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Topic: M. Honey/Mathematics Learning Forums
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Beth Bruch

Posts: 19
Registered: 12/6/04
M. Honey/Mathematics Learning Forums
Posted: Jun 23, 1993 1:29 PM
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Margaret Honey will be speaking at the Geometry Forum Institute next
week. Here's some of what she has to say about what she's been doing:

The Mathematics Learning Forums Project

Project Description: The Mathematics Learning Forums Project, funded by
the Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Projects, is a collaborative
partnership between Bank Street's Center for Children and Technology
(CCT) and Graduate School of Education, and the Learning Link National
Consortium tLLNC). At the heart of a Bank Street graduate education is
the advisement process. Advisement is designed as a multifaceted process
which enables students to integrate the study of theory with practice in
a reflective and self conscious fashion. Each student works with a
faculty advisor and a small group of students in a number of different
ways, one of which involves weekly conference group meetings in which
students collaborate on understanding the challenging issues that face
them as educators in their field placements. The process encourages
students to develop personal knowledge that is connected to their
educational practice, and to issues in educational research and reform.

The Mathematics Learning Forum's project will expand the Bank Street
advisement model through the use of telecommunications seminars designed
to engage teachers (grades K-8) in reflective and instructive
conversations about content, learning, teaching, and assessment issues in
mathematics. Employing a combination of computer-based communication,
print, and video tape, the Bank Street's graduate school will offer 24
different on-line seminars. Elementary and middle school math teachers
around the country can take these forums for graduate credit, inservice
credit, or personal enrichment. Each forum will last six to eight weeks.

Each forum will be introduced and illustrated with print and video clips
from existing sources. The video tapes will give teachers a vivid picture
of the aspects of teaching about which they are learning. Other forum
activities include intensive, guided conversation on the Learning Link
telecommunications network. In these on-line conversations, faculty will
guide their teacher-students as they try new activities and techniques in
their classes and help one another reflect on the meaning of those
experiences. Teachers will also be provided with print materials and an
extensive on-line database of relevant video, print and software. The
database will also contain reflective papers by teachers who have taken
forurns. As the years go by, each forum will become a repository of
information about the experiences and thoughts of teachers.

Topics of the 24 planned forums fall into four categories:

l) Content (e.g., "Estimation," "Statistics and Probability");

2) Teaching (e.g., "Manipulatives and Real World Devices," "Technological
Tools: Calculators and Computers");

3) Learning ("Understanding Diversity: individual, Cultural and Gender
Differences," "Identifying and Working with Special Needs Kids."); and

4) Assessment (e.g., "Questioning Techniques and Strategies,"
"Performance Assessment").

In each category, at least two forums will be developed around topics of
interest to teachers in grades K-4 and at least two for teachers in
grades 5-8.

The service will grow from 16 forums serving up to 256 teachers in year
2, its first full year of operation, to 24 forums serving up to 768
teachers per year in year 5. After year 3, the final year of funding, the
service is planned to be self sustaining.

Other colleges and universities can adapt Bank Street materials or
develop their own, comparable programs in mathematics.

Activities and Products: Each forum begins with the introduction of new
ideas, described and illustrated with print and video, and then plunges
quickly into activities that the teachers try in their own classes. These
experiences in turn spark discussion and reflective writing.

Each forum will have its own set of text materials: original sources,
references, students assignments, and, after the forum has been run once,
a growing store of student essays on their experiences trying out and
adapting basic forum ideas and materials to their own classes.

In addition, each forum will be anchored with a video tape. The tape will
include one or more clips from existing video materials. Among the
sources that are committed to providing no-cost use of their video:
Marilyn Bums (innovative approaches to teaching mathematics); Bob Davis
and Carolyn Maher (tapes shot in classrooms that illustrate long term
development of math abilities in selected children); Herbert Ginsburg
(clinical interviews demonstrating development of children's math
ability); Constance Kamii (tapes illustrating effective teaching
strategies, children's thought processes, and the importance of social
interaction); Kathy Richardson (assessment techniques and other topics);
and Square One Television video. In addition to material chosen
specifically for each forum, each tape will include a segment orienting
students to the forum's style of study and to the use of Learning Link.

The initial set of forums will be developed and also taught by graduate
faculty at Bank Street. After year two, adjunct staff will be hired and
trained to lead the forums, using the materials already developed by Bank
Street. Most of these advisors will be drawn from current Bank Street
programs. Training will be offered at Bank Street during the summer.

Timeline: During year one, 16 forums will be designed and their materials
and databases prepared for use. Focus groups will be convened to discuss
the proposed topics for the first forums and to suggest alternatives. A
training video about Learning Link will also be developed. Rough cuts of
all videos will be subjected to formative evaluation, using working
teachers; their feedback will also be used to develop guidelines for the
advisors who will teach the forums, and to gather ideas for the flnal
eight forums to be developed as part of this project. Research tools for
evaluating the actual forurns will also be created in the first year.
Final tuition prices will also be set at this time.

In year two, Bank Street will begin offering its 16 forums, testing each
one twice, and gathering student data to improve the forum design. The
on-line databases will be loaded with curricular materials, research
findings, information about technology-based programs, and student
essays. Teacher produced video will also be solicited from this first
generation of students. A national video-conference, a new brochure, and
a new videotape will be produced to aid recruitment, and distributed over
SERC or a comparable network. A three-day sumrner institute will be held
at Bank Street to train to train 25 adjunct staff who will take over the
forurns in year three.

In year three, the learning forums will be offered on a subscription
basis as the program and its marketing go into full operation. In
addition eight more forums will be developed and tested.

The first nationwide implementation of the Learning Forums will begin in
September, 1994.

For more information contact:

Margaret Honey
Associate Director
Center for Children and Technology
610 West 112th Street
New York, NX 10025
phone: 212/875-4568
fax: 212/875-4760

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