Saturday, September 15, 2012


I am continuing to enjoy ALEKS very much.  The students are very engaged with it and they are clearly learning.  I learned two important things in the pilot last year that I have successfully changed for this year.  One is that they really need a place to do scratch work.  I bought them all inexpensive composition notebooks and handed them out on the first day of lab.  I collected them a few days ago and made comments on their work, I will continue to collect them occasionally to make sure they are using them productively.  Last year, when I didn't do this, they tried to do the work in their heads or use some scratch pad thing on the screen with the mouse.  Neither one of these methods contributed to good math habits, so I'm glad I've made scratch paper a requirement.

The second thing I learned is that it would be better if the ALEKS we were doing in lab was correlated to the material we were doing in class.  Fortunately, the nice people at ALEKS were willing to add my textbook to the list of books that can be used to control the order in which they see the objectives.  This helps make the lab experience more meaningful and I like how it is going so far.

Another small thing that makes ALEKS work well is the class playlist that I am building on Spotify.  I have a subscription music service, so it's easy to take their suggestions and add them to the list.  The music in the background adds a nice touch of atmosphere and it helps keep them happy.

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