Today was another success. I was initially skeptical of the value in prepping a sample lesson on the quadratic formula, but in practice, I much enjoyed the experience. Emily, Mike, and Chris and I worked to create videos. In addition, I made a sloppy Mathematica demo and Mike and Chris worked on a VERY cool project-based application involving projectile motion.
In addition to this session, we returned from lunch and had a very fruitful discussion on LMS’s, grading methods, and potential professional development meetings in the future. Everyone in our group was engaged and passionate about the subject, which was inspiring.
Afterwards, I spent time finally working on my statistics class for next year. I have grand plans that I hope to successfully implement. This year, I think that I had many engaging and fun lessons, but I can do better.
My plan for next year is to begin each week with a group project to be presented on Friday of that week. In addition, I will give them a list of topics relevant to the successful completion of the project, and then let the students loose as they work together to initiate their project and learn about the topics introduced.
My goal is to have them work together and use their iPads to research these topics. Then, at the end of the period on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, I will give a brief lesson on the topics that the students demand. This will require some fleet-footedness on my part, but I hope that this “lecture by demand” style will increase the level of engagement of my students.
The unfortunate reality is that my students will need some extra motivation to keep up with the work in this less structured environment. Thus, I will likely add in a more traditional assessment at the end of class on Friday, and maybe couple this with a take home component.
Hopefully, we can move quickly enough to make these weekly presentations a reality. In addition to statistics, I hope to use the course as a means to introduce presentation skills. They should see statistics as a method for making an effective argument, and the data should be seamlessly incorporated into their presentations to achieve this end goal. To improve in this regard, though, the students will need feedback and a model. I will need to think more about effective presentation strategies and how to give my students helpful feedback when their presentations fail to live up to expectations.
Hopefully this ambitious plan has some merit. If anyone reads this and has input into the feasibility of such a project, please comment on this post.
I plan to introduce this idea to the group tomorrow during our final hours together and try to get input from all of the bright minds that are here. This week is getting better and better as time goes on and we all grow more comfortable in one another’s company and shared better and better ideas.