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Rescooped by Corinne Tomaszewski from Making Math Meaningful
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How To Make Math Meaningful

Edutopia.org's Director of Video Programming, Zachary Fink, interviews UC Berkeley professor Dor Abrahamson about how to increase students' understanding of ...

Via Samantha Hines
Corinne Tomaszewski's insight:

I agree with my colleague, Samantha, “Dor Abrahamson really drives a clear point about making math meaningful.” In this edutopia video he goes on to describe math as a way of making sense of the things around us. It is a way of thinking and a way of problem solving. So many people think of math as an equation or process and cannot see the reasoning or meaning behind the numbers. It’s the classic, “when will I ever use this?!” that we hear so often in our classrooms and have said ourselves a number of times. Making math meaningful is so important if we want our students to learn and be able to apply their knowledge later on. But that starts with making the math accessible and concrete. Throwing out numbers and equations doesn’t help; a student may know to use a specific process when problem solving to get an answer but they cannot break that process down to make meaning of what they are doing. I really like what Professor Abrahamson says about helping students connect what their brains already know how to do and the methods they are being taught so that they can do much more than just scribble number and actually really get it and apply it in the real world. I think this is where some educators may be faced with a dilemma. While this seems so obvious and important, there are limitations. With testing and miles of topics to be reached in the curriculum it can be difficult for students to reach that meaningful understanding while still getting through the curriculum and performing well on tests. I think this is why we need to really look at how students are learning math and adapt to their understandings so that we can reach the best possible outcome.  

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Samantha Hines's curator insight, December 14, 2013 8:01 PM

Dor Abrahamson really drives a clear point about making math meaningful in this edutopia video. He opens the video by saying that mathematics is a way of thinking and a way of solving problems. While some may see this definition as too broad and over-arching, I think that it’s the perfect way for educators and students to see that math can be meaningful and applicable to many different contexts. If we encourage our students to see math as a way of thinking and a way of solving problems, they can see the purpose of math (how many times have I said, “When will I ever use this!?” as well as be aware that they can take what they learn in one situation and apply it to another. By making math meaningful and connecting it to students’ lives and experiences, we as educators are encouraging them to make sense of the world - not just make sense of x, y, and other numbers. Professor Abrahamson made a great point; he said that unless we can ground math concepts into something concrete, students will never get it. This just seems to be common sense - yet why don’t more teachers strive to make math meaningful? Unless we do so, math concepts and formulas and numbers are arbitrary symbols that mean absolutely nothing - and why would our brain choose to remember arbitrary things that don’t benefit us? It’s one of the basic functions of the human brain: use it or lose it. Unless students see a way to use what they’re learning in math, it can almost be guaranteed to be out of their brain days after a test. I am living proof of this notion. I had a sense of how to compute numbers, but absolutely no understanding deeper than that and no desire to acquire knowledge deeper than that. With the ever changing and demanding world we live in, educators want the same thing that Professor Abrahamson does: we want our learners to go out into the world, identify phenomena, see patterns, and use math ideals and concepts in their lives to solve problems they care about. What better way to encourage students to use math than to identify a cause they care about and something they’re intrinsically motivated to work towards (an idea for project-based learning, perhaps?) Instead of introducing students to weird number relationships (hello, fractions!) and saying, “it is that way just because”, we should instead try to get them to see the world mathematically. By seeing Professor Abrahamson work with his mathematical image trainer, I was opened to the idea that students can manipulate objects and work toward the understanding of a concept without even seeing a number. What a novel, backwards idea - but it makes perfect sense! It would be much more beneficial to introduce students to the most basic, underlying main idea of something before throwing numbers at them. This is a great way to engrain images students will carry with them instead of just numbers and procedures that they’ll forget before the end of the year. With these images, students can become masters of their mathematical knowledge so they can solve the problems of the world. 

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How to Fall in Love With Math - New York Times

How to Fall in Love With Math - New York Times | Making Math Accessible and Meaningful | Scoop.it
How to Fall in Love With Math
New York Times
BALTIMORE — EACH time I hear someone say, “Do the math,” I grit my teeth.
Corinne Tomaszewski's insight:

I can't count the times I've heard students, peers, or even myself say, "When will I ever use this?" referring to mathematics. It's kind of sad and I never understood how sad it was until I read the section of this article that details how we can appreciate art without being able to paint, or appreciate music without knowing how to play an instrument. There is so much application for math and every one can appreciate and value something that can be related to mathematics. In my classroom, I hope to enthuse my students with the power of mathematics so that they can be life-long explorers and advocates for math and they can pass that on to future generations. 

