So the year is clicking along and I'm trying lots of things and reading about lots of things. Where am I on using technology in math class? It's very clear that there is a use in the teaching of teachers. I learn so much from the blogs I read. Tomorrow's lesson plan on factoring has two activities that I read about in blogs and one that I found at NCTM last year. I save ideas using a mind mapping program I found in a blog, there have just been so many good suggestions out there. I also think it's useful to post my class material online. I take class notes on the SMART Board and I post those along with the worksheets on my class web site. There is a nice record there for anyone who is ill and it's helpful for students who just want to look at things again at their own pace.
Just how useful is it, though, to use technology to help individual students learn? So many things cost money and I'm starting to wonder if I'm not just bought into some Silicon Valley get rich scheme. I think ALEKS is a great tool in lab to help students learn at their own pace, but it costs $30 per student per year. I'm writing a free online book for algebra 1 at ck12.org, but not all of my students have access to it at home. I print out the homework for people, but I feel funny making a lot of online book work required if every student doesn't have a computer at home and it's expensive to level the playing field there. I'm intrigued by formative and summative assessment programs that track individual student progress and keep students testing only where they need it. This would also be easier if everyone had their own tablet or Chromebook or whatever. Not cheap... I think there is a lot of potential in this new connectedness, but I'm trying to think critically about products that deliver value for the money.
I'm also starting a new class where students learn about STEM careers and this pilot program is one to one. I'm using technology in a whole different way there. I'm showing them how to make a personal learning network around their career area of interest, I am encouraging a lot of time online. They will also be shadowing STEM professionals in my community, I'm hoping this combination of hands on experience and online learning will be a valuable experience. I blog about this class at ehsstem.blogspot.com