Monday, November 16, 2015

Math, Technology, & Engagement

Monica Morrissey shares the exciting changes happening in her middle level math classes:

Many changes are happening in Middle School math classes at Hazen Union High School: most notably, the use of blended learning tools of - Schoology, EdPuzzle, Prodigy.

First, we began using the Learning Management System called Schoology. It creates a place for all assignments, quizzes, resources, discussions, grades and much much more. It amazes me how quickly students can adapt to new programs. They figure out things quicker than I can explain them. Then they share with each other and education has just transformed before our eyes. To get an idea of how Schoology works, one should take a look. Here is what 7th graders worked on during class on Friday:

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We had some technical difficulties as the pre-test on integer values didn’t quite work, but everything else went well! Students watched an EdPuzzle video and answered questions during the video! Teachers can then score how well each student did right on the program. Students get results almost immediately. Teachers know exactly which students need more help on a topic. Here is a link to show what an EdPuzzle video is like Number Song.  Students were all engaged and ready to go on at their own pace. Some students asked me questions during the video and others were able to go ahead to the next activity. Just one way we are transforming learning opportunities. Here are student comments about EdPuzzle:

“I liked learning with a video because it allowed me to re-watch, and backtrack, if I forgot something, or if I was not paying attention.”
“The video was good for me because I'm more a visual learner and he explained it clearly. Also I liked how we stopped and answered questions to make sure I knew what I was doing.”
“I like it better this way because you have to show that you are paying attention and it is very interactive!”
“I like when the guys asked us the questions it popped up and then after we answered the question he would then give us the answer and we would know if we got i right or not.”

Student reflected on completing the EdPuzzle video by having an interactive conversation on Schoology. Here is one of the discussions:

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In math, we focus on the development of a variety of different skills. These skills help students make the next steps in math that they will need to get ready for High School.  At Hazen Middle School, students have been practicing their math skills in a game called Prodigy. It is a video game platform but to play you have to solve many math problems. As the student answers questions, a report is sent immediately to the teacher about how the student did on each skill. Here is what the game looks like:

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As the students complete different skill levels, this is what the report looks like on the teacher’s computer:

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Students are having an amazing time practicing their skills and teachers know how to plan their next skill lesson!

Some students asked to come in during lunch to practice their math skills and when I tried to give them a 5 minute break, most of the class just kept playing the game and working on their skills! Some students have been playing it on their own time and already have completed over 200 math questions!  

So, back to our question…can the integration of technology, including both teacher and student use, help students learn and learn about their learning? This week is a most definite YES, as students were very engaged in their learning!