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Kristina-Maria Paspalis's curator insight, December 1, 2013 11:43 PM

I found this great article on Rebecca's Scoop It page, and I am so glad that I did! I hope that by scooping it on my page, more interns can find this and engage in a reading that will enlighten them on how to make math more meaningful. I gained perspective by reading this article because I never really thought about how people say "Do the math", and how that compares to other subjects. I have been musically inclined my entire life, and not once have I ever heard my many private music teachers tell me to "do the music" during our lessons. I presume this is because music is something that cannot be done, and math is exactly the same way. You can't do something that you don't understand, and the key to understanding is developing at least some level of respect for it, if you will. Students must be given the opportunity to see the value of math for what it is instead of thinking about math in terms of worksheets and mindless activities. The key to falling in love with math as the article states, is having a context where you can develop your own understanding. Just like with music, everyone interprets math differently, but each person develops their own understanding of it based on this. I think this is a really deep concept and I am just beginning to scratch the surface of this idea. 

Julie Price's curator insight, December 11, 2013 10:48 PM

I love this article and I think that it highlights a lot of what we have talked about in our math methods course. Changing the focus of math from just mundane arithmitic to broader, project based types of assignments would really open students eyes to how fun and creative math can be. I think that the new curriculum 2.0 in MCPS is a step in this direction with math. I want to create the culture of learning described in this article in my classroom and make math time fun AND meaningful at the same time. It was also interesting to read some of the other comments made to the editor. They show that we are really at a crossroads with how people believe math should be taught in schools.

Laura Jane's curator insight, December 15, 2013 11:32 PM

As Corinne and Rebecca have already stated, this article delves deeper into the recurring question: "When will I actually use this??" So frequently, I catch myself being unable to explain how to perform a mathematical operation because it was so ingrained in my head HOW to do it, but now WHY we do it. It's hard to think of ways to mix up math, because it is one thing that has changed very little for hundreds of years. This article discusses that students perceive the traditional paper and pencil method of learning math as boring... Who can blame them?? We have way to many resources, and technology is too readily available, for our math lessons to be outdated and monotonous. This article offers many ideas for making students "fall in love with math," and I think the first step is for us to fall in love with it ourselves, as teachers. 

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For the Classroom

For the Classroom | Making Math Accessible and Meaningful | Scoop.it
Corinne Tomaszewski is using Pinterest, an online pinboard to collect and share what inspires you.
Corinne Tomaszewski's insight:

I could 'pin' for hours! And I've found a lot of great things for my future classroom, follow me! :)

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Rescooped by Corinne Tomaszewski from Digital Delights
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Of MOOCs and Technology: Why True Education Is Not Content Delivery

Of MOOCs and Technology: Why True Education Is Not Content Delivery | Making Math Accessible and Meaningful | Scoop.it
Today's students don't need more technology; they don't need more PowerPoint and computer-based learning platforms. What they need are enthusiastic and talented and creative teachers and professors who see education not as a job but as a calling.

Via Ana Cristina Pratas
Corinne Tomaszewski's insight:

This article brings up a lot of great points. What struck me first was the mention that students are delivered content and taught to memorize what they "learned" in order to perform well on a test that is supposed to be measuring their mastery of the content. When in actuality there is no learning, no understanding, and no retention of the content. This is very true! The second argument I really agreed with is that students and classrooms do not necessarily need more technology. But they need more meanigful experiences and engaging moments with that technology and pedegogy.  I am currently producing a research study to support the idea that high-quality technology integration in the classroom encourages students to be more successful with learning and transfer of knowledge. Through our investigation of other research we have found that many teachers are using technology as a replacement to traditional instruction, when they should using it as just a tool or suppor to enhance their pedeogy. 

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Rescooped by Corinne Tomaszewski from iGeneration - 21st Century Education
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The 10 Most Important Emerging Instructional and Education Technologies and Concepts

The 10 Most Important Emerging Instructional and Education Technologies and Concepts | Making Math Accessible and Meaningful | Scoop.it
The 2013 Update to our Annual Look at the Technologies, Tools, and Techniques That Today's Educators Should be Aware of. Each year I refresh this list, sharing

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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Maria Persson's curator insight, September 23, 2013 8:09 AM

Make time to read this - there's plenty of digging to do here and a few treasures!  Thank you for reminding me about 'adaptive' learning. Great find Tom - thanks.

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Math Teaching Resources - TeachersPayTeachers.com

Math Teaching Resources - TeachersPayTeachers.com | Making Math Accessible and Meaningful | Scoop.it
TeachersPayTeachers.com -- 700,000+ free and priced teaching resources created by teachers for download including lesson plans, unit plans, novel studies,
Corinne Tomaszewski's insight:

Love this site! Tons of free downloadables to help you teach math and any other subject. They have colorful and creative ways to get your students engage and excited about learning....and they're FREE!

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