Essential features of effective media
Effective instructional media must offer approved subject matter content, appropriately sequenced, and must feel accessible to diverse audiences. It should consistently involve the 3 main modes of learning: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Beyond VAK, materials should work for students with diverse learning styles and varying proficiencies including English language learning. Effective media should also naturally set up a cooperative community of learners. In the mathematics classroom, the main focus of materials must be on problem-solving with logical reasoning strategies, including number concepts and operations.
How does it work?
Students typically work in pairs. Instructions on consumable lesson sheets lead students in generating Logo computer language procedures to solve problems which teach the NCTM Standards-based scope and sequence of general mathematics through algebra I principles. Lessons balance scope of content to assure development of all standard concepts and skills, with flexibility for student investigations that are driven by lesson instructions and teacher suggestions. Student investigations lead to deeper understanding, and an important sense of ownership of mathematical products they generate. Paired learning partners have active, interdependent roles in every session. The roles are Keyboarder and Reader-Recorder. Students alternate roles daily. The Reader-Recorder reads instructions to the Keyboarder, who types them to generate and operate mathematical procedures. The geometric properties and numerical outputs of students’ procedures, together with explanatory material, develop students’ instincts for mathematical thinking. Reader-Recorders collaborate with the Keyboarder and write short answers and constructed responses in the lesson sheets from computer outputs.
How do teachers benefit?
Well managed group work can equate to high quality teaching and learning. But the media makes the difference. TEM media is custom designed to free teachers to support small group learning. And, because students learn with generative media, teachers routinely gain new mathematical insights from students’ investigations. Add in structure and flexibility. Teachers need a dependable curriculum structure to assure all students have an equal chance to master curriculum goals within reasonable time limits. Expertly designed lessons found to contain “sound” mathematics, lead students through the standard sequence of middle school mathematics. Even in schools with high turnover, students integrate easily, become engaged, and benefit from their generative learning experience. Students need flexibility to investigate and communicate about their activities. Research shows that students respond well to TEM’s approach.
Technology that facilitates working with complex intellectual tasks, tends to engage students of all proficiencies, including most “at-risk” students and beginning English learners. This translates to more on-task activity and fewer behavior problems. This means teachers are more free to circulate among students, accumulating far more individual consultations than in direct teaching or most group learning structures. Students on task.
Teachers feeling productive. Generative learning. Powerful uses of computer technology and achievement for diverse learners. A real sense of accomplishment. These are teachers’ advantages available from The Expert Mathematician™ prescriptive-generative lesson format.