Author Archives: David Wees

Magical Hopes: Technology and the Reform of Mathematics Education

In 1992, Deborah Loewenberg Ball wrote an article called Magical Hopes: Manipulatives and the Reform of Mathematics Education. This article is intended to draw some connections between our use of manipulatives and our use of technology in math education, and hopefully offer some suggestions for improving the use of technology. There is a similar magical […]

A Teacher Reflects on Their Teaching

I received this email from a teacher I know and with their permission, I am posting it and my response here. Identifying information has been redacted from these emails.   So I tutor this Junior from Stuyvesant in Algebra 2. But her text book is College Algebra & Trigonometry. Her parents feel the materials I […]

Open Source Curriculum

I know of people who are proud that they do not use a textbook and that they eschew all formal curriculum resources. I used to be one of those people but no longer. If we define curriculum broadly as a collection of physical and digital resources that are used to support teachers with students in […]

The Great American Teach-Off

I’m part of the design team for Chalkbeat’s Great American Teach-Off and I’ll be coaching one of the pairs of math teachers. From Chalkbeat: The event, to be held in March at the SXSW EDU conference in Austin, Texas, will build on live-format shows that celebrate the hidden craftsmanship in other professions — think Top […]

Quiz Banker

Last year, I created a prototype of a tool that takes Google Documents linked from a spreadsheet and merges them together. During the summer, Frandy and Erik from our Data and Systems team along with some other members of the Cloudlab team at New Visions for Public Schools upgraded the tool into a Google Sheets […]

Approximating Teaching Practice

When someone is learning a new practice, it is common to isolate that practice from other elements of the greater body of work they are also learning. For some areas of learning, this is easier to do than others. For example when learning how to play the piano, one can reasonably easily practice scales and […]

How to use technology with only one computer

A very common situation in many classrooms is that there is only one computer and it is usually attached to a projector. How can one meaningfully use technology under these circumstances?     Here is a strategy that may help when you want students to use an interactive tool but either have limited access to […]

Responding to Student Mistakes

A while ago, I had something very similar to the following shared with me. The student was given the diagram and asked to find the measure of the angle marked with the question mark. The student has clearly made a mistake. Why did they do it? I asked on Twitter and here are some theories: Using […]

Online Practice is Terrible Practice

One of the ways computers are being used in math education is to provide students with online practice. There are a bunch of serious problems with most of these programs.   Here is one example from the Khan Academy (apparently at least one of the flaws outlined below no longer applies to the Khan Academy. […]

10 things that might actually disrupt US education

There’s a list being shared of ten things that will disrupt US education and I agree with Dan Willingham. My bold prediction: none of these 10 will disrupt education. None. — Daniel Willingham (@DTWillingham) October 16, 2017   In no particular order, here are ten things that might actually disrupt US education.   Teachers […]