Saturday, November 28, 2009

Making Math Real

I'm always on the lookout for resources for the math and science teachers. Not only do I want to show them how to use the wiki in their classroom, but also to share cool web 2.0 technologies to help make math 'real'. The oft heard, "But what do I need this for in real life?" is a challenge to every teacher, especially the math ones. Current educational reforms address the need to 'make content relevant' with the shift from content to competency. So, with that in mind, I'd like to share a few cool resources.

1. Tim Fahlberg's Math24/7 wiki is the result of his dream to assemble 500 plus mathcasts made by teachers and students alike. (A "cast" is a recording of the computer screen.) Check out his wiki and request access if you want to join the team.

2. My PLN (Personal Learning Network on Twitter) gave me this website this week by TRC, an architectural firm that designs real life scenarios where math is essential. These short videos are wonderful and show how math is 'real'. (I love the cake artistry one myself!)

3. If you just google 'math wikis' you'll see plenty of public wikis that teachers are ready to share. This one has lots of mathcasts made by students at the secondary one level. Alan November reminded the us at the recent Refresh, Rethink IT conference in Montreal that students should be making screen casts themselves. This is a great learning evaluation situation for them and easy to do. With free screen recorders such as JING and the screen recorder option on Smart Notebook, making a screen cast is easy.

4. If you haven't already started using Twitter, you should seriously consider it as a powerful learning network. Don't feel intimidated by the volume and noise of the traffic. Decide on how you want to use your Twitter voice and be selective about who you follow. For example, on the home page, type in math related key words searches and see who comes up. I'm following 'mathmadesimple', a teacher from Indiana. Look at who they follow and learn from their PLN! Twitter is a very powerful search engine that can connect you with like-minded educators.

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