My grant request entails getting tablets for each one of my students. I understand that 1-1 device programs seem like “the thing” right now and it may make some wonder if my pursuit of this is just me jumping on a bandwagon. Rest assured this request is driven by sound philosophies of learning and designed closely to develop the Six Facets of Understanding (Wiggins and McTighe) in my students.
I started this proposal with an eye towards what I wanted to accomplish with my students. I want them to gain and demonstrate a deep understanding of mathematics. As outlined in my introduction students frequently leave school with only a surface level of mathematics and this can hurt them in their future. To enhance overall understanding I want to focus on a few facets of understanding that will be especially developed with this technology.
The writing (and increased frequency in which it happens) will help explain their understanding of mathematics. This process forces students to put their understanding into words and sentences rather than simply going through the procedures of solving the problems. The prompts help with developing self-knowledge, but also are designed to help students interpret the mathematics beyond abstract concepts. Writing forces students to put concepts into a form that is understandable for other readers. In addition to having students write, these devices make visualizing higher level mathematics orders of magnitude easier than any other technology. The real power in this is that it gives students perspective and allows them to put concepts in context. They also provide a tool for applying mathematics to more difficult problems. Without these technologies students can get lost in mathematical concepts that the technology can handle easily. Lastly, these devices are ideal for giving frequent, formative feedback. This helps students understand what they don’t understand quickly, one of the most important factors in pushing understanding further.
(This is a project for my current grad class in the Master’s of Educational Technology program at Michigan State University. You can view my other projects here.)