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Topic: Lanius Ques#1: Info for Newcomers


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Subject:   Lanius Ques#1: Info for Newcomers
Author: Jeff L
Date: Aug 1 2005
For the sake of discussion, let's define 'newcomers' as new to teaching with
technology.

The number one requirement for integrating technology into teaching and learning
is planning. Planning is time consuming. Planning must be done ahead of time.
The first step is to determine the concept and the context for what is to be
learned. Too often the lure of a tool will cause a lesson to be planned around
using the tool instead of using the tool to enhance or facilitate learning.

Once the context/concept has been established, it greatly simplifies the search
for an appropriate tool.  (see
http://mathforum.org/mathtools/discuss.html?context=recent&do=r&msg=20011 ) Tools
that are ideal should be incorporated into the lesson. Tools that are not on the
mark may be used as adjuncts and for student investigation, but care must be
taken that they do not detract from the main goal.

Interactive tools are better than static tools; tools that provide different
examples each time they run are better than tools which always use the same
example(s). The main consideration is if the event will be a presentation to a
class - or an investigation by individuals or groups.

Do not introduce the tool too early. Students should always have the opportunity
to work through the problem with whatever manipulative, experience, and/or
discussion is needed to establish the context. The point of the tool is to
enhance or further the investigation.  Tossing a coin 30 times is a viable
experience. Tossing it 300 times is an exercise in futility - one easily
replaced by a tool - students then become interested in 1000 tosses, 10,000,
etc.

Tool usage begets more tool usage. There will be frustrations when the right
tool cannot be found, and there will be moments when one wishes they had a tool
that could do _____. If you are up to the task, make your own and share with
others on MathTools.  If composing tools is not one of your goals, by all means,
put the idea on MathTools and see what can be done.


Jeff

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