Posted in mailbag on May 25th, 2009 No Comments »
Cigotie and his mom stopped by this weekend to register their opinion on the obstacles to creative growth facing today's students. Both are extremely good-natured, especially since they are responding to a post entitled, "How Do You Solve A Problem Like Cigotie?"
Cigotie: I also see many kids online doing the same exact thing, as inspirations like Video CoPilot, Creative Cow, etc. And I also agree on how people are getting too sucked into a world, full of copying and project file manipulation, that they have lost all creativity themselves.
Jason Dyer, responding to my NLOS cannon post:
Since I’ve done this over the summer with real life bottle rockets, a launcher that could be set at any angle, and a vertical target, I’m not finding the computerized version nearly as interesting. I’ve also run a simpler version of this in my classroom with wads of paper. Why must everything be digital? [emph. added]
Hopefully I've made clear by now my preference for pedagogy over technology. If digital media makes for inferior learning, then, by all means, let's stuff it in a burlap sack and toss it in the river. My preference is also for the real thing over a digital simulation of the real thing. That said, there are three circumstances where digital media is preferable to the real thing:
- The real thing is too expensive. I'd rather let every kid hold a photo of a measuring cup than spend $100 for a class set of measuring cups. It's too expensive to take a class trip to the Yucatan Peninsula so perhaps we can forgive ourselves for showing photos of the Mayan pyramids instead. I'd much rather copy and paste Google's satellite imagery into a Keynote presentation than charter a plane to take my kids up in groups.
- The real thing is too mathematically noisy for classroom use. Jason prefers a real demonstration of projectile motion using bottle rockets to my use of online simulators but that introduces acceleration and wind resistance— mathematical noise — into the system. Let's not romanticize the real or the digital. They are both deficient. They both require a cost-benefit analysis.
- The real thing can't be iterated precisely enough. I wanted to show my students several misses with "Will it hit the can?" — long, short, and to the side — and at least one success. If my students were live with me, on the scene, they would see many, many, many misses, most of which would be mathematically unhelpful. My students can also measure and manipulate digital media (by modeling a parabola in Geogebra, tracking motion in Logger or Tracker, etc.), something they can't do with live events.
Posted in mailbag, review activities on September 27th, 2008 10 Comments »
I played [math basketball] today in class. Class versus the teacher. When I told them I never lose, this was all the motivation they needed.
This kind of hyper-authoritative faux-confidence informs at least 50% of my student-teacher interaction, letting me acknowledge to them that, yeah, I realize this particular lame-duck teacher is real, that I don't like them any more than my students do, letting me have some cake and eat it too. We get along.
Tracy W, on making sure your stick/carrot is really a stick/carrot:
The [student] gets to define what is a positive reinforcer and what is a negative reinforcer, not the [teacher].
Lots more where that came from in the most recent episode preview.
Posted in mailbag on March 7th, 2008 No Comments »
Your own husbands and wives don't know you as well as Jeff knows me:
You’re just shaking the bee’s nest while covered in powdered sugar, a big ol’ grin on your face and your buddy taping the whole thing for some sort of amateur Jackass production.
That's basically it.