Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bullying and Technology in a Classroom

This week in Math 371 we concentrated on cyber-bullying and teaching mathematics in a classroom with technology.

First, we talked about cyber-bullying, and as a teacher how we would deal with cyber-bullying. Since cyber-bullying usually happens at home it is difficult for a teacher to try and handle the situation. A lot of good ideas on how to handle cyber-bullying were mentioned, such as telling the parents if you see it happening or even talking to the one being bullied, or the bully. Sometimes telling the parents is not as effective as we would like. One of the article's for reading this week talked about parents that were bullying a young girl on their block because their daughter and the girl had a falling out. The parents bullied this young girl so much she committed suicide. Half the kids that are cyber-bullied are bullied in schools as well. It is important as a teacher to know what bullying looks like and to report it if we see it happening.

We also talked about teaching mathematics with technology in the classroom. In particular, using graphing calculators in the classroom. As a class, we talked about when it would be appropriate to use calculators and when not to. Obviously in a Pre-Calculus setting it is helpful at times to be able to use a calculator but students should not be dependent on their calculator. Calculators have become a problem in classrooms  because students are using them for simple addition and multiplication. Children whom are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade, do most of their homework with a calculator instead of working out the math on their own. It is important to show students how to use the helpful tool, but the calculator should not be doing their thinking for them.

Also, we talked about what our ideal classrooms would look like. The conditions were as follows: we were allowed as much money as we wanted, and we could get whatever we wanted as long it was educational. Students talked about the way their classroom would be laid out and what kinds of technology would be in the classroom. Some students would prefer SmartBoard's and white boards to write on. Also, having iPad's in the classroom would be helpful, or if a teacher would have a tablet so he or she could walk around the room while teaching. A lot of good ideas were thrown around but it is important to keep in mind that we may not get the chance to be placed in our ideal classroom. It is important to be aware of the technology that we could be placed with and also to work with what we have to our best abilities.

Towards the end of class, we talked about the new standards and the smarter balance test. We practiced the test ourselves and talked about the difficulty of the material. We all agreed that the material was not awful, but there was a lot of reading to do for each problem. Our major concern was that students would be discouraged by the problems that require a lot of reading, because they may take more time. It is important to make sure that students are developing in all areas of their learning, but sometimes when math is combined with a bunch of words it will confuse people and discourage them as well.

As teachers we need to make sure that our students are prepared for the technology shift, and that they are aware of the consequences that come with the technology, such as cyber-bullying.