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Discussion: Traffic Jam Applet tool
Topic: Mean, Median, and Mode
Related Item: http://mathforum.org/mathtools/tool/10/


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Subject:   RE: conceptual understanding
Author: George Reese
Date: Apr 19 2003
This is a fascinating point. I don't think much of the materials on our site are
merely quiz questions that don't make much use of technology in real ways. In
fact we try to highlight lessons that do more than just replicate what could
just as well be on paper.

On the other hand, I'm often discouraged that some of the most popular resources
on our site are the least innovate. Teachers seem to want things packaged.
Understandable, since they have little or no time.
But that represents a big challenge for designers.

For example, Jay Hill's lesson on descriptive statistics that I pointed to
earlier is clever and interesting, but in my opinion not as powerful as, say, a
tool like the balance applet at
http://www.mste.uiuc.edu/steigerwald/balance/default.html which could be used
for inquiry in a number of ways. Yet's Jay's lessons are much more popular.

-George


On Apr 19, 2003, Judy wrote:

I think that it is important to assess the benefits of technology in light of
the goals of our mathematics programs. Some of the web sites that have been
recommended are lacking in depth of understanding. When we steer our students to
a web site that is simply a quiz with answers and no explanations, then I don't
think it is worth the trip to the computer lab. The message that we give our
students is that this is meaningful mathematics and it is not.
I have worked for years to get my students into investigations that promote
connections to the real world and good conceptual understandings. My students
seem to enjoy math and score well on rigorous state tests. It is
counterproductive to then show them a web site with multiple choice questions
that aren't grounded in meaningful experiences.
Hopefully, there are better ways to review topics than this. Technology is
great, but it isn't always the best way.


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