirely too often in schools, labelling some ways of learning mathematics, other ways of knowing science, and still other ways of knowing the humanities. We compartmentalize knowledge so much in schools that I believe it leads to what I like to call Sitcom teaching, in which each […]

My grandmother on learning how to write

My grandmother, Frances Shelley Wees, was an author and as such, she would often receive letters from people, particularly young women, asking her how she got started. A kind stranger found this letter from my grandmother to her grandmother (Mrs Hanson) in her possession, found me online, and emailed me a scanned copy of her […]

Parent questions about technology

A parent today told me how much she enjoyed the session I had with parents about technology use last year, and said that she had talked about the session with a group of parents from the school. She said it would be wonderful if I could do it again, but she also thought parents may […]

Mathematical notation is broken

Having spend the last ten years teaching students mathematical notation (while simultaneously teaching the mathematical concepts described by these symbols), I have often reflected on how efficient and amazing it is, and how unfortunately broken it often is. Some notation shows off some of the power of mathematical thinking (for example, algebra), but some notation […]

Video explanations using animation

Derek Muller sent me this link to a very popular video animation that attempts to explain fundamental forces in nature. You can watch it for yourself below.     The video uses analogy and some cute animations to attempt to explain how forces in nature come from difference between measurements of those forces in different […]

Disease simulation

Yesterday, our learning specialist for science, Ana, read an article about how games are used to help simulate the spread of disease. She suggested that we could turn this into a collaboration between biology and math, and create a game so that students learn some of the principles of the spread of disease (which is […]

Research on word processors in student writing

I was looking for research on whether word processors are effective when students are learning to write. So far the research is supportive, but I can’t find any research done recently. I suspect there must be research that is current and supports students using word processors. Please let me know if you have any research […]

Student brings typewriter to class

In this video, shared with me by Philip Moscovitch, a student has brought a type-writer into class. Is this perhaps, as Philip suggested, a protest against the use of an old pedagogy by bringing in an old technology? Does the use of a typewriter to record notes seem a bit ridiculous? Is it even more […]

Can you teach thinking?

Derek Muller: "Can you teach a general thinking skill?" John Sweller: "I don’t believe you can. It can be learned, it is learned, and it is biologically primary…If you are talking about a teachable thinking skill, one you have to specify it, you have to provide evidence that it has been taught and learned and […]