The Math Forum: 2000 Summer Institute - sum2000

July 25 - August 11, 2000 - Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

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2000 Summer Institute || Agenda || List of Participants
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Day 7 Summary

Roya Salehi led a session introducing the Teacher2Teacher (T2T) service. T2T started originally because teachers and parents were writing questions to Dr. Math that had more to do with pedagogy and resources than about math content. Teacher2Teacher was created to answer these questions. Teacher2Teacher Associates answer the questions which are submitted to T2T. Teachers can apply to be T2T Associates on the Web site. Roya shared this Power Point presentation.

Types of questions that come to T2T:

  • Big Picture Questions
  • General Pedagogy Questions
  • Math Pedagogy Questions
  • Specific Resources or Lesson Plans
  • Asking for Specific Math Information
  • Professional Development Questions
  • Research Questions

The T2T service has two main purposes. First, it is a way for teachers, parents, pre-service teachers, etc., to get answers to questions. Second, the conversations that begin when questions are asked can be archived for future reference and for the "public" to join into the conversations. These discussions take place in the Teachers' Lounge The archivist needs to ask two questions before archiving a thread.

  1. Will the question and answer make a good prompt for a discussion?
  2. Is it likely that this question will be asked again?

The participants went into the T2T office to look at threads that were "done" but had not been archived. They were asked to make decisions about five threads. Should they be archived? How should they be categorized? (level, math topic, education topic, resources). Is there a similar discussion where the thread could be added?

Work Session: Participants submitted questions, archived threads, moved thread to the "grave", and searched the Teachers' Lounge.

Comments about the experience:

  • Archiving can be tedious, but it is a good way to really know the database.
  • Jeanne, one of the T2T Associates explained that being a T2T Associate allows you to do better searches, find great Web sites, learn about what teachers are doing around the country, keeps you familiar with resources and teaching techniques, etc., It can be very rewarding.
  • It surprised one participant that when he contributed to a discussion, his comments went immediately onto the site. No one edited. Roya explained that the T2T administration goes in afterwards and edits out inappropriate comments.
  • Browsing the archives was enlightening. It gave a sense of what is "out there". It's a way to gain information about teaching math.
  • Searching could be made more manageable by making categories available to the searcher. This may be more effective than searching by keywords. It should be more topic-focused.
  • T2T Associates are encouraged to focus on questions that interest them. They can skip over any levels or topics that do not relate to their own experience.
  • Suzanne added some thoughts via Instant Messenger about her experience as a T2T Associate. "I answer questions in T2T I find myself digging into recesses of my brain that have gotten a little forgotten. So, as someone asks a question, I think...Oh, yes! I've done that and it brings those thoughts back to the surface. So, for me working in T2T in a way refreshes me."

Projects:

  • Dave is thinking about making a links page as a reference for his middle school classes. The page could include resources, lessons, problems, etc.

  • Danielle would like to work on cataloging the AlgPoWs as a contribution to our site, and would like to set up her own Web page to suppoprt her Computer Assisted Math class - providing content and links, maybe exploring the WebCT environment for this.

  • Varnelle wants to create a lesson that will be available to kindergarten teachers and students focused on pattern blocks.

  • Matt would like to learn to make a Web page and then make a reference page for his students to use. He'd like more time learning to make Web pages.

  • Eva plans to make link pages for the teachers in her school to use. She wants to compile appropriate PoW's, lessons, etc, for teachers to access. She would like to develop a "hand holding" activity to teach teachers how to use the technology. Eventually she would like to support teachers in bringing their classes to the tech lab where they will guide the students through lessons.

  • Shirley will work on categorizing the Algebra and Geometry PoW's. She might also help Eva with her project.

  • John would like to work on cataloging geometry problems.

  • Jo would also like to work on cataloging problems, but her main focus will be on using Java, making html graphics, and importing TI graph links into html, etc. In addition, she will be working with Shelly on e-publishing a book on use of pattern blocks at the secondary level and a pattern block coloring book that is down-loadable -- perhaps like shareware.

  • Jeanne wants to continue to think about how to incorporate Math Forum resources into the curricula on which she is working. She is raising the question of the effectiveness of Web lessons. She wants to share an idea on the Web about a different way of thinking about fractions.

  • Susan thinks she will create a web page that will be used as a stand alone lesson on tangents and circles which will incorporate a PoW as a component of the lesson.

Shelly talked to the group about how WebCT works. He explained that professors can presently post lecture notes with live links, activities (possibly including applets), quizzes, a grade book, and have access to a teacher community. Now that the Math Forum is part of WebCT, this may be a tool made accessible to teacher associates.



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