BLOG 4: Reflection about my students

My placement at Cleveland Heights-University Heights High School, CHUH has been a great experience. My cooperating teacher, Mrs McDonald is an educator who truly cares about her students and wants to assist everyone in succeeding. The students generally respect Mrs. McDonald. One aspect where they lack respect is when they blatantly ignore her instructions to the point where she has to personally tell each student the instructions repeatedly. That being said, once they finally acknowledge Mrs. McDonald isn’t going to let them slip through the cracks they get to work and attempt to engage with the material being presented.

I have gotten to witness how much of an impact positively or negatively, technology can be in the classroom. First thing every class the students head to the portable laptop cart and get their designated Google Chromebook. The students log onto their class’ website that is full of hyperlinks to activities as well as going to Desmos, an online graphing calculator program that they use for all of their graphing and calculating needs. However, from this constant crutch develops a lack of personal growth. One time, as the students were working in groups and talking me through a problem they would state “Now, plug it into Desmos”. When prompted asking what Desmos did to produce that answer, they didn’t know. This overuse of technology frightens me as they move forward in math classes as their basic skills will not be internalized as Desmos would always do it for them. 

Through my conversations with the students, I have come to realize their phone is an extension of their body. They have to constantly have it on them and be going through social media or communicating with their peers. Almost every day, Mrs. McDonald has to remind them to get off their devices and engage with the material which has led to conflict a couple of times. However, as this may seem like a drag to do every day I can visualize using their phone to get them engaged in the material. These students are very savvy when it comes to technology and with the right modeling can witness how technology, social media specifically can benefit their learning of mathematics. Dalton states in Multimodal Composition and the Common Core State Standards the following, “We live in a multimodal world where being an effective communicator involves composing with media” (336). Educators are incorporating technology within their classroom and the students can interact with that given technology component but are failing to offer their students the opportunity to compose with media and create something from scratch. For example, they frequently post polls on their Instagram stories reaching out to their followers for an opinion. As an educator, you can use this to your benefit as they can develop a question that’s relevant to them, have them create a poll through their Instagram and then record and synthesize their results in a mathematical context. As well, they can categorize the responses to their question in relation to the demographics of their followers. From this data, they can create a digital story discussing their question and the results in fitting graphs. 

Producing these digital stories in a small group may lend beneficial to the students. Small groups are always a topic that individuals’ opinions vary on. In Mrs. McDonald’s classroom small group learning experiences are frequent and this generates mixed reviews. One student exclaimed, “I hate group work”. He followed up by explaining how it’s always one student doing the work for the entire group. I tried to articulate to this student that if all members of the group were participating equally, the appeal of group work is being able to achieve more in a short time frame and even though he may not enjoy it, small group work continues in all aspects of life moving forward. However, to have the students all participate equally it requires the students to be accountable for themselves and one another. Aside from this one indivdual, the majority of the students I talked to enjoyed working in small groups with their classmates as they benefited from the peer feedback. Dalton emphasizes this point with his claim “…part of the teaching and learning in digital designers’ workshop centers on learning how to be a contributing member of a creative partnership” (336). Incorporating digital storytelling engages small group work which leads to the students developing their ability to be an instrumental part of creating content that they can then reflect and be proud of.

Implementing digital storytelling not only gives the students an opportunity to showcase their talent with technology but captures their attention. With the component of student choice within the realms of digital storytelling, the students have their work have significant meaning to them. Gould’s findings stated in Trigonometry comes alive through Digital Storytelling supports this point. He concludes, “Almost all students were deeply engaged in their projects. The student’s motivation level throughout the project was significantly higher than what I typically observed when students solved story problems from the textbook” (Gould, 300). This notion could combat the problem that was prevalent in my observations. If the students were continuously working on their digital story they would enter the classroom and beginning working as they are excited about the content they are creating. Tying together, student’s interests, their technological capabilities and mathematical content can create more engaged students and deeper levels of learning.

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VIDEO GAMING POST 3

After reading through my fellow groupmate’s blogs I noticed that we all chose different games that incorporated various aspects of video gaming and all covered different mathematical material. Transformation Golf and Trig Mini Golf were both games that were specific to mathematics while Lumosity overall strengthened your critical thinking skills, memory, and attention. These skills are all valuable when it comes to mathematics but aren’t strict content standards.

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However, Lumosity did have games solely focused on math but unfortunately, they were locked so this would be an occurrence you would have to invest some money. Trig Mini Golf and Transformation Golf did not have any options to advance your play through purchasing something or creating an account and thus didn’t have the personalized feel that Lumosity could give you. As an educator, you have to weigh the pros and cons to each of these games and see what skills you would like to strength in your students.

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All three of these games are fun to play and have some sort of educational backing. As Squire states in From Content to Context, “games are interesting in that they are sites of naturally occurring, intrinsically motivated and learning” (pg. 22). These games highlight all of the quality aspects of good video games such as cycles of expertise, sandboxes, fish tanks, and pleasantly frustrating, that Gee touched on. Trig Mini Golf allows students to ace each step of trigonometric problems with cycles of expertise in a fish tank setting. Lumosity is a great sandbox as it eases you into each new game and gives you clear instructions. All three games are definitely pleasantly frustrating as I experienced a level of challenge throughout them but also knew I was capable of completing them. Through these games’ qualities, they truly reflect Squire’s statement which creates a learning environment that students can thrive in.

