I then spent most of the weekend madly planning and trying to work out how to make the best use of the internet/geometer's sketchpad time. The lesson itself was an introduction to the sine/cosine/area rules in Trigonometry, with a very strong group of grade 11s. So I planned the first half of the hour and a half lesson to be a "collaborative research" style lesson, where we all searched for and posted links (under a twitter hashtag) about sites which we thought were interesting/useful/funny around the topic of applications of trigonometry, and proofs of the laws.

This went okay, though by the time the kids had logged in, and sorted Twitter out and so forth there wasn't that much time to actually get the interactions going properly. Keeping the class on-task was also tricky, but I'd hope that that would improve with time and practice (on my part as well as the class'). I also found it tricky to "sell" the value of the whole exercise to the kids. My most frequently asked question was "Is this for marks?"!

The second part of the lesson was an investigation of the sine rule, followed by a guided proof. The idea was that they would follow instructions to form a conjecture regarding the sine rule, and then prove their own conjecture (again, following instructions). Well, that went...okay...but you'll gather from my hesitation that it didn't go quite as I intended.

It was mainly slow. My instructions needed a certain amount of streamlining, but there were decent, especially since I was there to facilitate. But I underestimated how difficult it is to PROVE stuff when you're in grade 11. Even if you're very good at Maths.

To summarise:

- Advantages - Not a total disaster. I saw some potential for developing the ideas and activities. I think it started to develop some (non-curricular) skills which are important to acquire.
- Disadvantages - Time-consuming, and not necessarily always directly relevant to the (curricular) abilities that the kids need to acquire. Inefficient (but is real learning ever efficient?).

Good for you for trying! From everything I know, you need to do it again, and soon, and repeatedly. Yes, there is always a buzz, at first, about using Twitter. It takes a while for the kids to get used to it and to settle down to using it properly and effectively. That's one reason why I'm pushing for cell phones to be made legal in class - so that we can all get over the hump of the new technology and actually get down to some real learning and proper collaborative/ inclusive work.

ReplyDeleteAnd yes, real learning can be inefficient. Persevere. It's worth it in the long run. (And remember, at the end of the day, there's enough in the Gd 11 syllabus that isn't essential for Gd 12 that you can actually make a bit more space - although you need to check with JC first!!

Thanks Nicole! I tried it again today...and it went well :-) yay! Feel like I'm getting somewhere anyway...

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