Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Balancing technology with knowledge.

This post is coming out of something I"ve been thinking about for a while and since the standardized testing for my state is in its second day, I thought I would address this issue.  I've noticed that many of my students need their calculator to do a simple problem such as 27-32.  If they do not use the calculator, they often answer this as -15 not -5.  They tend to switch digits so the bigger one is on top.  When I have students graph functions, they do not recognize they didn't graph it correctly, even though we've studied how the graphs should look. When I taught college math, my students had the same problem on graphs.  The attitude was simply "I entered the problem in and the calculator gave me the answer so its right."  I don't think students even stop to check to see if the answer seems reasonable.
I wonder what I can do to help them make this connectivity that they are lacking.  At this point in time, the students are not allowed to use calculators on the state mandated tests so they struggle many times to find the correct answer.  I am working to find ways to help students use technology while learning the material so they can find their mistakes.
I would love suggestions on this.
On the other hand, I finally got to watch the three videos on using SAS gloss.  It showed how to download pdf files with math problems so the students can do the work right on the iPad and e-mail it to the teacher when done.  The app has graph paper so students can practice graphing and it has lined paper so students can write out explanations or journal.  So far I am impressed with everything this does.  I am going to put it on my classroom set of iPads next week and use it for the remainder of the year.  I'll let everyone know how it goes.