Saturday Morning Reflections from Twitter

My colleagues often hear that one of my best sources for professional learning is Twitter. Well it’s true. Here are some Saturday morning reflections.

When I read this I had an ‘ah ha’ moment about where we have come from and where we are going in education and online learning. Here is a quote from this article, Constructionism vs. Instructionism.  The subject in the quote is mathematics but we could be talking about any subject, the point is the distinction between teaching and learning.

“What I was going to talk about if I had been there, is about how technology can change the way that children learn mathematics. I said how children can learn mathematics differently, not so much how we can teach mathematics differently. This is an important distinction.” Seymour Papert

I think this explains something that’s very helpful.

Many online programs were developed because technology enabled us to teach differently. The focus was on teachers doing things in new ways.  It was exciting and innovative. How do we put ‘curriculum’ online?  It is, was, a lot of work, there is no doubt about that. I recall reading news articles on how technology will change the way we teach.

As teachers we know that our work is really about student learning and we certainly have integrated many effective practices into online courses with that focus. Yet, I think we could reflect on the work we do and see where we got stuck on,  ‘technology changes how we teach’.  We need to ask ourselves have we taken full advantage of how technology changes how students learn?

Technology enables kids to learn differently and that’s the direction we need to go or educators will be left behind by students who are already learning in new ways. Take a look at this TEDxWestVancouverED talk.

There are several articles here  Constructionism vs. Instructionism. All well worth reading.  I also liked this”

So, in a way, the computer becomes invisible. The computer becomes just an instrument. I said if you asked that child making the picture, “What are you doing?” she would have said, “Making a picture, making a bird.” It’s interesting to compare this — imagine going to a poet and saying, “What are you doing?” You’d be very surprised if the poet said, “I’m using a pencil”. The poet would have said, “I’m writing a poem,” or, maybe, “Just leave me alone, I’m busy.” Of course the poet was using a pencil, but that’s not worth mentioning, and the same should be true of computers.” Seymour Papert

It’s a scary mathematical world out there! Hmm… really?

Math, math, math, what are your thoughts on this subject?

Is it true that math is portrayed as a hard subject? As a student have you ever received the message that  some people are math people and others are not?

Do we hold stereotypical messages about gender or race and ability to do math?

When you were in school what did you think about your own ability to do math?

You might be surprised to hear:

“All students can achieve at the highest levels in maths at all levels of school right up to the end of high school.”

Yes, there are countries in the world where this is the expected norm.

This summer I am using this blog to reflect on my learning in the course: How To Learn Math by Jo Boaler. This course is intended for teachers and parents and presents new research ideas on learning, the brain, and math that can change the way you think about math and how we learn.

The ideas on this blog will be a combination of my reflections and notes from the course.  My hope is that along the way I’ll add clarity, and a deeper understanding to what I already know about math instruction and gain new ideas on how enlarge and enrich the world of math for my students. I hope you’ll join me in this adventure.