Discussion:  Traffic Jam Applet tool 
Topic:  Topic 3  Effective Use of Software 
Related Item:  http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/10/ 
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Subject:  Using technology as a tool 
Author:  Suzanne 
Date:  Mar 17 2003 
Actually I've been thinking of a variety of threads that have been posted but
this one seemed the best place to respond with these ideas.
Just to give a little background...before I joined the Math Forum staff full
time in late June of 2000, I taught at Frisbie Middle School in California. In
the summer of 1995, I had had my first Math Forum experience. At that time even
though I had taught math for a variety of years, I had become the computer and
journalism teacher and my assigned classroom was a computer lab. When I came
back to teach for the 9596 school year at my request my principal gave me a
math class but I taught it in the lab. Until I left after the 9900 school
year, I taught one or two math classes in the lab (and the rest of my classes
were computer classes, journalism and/or study skills).
So from 95 through 00 and actually still, I tried a variety of ideas and one
that I found worked particularly well with my students (I worked at a schoolwide
Title 1 school with students needing a lot of support.) was a combination of
concrete manipulatives, virtual (tech) manipulatives, and paper/pencil
activities all organized around main activities.
I wrote an explanation of my thinking in a paper for a meeting that I attended
which you might find interesting:
http://mathforum.org/alejandre/nctm/position.html
I agree with Alice where she said in some thread that she goes for "long term
memory." The way that I saw it, using a variety of approaches not only allowed
me to reach learners with a variety of learning styles but it lengthened the
time that we spent on the activity. I also found that the most important part of
the entire unit was formalizing the mathematics so that the students might
recognize what we had done on a standardized assessment. They were often amazed
that they could answer the paper/pencil questions but the more we did it, the
better they got.
Suzanne
 
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