Monday, April 12, 2010

Reflections on the 1:1 conference, where's math fit in?

First I want to take a second to thank the CASTLE group for putting on a great day! Scott Mcleod, Jamie Fasth, Nick Sauers, and John Nash; I much appreciate the efforts you put into the day.

It was a great day for two reasons.

1: I thoroughly  enjoyed connecting with so many people who I've "known" via twitter: Deron Durflinger, Mike Sansone, John Carver, Jeff Dicks, Evan Abbey, Brad Fox and many others.

2: The conversations and presentations really got me thinking. (This was almost as important as number 1.) There were two conversations in particular that I'd like to focus on.

The first conversation happened during one of the "un-conference" sessions that went on in one of the rooms. The leaders decided to leave a room open for discussions and spur of the moment topics. Russ Goerend and Matt Townsley led a session that got some great conversations going about we're 1:1, now what. What more can I do as a teacher, how do my students learn better with the computer in their hand? There were a couple of teachers who taught in 1:1 schools who struggled being forced into using the Macbook with their students. They didn't see the power it could bring to their classroom. To me, this showed a failure in two areas.

1: The school leadership at this school didn't go a good enough job of showing, helping and leading this teacher forward in their thinking.

2: The teacher had wall of sorts built, i.e. didn't want the technology or was afraid the students would know more about the machine then they would.

This saddened me as there were many teachers walking around who would jump at the chance to implement the changes these computers could have in their students learning!

Conversation number two that really sparked my interest was with Kim Carey and Deron Durflinger, both from Van Meter Schools. Deron had been wanting for Kim and I to connect and really work with some math stuff in their 1:1 setting. As we met, our conversation went to the difficulties she was having really utilizing the computer in the math curriculum. I've been struggling with this for quite some time. Now, I don't teach in a 1:1 school, but I've been reflecting on what that would look. I know about the Geometry tools that are available, but I want something more. How does a Pre-Algebra classroom really use a computer in all their activities?

If you have some great ideas, please share away!

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