Learning step by step

I used to love my abacus but it was bigger than the one in this video. It was inherently fascinating at an early age because it looked different from other things and it had colourful beads. Did I ever learn to use the abacus to count? Only in the most obvious way by sliding and counting beads or counting up and down rows. I didn’t know how to use an abacus properly and no one showed me. So the abacus reinforced what I knew already and held my interest for numbers just by being there. I did not ever use the abacus correctly which meant I was oblivious to the fact it was a remarkable tool which could do all sorts of things with numbers. The Hev project has created a video which makes it so easy to know how to use an abacus effectively and get the best out of this remarkable tool. It would be fun to make one. It’s tactile as well as cerebral learning and then you can just have fun making all the beads click!
If you google step by step learning or research that on YouTube you will get a lot of returns in terms of things to learn which are stepped out. It’s a gaming principle which the internet has adopted to deliver learning content. The Hev Project shows very clearly what step by step learning looks and sounds like. You are even invited to pause the video to have a practice until you have mastered and understood that step.

So what does learning look like?

One step at a time
Ask your network
Practice and master
Next step
Reflect on your learning
Get feedback

When you don’t understand or don’t know what you are doing you go back to the step where you lost the thread. With technology you can easily access networks and research so that you do not have to wait to learn and as you are practising you can share what you are doing so you can get feedback, ideas and help so that, in the end, your level of learning is high and has a good outcome.

MathMagic for Captivate

I just discovered MathMagic for Captivate on my MacBook. Why? I am a French teacher. I have found a video so that someone who actually knows what they are talking about can explain this to you. I have no need for an equation editor but you may well need one. The images you create in Captivate are extremely clear and so would replicate well on an interactive board or in a video lesson. Captivate is an Adobe product which obviously the school has kindly loaded on my MacBook. The least I can do is share this with you because it seems to be the very thing if you like creating equations. From my non Maths point of view , it is actually interesting to me to see all the maths symbols so well organised and aggregated. My way of tackling it would be to find out what each of those symbols meant and what I could do with them. Probably not a lot. Have fun. You’re welcome.

The Fibonacci Sequence

Had Maths been this colourful and so connected to nature when I was at school, I might have survived Maths so much better than I did. The great thing about technology is you can find things which will get the messages and content through to all types of learners. I could never think of Maths in an abstract way inspite of being a good abstract thinker. I needed to see patterns like this and I needed to see how it related to living things. It would have made so much more sense to me. The Fibonacci Sequence is explained on the Maths is Fun site. The amazing video featured on The Mind Unleashed. It is such a beautifully constructed video.

What a flipped classroom can look like

mathjohnson has used sketch noting to create a very interesting video about the methodology of a flipped classroom and why he does it and what it can look like. He gets to the end of the video and says there is no homework, so my question is – what has he flipped? Maybe I have misunderstood. Flipping needs to take the excessive teacher lecturing and long video watching out, put it elsewhere and allow the class time to be used in the way he says – to get the best out of the teacher, the content and use technology to facilitate multimodal delivery. To a large extent he is looking at individual progression so his classroom appears to encourage students at their own pace and their own time and he has used his ideas, skills , resources and technology to allow that to happen. Individual progression is not a new concept but I am actually pleased to see it revitalised and re-energised so that students are front and centre of the classroom and what they need to learn and how they need to learn it is paramount and can be achieved if we rethink out approach and use technology to provide the avenues, opportunities and resources for learning. If you are interested in what Graham Johnson has to say, he has a really good blog flippingmath where he goes to a lot of trouble to make his concepts and ideas clear. The end of the video gives you references to his other web sites. In my own classroom I tend to work on a couple of things at a time , teach the language , grammar and cultural content and then we get to the stage where we have what is called flex-time in the video. That is my time to help students individually, their time to help each other, our time to grow ideas and an opportunity to really get creative with their assignments if they want to . They usually want to and I try to point them to tools and ideas which will help them do something more interesting as they practice their new language patterns. For me this is independent learning time. This is where the resource library of the first flipped classroom post is invaluable. You need ready access to the resources which will teach and inspire and you need to encourage students to find their own really good resources which they share.. We also have two online language learning resources – one paid and one free which students love so they can use that if they have completed the current work. These online learning sites are a critical part of a flipped classroom in my opinion. They can fill gaps, provide incentive to learn and practise, have the gaming feel students are familiar with, offer learning options and rewards and generally create a valuable layer of learning which we did not have prior to using technology .They offer a different approach and encourage independent learning. Classrooms are no longer the one size fits all. They are moving into a  real methodology which is teaching students according to their needs because we have far more tools at our disposal and a whole world to consult.

Mathematics in Australia

mathematics in Australia Whether you are interested in teaching maths or not, take a look at this blog. It is a treasure trove of information, inspiration, education and everything to do with Mathematics in Australia. It is very well thought out . Even though the blog is information rich, the design allows the information to be seen and ingested fairly readily. For those of you interested in Maths it will keep you very current, but I was interested to see The post about the L’Oréal Australia For Women in Science Fellowships because it is heartening to know that L’Oréal would offer support for the sciences. The blog also keeps media information about maths up to date and has a section on research into maths, including maths in education and the preparation for our teachers. It’s a must have blog bookmark for every school but certainly a good prototype to copy when you want to present a lot of information effectively.

Josefine Grimm-Blenk

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