Walk With Me, Old Math New Technology

I have found that there are many organizations to support the learning and teaching of math. I enjoy exploring what new creative pathways are being opened in the approaches of how to teach our future scholars. In addition to collaborating with our departmental cohorts within the school and local school districts, Mathematical resources offer access on both local to state and national levels. There is a vast array of resources available on the world-wide-web some with free access and many more with small cost memberships. Fun websites like Pinterest even have great math teaching and learning ideas. Google any grade level and mathematical concept and voila! options galore. A few websites that I have explored and keep available at a mouse clicks notice to support me as an upcoming math teacher are:

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Oregon Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Illustrative Mathematics Middle School Curriculum

These websites allow me to connect with other teachers across the math world not just here in Eugene, Oregon! I am able to access articles, videos, and free curriculum ideas with new trends to support teaching math. I love some of the simple to use sites like Annenberg Learner and Khan Academy which allow both teachers and students with internet access the ability to explore and expand learning concepts from home as well.

In addition to my own research for resources, I ask other educators what technology sites they are using to supplement their curriculums and learning. Teachers within Middle School are using different websites, however many have said they like to use such sites as Desmos and Prodigy. Students seem to agree that they like the use of these sites as well since they are often creative and interactive.

Often math is thought of in terms of numerical digits and variable expressions however there are many other aspects to math that are incorporated in the world in which we live. When we present our students with new ways to see math we open up possibilities how they may use math in their everyday lives.

The word technology in early 2018, gives way to the thought of a hand held computer type device. I think that these devices have their purposes and I appreciate their use as a tool in propelling individuals in forward movement though technology also includes the many hand tools that the past has given us. In today’s age of high-speed upgraded technology many of the tools of the past have been pushed wayside and not thought of as having a place in the world of math.

I want to show students that these old tools are very valuable in math today and in the future in which we are bringing forth. We have engineers that design and create who will use the newest technologies but those engineers then need persons to bring their creations to life. Simple tools such as hammers, pencils, and triangle squares are hand tools used to manipulate wood for construction of homes and other structures. Welders use extensive math to build and create machinery that propels productions of other materials. Seamstresses wield the powerful sewing machine as their technology tool to bring forth fashion and interior designs. The stove and all the wonderful kitchen gadgets found in a master chefs work environment all use mathematical calculations to fill the dining halls with fine tasting cuisines of the world. Integration of new technology is wonderful but if we forget to teach and use the simple tools, how can students master the difficult ones?

Technology is important to learn and use, however it should be used as a tool to enhance, challenge, and expand abilities not replace them. If my students can master their multiplication facts by use of their own brain (their first tool), then the calculator is a tool to propel them forward in their endeavors, but if they depend on the technology of a calculator to do the work then how will they learn to understand the simple concepts of greater technology and its uses? The use of new online applications to reinforce learning concepts can be fun and entertaining, such as within a math learning game like Prodigy though state testing dictates the student should be assessed to meet the standards and expectations without the use of technology. If I teach my students geometry and then ask them to design a quilt for their bed, I am able to assess their mathematical understandings, they are then able to use technology to their advantage producing their quilt for practical use, and then they have on their bed a constant reminder of their geometry lesson and the knowledge that they gleaned in the process.

I have never been in a math class that has incorporated use of small classroom capable tools to teach math, they have always been separated as Workshop and Home Economics type classes. My classroom will incorporate a mixture of both old and new technologies to bring forth the successes of our scholars.