Task 5- Let’s put it on an iPad and see if they pay more attention?
I think I took a lot more away from the article this week than I did the video if I’m honest. I think that Wolfram’s talk was interesting enough but, in essence, I fundamentally disagree with the majority of what he’s saying. I do agree that there needs to be an emphasis on the real life basis of our problems but I think that letting the computers do every calculation for us is a dangerous thing. To me, the thing that makes me love Maths is the calculations if I’m honest. I like to sit their and write out problems and work them out- I’m less inclined towards a problem if I’m asked to use Excel to solve it. For me, it takes the fun and ownership out of it. This being said some may argue that using technology that is more interesting can give ownership and solving with Excel is not the edge of how technology can help.
As Willingham clearly articulated in his article- the presence of technology alone does not aid the learning of students. I think this can also be seen through the evolution of using computers in schools for maths- or lack there of. A large proportion of teachers who have been in the job for a long time have recently had more and more technology thrust upon them to ‘improve’ their teaching and the learning of their students, without the proper training. In my school we were given a budget to buy a classroom set of iPads for our department. Since they have been set up they have only really been used a handful of times. Part of my interview process I had to set up some plans of lessons that could use the iPads. Trying to encourage some of our department, some of whom are still annoyed at the online registration system we have, to use these was pretty much impossible. Even some of our newer, more technological advanced, members of staff were scared of using them.
I think one of the biggest risks when using iPads or computers is having trust in the students to not mess around on with technology. One way of combating this, which has been adopted by a few of my colleagues, is to let the students have time to play around with the iPads for 10 mins at the start and assume that this will get it out of their system. Maybe if the iPads and the apps on them were used more often then the ‘new and unique’ that stems from using them would become normality and no one would look for the ‘jingling of the collar’.
I have to admit that I was a huge fan of Meyer’s Desmos problems we were looking at in our seminar. I am in the process of trying to get these downloaded onto our iPads to improve how we use them and how we keep the students engaged- as we know that students are not as good at multi-tasking as they would like us to think.