Here is the problem…

The Discussion Board Prompt and my response.  The TPAK framework is here – it is a really interesting model and is not hard to read.  Dr. Penny has really had me fired up the past few weeks!!

First, describe the topic or concept and explain why it is difficult for learners to understand it. Then, after you have defined the problem, explain what technology you would use and how you would use it to help students overcome those difficulties.

Math teachers are only available for one hour of class time and then, if you are lucky, 30 minutes at some other point in the day.  We have been teaching math the same way since Pythagoras introduced all of his brilliant theorems all those many years ago: the teacher speaks, maybe draws some stuff in the sand (chalkboard), takes a couple of questions, class over.

People all over the world struggle with math and, in my humble opinion, it is becuase we are teaching it all wrong.  Students usually get one shot to understand very complicated material – sometimes a couple of shots.  But if you don’t understand the first time you see it, trouble comes calling and math becomes very difficult.

I think that technology can provide some help with this challenging topic.  Technology is not the big solution, sweeping in to save the day.  Technology is part of a process of dialogue that can help students get comfortable with the math and become confident in their math skills.

This is why I am in love with TPAK – its like a mini circle of life.  Teachers have to understand the content that they are teaching.  Technology will not make me an instant, super amazing, English teacher.  I have no pedagogical knowledge at all about English.  I hav a hrd enuf tym…I do know technology, I do know math, I understand and can utilize mathematical pedagogy.  These things give me the super power to reach students on any continent at any time.

By using some screencasting software, google docs, and a writing tablet, I can create a video that a student can watch at any time.  I understand common mistakes that students make and can point those out.  Students can skip to the parts of the math where they are having difficulty.  Students can rewind a part that they are fuzzy on.  Students can Tweet me a question when they get stuck.  Students can rewatch challenging concepts before a test.  Students can learn when they are ready.  No longer is my lesson occuring for students in 1 hour chunks of time.  They can get content and feedback almost 24/7/365.  How is this bad?

The cool thing is that students can ask me questions during our time together.  They have the opportunity to talk with other students about common issues.  They can ask me very specific questions about the content.  I will use my pedagogy to help them understand and create connections to other places.

As teachers we should always seek ways to help our students, right?  So if technology can help me do that, why would I not use it?

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