Thursday, April 23, 2009

Collaborating on Math

Teachers' Lounge Series, part 1 of 4

I was extolling the virtues of Google Docs in the lunch room when my math teacher friend, Tony, pointed out that when he uploaded files to Docs they lost their format, thus rendering his charts and diagrams useless. I need this kind of feedback as I try to grasp the implications of Web 2.0 beyond my own disciplines of English and social studies.

Since that conversation, I've kept my eyes open for collaborative instruments that might be useful for math teachers. It would be presumptuous for me to evaluate teaching tools. My daughter earned AP credit after taking calculus from Tony, so I'll gladly leave methodology to him and his colleagues. But by keeping my ears open for tweets and recommendations from my Web 2.0 advocacy pals, I've come across three resources that I would like to pass along:

If one is looking for online calculators, sample wiki sites and a smattering of this or that, check out Web 2.0 Math Tools. The site has a nice aggregation of math teaching aids.

Hippocampus provides a potentially very helpful set of resources because they correspond to the chapters in many popular high school texts. I've recommended this to our social studies department, but the math sections look just as good or better, and provide detailed slides on subjects ranging from Algebra 1 to advanced levels of calculus.

Teachers who register for slideshare (its free) may take or add slides freely. The last time I checked, there were 170 slide shows posted by geometry teachers. This is a case where I actually thought the math resources were more intriguing than most other subjects. Nevertheless, I registered and conveniently connected it to my Linked In. (I think it would be worthwhile to post a slide show resume there).

Both of the previous recommendations pale in comparison to the gem which came to me via Twitter. As one who has tried his own bookless course, I was quite interested to learn of the Math Open Reference Project. The goal of this project is to provide high quality teaching content with such technical advantages over the traditional textbook as accessibility, interactivity, lower cost (free), hyperlinks (yea!) and instant feedback on quizzes. The first phase of the project will be the completion of a geometry reference. It occured to me that a math department of a school could easily collaborate in a similar way on a smaller scale. I pieced together my bookless curriculum one module at a time. A team collaborative project would have multiple benefits regardless of how narrow or ambitious it became.

Please feel ree to inveigh against these resources or contribute others in the comment section!

On April 27, part two, "Teaching Literature Unbound"

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"Slide Rule" Creative Commons photo by Roger Smith

2 comments:

Katy K. said...

Great ideas, Larry. You know, you would be a great school media specialist! You are doing just what I should be doing and what many in my field ARE doing, facilitating the connections between learning and technology, and encouraging the education about information gathering. ....Gee, maybe I shouldn't admit that! Hate to have my job in jeopardy.

Larry Baker said...

Thanks for your post, Katy. As I've noted before, our media specialists do a great job offering tech support and ideas to staff. My place here in the trenches offers a unique perspective and experience tool set. I'd like nothing better than to be freed up to offer more staff in-service and school-wide curriculum development using Web 2.0.

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