Thursday, April 4, 2013

Plain English Math

This is a difficult post. I have been thinking about it since our last meeting, searching for cool Web 2.0 tools, and re-thinking again. 

Originally I thought of connecting my MAT96 course (Elementary Algebra, developmental math course and no credit bearing) with my MAT120 course (Elementary Statistics I) in an activity where different level students connect in both directions: 

Down-Up: MAT96 (lower level math) students have a quick peak of what the MAT120 (less low level math) students  get to do in their Data Analysis Projects via Blogger, or another cooler Web 2.0 tool.

Up-Down: MAT120 students edit, comment, and give feedback to MAT96 students’ compositions on mathematical procedures. For this I would use Wikispaces or something like collaborative Prezi (if something Prezi-like exists where collaboration is possible). Is there is no collaborative-Prezi exists, then I will summarize all the “short math poems” in a Prezi presentation. 

I am happy with these two but I believe I won't be able to do it with this semester with my MAT120 class. This section of MAT120 is special for many reasons among others: we are trying couple of things new like the Open Learning Initiative as our [online] textbook and later in the semester we will use Via Response. In addition to this, my MAT120 class contains a disruptive group of students that will make the implementation of any of these ideas more difficult. The bottom line is that I want to avoid any “extra-stress” to the students and me. 

As a result, I thought of taking the connection Up-Down where instead of connecting MAT96 and MAT120 students, I could connect MAT96 with an English composition course (in that case depending on the class it could be a horizontal connection). 

If this is not possible to arrange, I will implement the Up-Down connection any away but only inside the MAT96 and me.This will lose the interest of having feedback from outside and not only from the instructor. It will be the best comprise I could think of.


  1. I think it is a good ideal to connect MAT96 and MAT120. It will give the MAT96 students an insight into MAT120 and they will know what to expect when they get to that level. Also, for MAT120 could be a way to tutor/mentor the MAT96 students. I think for both classes it will be a good experience.
    I am interested to hear your ideas on ways you would connect MAT96 and an English composition course. How or on what would you have them collaborate? What platform would you use?

  2. Hi, Milena,
    You're thinking big and ambitious for the first connections (e.g., Prezi, Blogger, Wikispaces, etc.) and that might be overwhelming you a bit. (I do this all the time to myself!)
    Have the kids in MAT120 calmed down since you posted?
    I'm wondering what would happen if you created a social tool like FB between the two groups and made a game out of posting problems to be solved, creating teams that comprised students in both groups.
    How would the Eng comp class be horizontal with MAT 96?
    Another possibility is connecting with one of Sree's statistics class... Looking forward to seeing what has developed...

  3. P.S. I loved that you called this post "Plain English Math" and wanted to know more...