 

VIDEO GAMING POST 2

Transformation Golf is a fun game that requires students to utilize their knowledge of transformations to best adapt to the given hole. I believe expanding Transformation Golf into a guided activity with prompted questions and discussion would be the best implementation of this game in a classroom. Letting the students play freely could lead to issues as the hole has a reset button which allows the student to take as many strokes than erase them all after they have figured out the best route. As an educator looking at a student’s scorecard you wouldn’t know if they had the correct initial idea about the best transformations or if they restarted every hole after several attempts. Knowing that piece of information about the game design, lead me to conclude that using this game as more of a guided self-inquiry would be a better enrichment to the student’s learning of transformations. 

The vision I have for incorporating this in a classroom is having the students individually play the game to understand the technique and concepts that the game is incorporating. Then begin a guided worksheet with the first question having them use the game as a tool to check their work. The guided sheet would have each transformation listed with the necessary information that the students would have to draw their specific hole and do the transformation by hand then utilize Transformation Golf to see if their thinking aligns. Using Transformation Golf as a tool to enrich their thinking so they can conclude where their thinking might have gone astray. As Gee in The Anti-Education Era stated, “we humans evolved, in mind and body, to be tool users” (pg. 164), it is important for our students to develop an ease with using tools such as technology to benefit their thinking. Then following their brief interaction with the technology, they would communicate with their peers about how their thinking differed from what the Transformation Golf demonstrated the transformation to be. I feel as this communication component is important as Gee also stated “we humans think and act better when we do so by getting help of others and giving help to them” (pg. 164). Thus, if students are struggling with transformations they have their peers to talk through the ideas that Transformation Golf has brought to life.

Additionally, the guided worksheet would have them record their thought process and reasoning behind each move they made. This would allow the educator to see the development of their thoughts process through working with Transformation Golf. Having a supporting activity along with Transformation Golf would not only further the learning of transformations but keep the students accountable and on task through the duration of the video gaming usage.

 

VIDEO GAMING POST 1: Transformation Golf

I have never been a fan of golf unless it’s miniature or has a mathematical basis behind it. In geometry class, I did an activity with a compass and straightedge where we used line segments and various angles to get our golf ball in the hole. After thoroughly enjoying that activity I was excited to find “Transformation Golf” on Hoodamath. This uses 8th-grade geometry standards regarding dilations, translations, rotations, and reflections on two-dimensional figures using coordinates. The premise of this game is easy, you try to get a golf ball into the hole. The trick is you can only move the ball through translations, rotations, and reflections. normal.png

As well, once you are a few holes in the hole starts to change size thus having you toggle the dilation key to have the ball fit the newly sized hole.

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Throughout the gameplay, you have a running scorecard. This is a fun aspect they incorporated as it ties in the real details of golf play while also letting the students see how well they are doing at each hole to get the least amount of strokes by using the most effective transformations.

good scorecard.pngThe design of the game itself is very simplistic to the point where I believe they could have added a couple more features whether that be technical or aesthetic. However, it is very user-friendly as it gives brief instructions complete with descriptions of each mathematical term.

Screen Shot 2019-09-23 at 5.59.20 PM.png Transformation Golf really embodies the design characteristic “Customize” from Gee’s article “Good Video Games, the Human Mind, and Good Learning”. The students may be only comfortable with translations so they complete the hole solely by moving up, down, left and right. Through playing the game they will see that doing so is not the best method as you will have a high stroke count. Then the students can slowly begin to incorporate the other movements; rotation and reflections and discover how those can be more effective towards the end goal. Transformation Golf also has a feature that allows the teacher to get sent the scorecard. This could demonstrate to the educator the students who are taking the time to thoroughly plan their shot using their transformation knowledge versus those who may be only using one transformation repeatedly.

send report.pngLastly, “Customize” touches on the notion of failure. Transformation Golf combats failure well as you continue to play until you get the ball in the hole. Additionally, if you make a move that you realize was not the most effective you can restart the hole. This creates an environment where the students are not apprehensive about trying new things.

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Overall, I believe this is a useful tool to reinforce students’ knowledge of transformations. This challenges students to think about how transformations can build on each other in a low-risk fun environment. I personally really enjoyed playing this game and stayed engaged as each hole was different, requiring a new combination of transformations.

 

BLOG 1: ED 386 INTRODUCTION

1. Hi, I’m Chloe Pozderac. My preferred pronouns are she/her.

2.  I’m from Westlake, Ohio – a suburb roughly 40 minutes from John Carroll.

4. I love watching a good sunset cozy inside my hammock. That was definitely my most frequent event this past summer. I am the treasurer of my sorority, Kappa Kappa Gamma. This semester, my biggest goal is to stay positive and spread positivity wherever I go.

5. The biggest factor that allows me to take creative and intellectual risks is being comfortable with my fellow classmates and professors. If I know that my thoughts and ideas will be respected and well received I am much more willing to share and contribute. As well, proper instruction that gives clear detail on what is expected adds to my risk-taking ability.

6. This article is entitled Math Teachers Should be More like Football Coaches. My grandpa sent me this article this summer and it piqued my interest. I found it amusing because one of my high school math teachers also did coach our football team. And as I read it I realized it highlighted my personal experiences. One thing that stuck out to me was the comment about pep talks. This immediately took me back to my junior year pre-calculus class as the teacher I mentioned earlier would give us a daily pep talk to help motivate us to get excited about cosine graphs or whatever that days topic was. His enthusiasm for the material was infectious. It made the class want to perform their very best. This notion has stayed with me since and has reminded me that although the content may be important the passion behind which the content you are teaching is vital.

7. With it being your 20th year being a professor, what keeps you motivated and excited about the field of education? As well, is ED 386 your favorite class to teach since it is education technology and you are specialized in technology and education, if not do you have a favorite class?