I know it's been a while since I've posted anything. As always it's a combination of factors - my wife was out of town, so it was just my son, Brendan (16 months) and me - we've has some illness, the usual stuff - and other home front events.
But more importantly and to the point, I have been working hard to figure out the logistics of getting the students on-line. It's been a bear.
A very brief update:
You may have noticed some introductions here and there - more should follow as students get them typed. A few students have begun corresponding with Steve Weimar around investigations using Sketchpad - interesting stuff!! Students are presently typing up first drafts of some very difficult problems which Steve posted a while back. I'm still trying to get some computers for my classroom and better access to the computer lab in our school.
We have restructured our class in an effort to integrate sketchpad and telecommunications - new groups of 3-4 students - with individuals responsible for an aspect of the work that needs to be done ... that being typing materials for the group, mastering the sketchpad menus and tools, using sketchpad to investigate and explore, and learning and performing telecommunication skills.
The idea is to take the second term and build capacity within each group and within the classroom. Then over time, we could help each other learn to perform every task. It's not as linear as it sounds - there are many students who are using sketchpad, typing, and learning telecommunication skills all at once.
Concerns and Questions:
It seems one key leverage point is getting the material "into the computer". I do not want to use class time to have students typing up problems or journal entries - and yet if I don't, then days and weeks go by before information gets posted.
Two examples: 1. Each student had written an introduction two weeks ago. You notice how many are posted. 2. Each small group of students had written a first draft to one of Steve's problems - one week ago - none posted yet.
We need more immediate access to computers - I believe computers in the classroom is the only way to pull this off! At this point, 3 MacIntosh computers capable of running Sketchpad and a word processing program would go a long way towards getting my students and I to the next plateau. Any suggestions?? I posted a draft of a funding proposal - no responses yet! I'm talking to everyone I know who might be able to help.
My students and I realized that Christmas is still some time off, so we have alternative plans to address our present dilemmas. Over the next few weeks, you will notice by the number of postings, whether we are successful.
Please be patience with us - we are doing our best.
Annie Fetter | The Geometry Forum | Voice: 215 328-8225 Project Coordinator | Swarthmore College | 800 756-7823 firstname.lastname@example.org | Swarthmore PA 19081 | Fax: 215 328-7824