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Discussion: Research Area
Topic: February 2003: Question 3


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Subject:   Re: reinventing the wheel.
Author: George Reese
Date: May 4 2003
I just want echo what Alice said. I hope the research area becomes a place to do
some research as much as hear about it. If it's "anecdotal", that doesn't seem a
problem to me. Too much learning comes from story telling to dismiss it.

But I think it could be structured as well.
For example, suppose you're teaching equation solving using the metaphor of the
balance. That's what Hands-on Equations does. There are also some applets out
that simulate an actual balance.

Virtual Manipulatives has one
http://matti.usu.edu/nlvm/nav/frames_asid_201_g_4_t_2.html?open=instructions

Illuminations has one (four really)
http://illuminations.nctm.org/mathlets/shapebalance/index.html

And MSTE has one
http://www.mste.uiuc.edu/steigerwald/balance/default.html

How could these tools be used most effectively? It seems a network of teachers
is the ideal group to test and compare them. Not just a Consumer's Report kind
of thing, but also some follow-up data on which tools seem to work best in
which types of situations. There's a broad network out there of people who are
working with students every day, and they have a lot to share. Math Tools a
great opportunity for practitioners to share what really works.

I do hope more people post, either with their names or anonymously. It's the
ideas that matter, not the identities.
-George

On May 04, 2003, Alice wrote:

I agree with Jumping Teddy. Politically correct data abound about teaching, but
it doesn't get us anyplace.

I also believe a lot of others agree but do not want to go on record as saying
so, hence this question has remained undiscussed for a few months.

What can be done about it?

First, this math tools concept has a chance to gather large group research and
have teachers around the country comment on them, thereby improving our
teaching.

True, everything is anecdotal, but we have a great chance to use inductive
reasoning as a fist step. (That's what we teach right?)and hope that the methods
the majority likes will work for us.

Second, it will at least keep some of us from having to reinvent the wheel
repeatedly.

What I think would go well here are honest replies in large numbers after you
try a method.

So, if you must, pick a different screen name on your Internet account, and lets
hear your ideas and solutions to gaining credible research on teaching!



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