Monday, March 10, 2014

Tinkering with Technology



Last week in Math 371, we looked at our Desmos creations and talked about how to use GeoGebra in different ways in our lessons. 

First, a little explanation about our Desmos assignment: We were asked to create a picture using Desmos, an online graphing site. For my picture I made something basic, a house. It was made with straight lines and one circle for a doorknob. I settled on a house after my many attempts at creating more creative pictures failed. The time it took me to complete this assignment, including time tinkering with the site’s many features, my numerous attempts at other pictures, and the completion of my final picture, took me somewhere in the vicinity of three hours.

Later we talked about using GeoGebra, a free graphing program, to help enhance our lessons for future classes. For this assignment we were asked to keep the emphasis on topics covered in probability and statistics. For my example, I used GeoGebra’s spreadsheet application to show that the probability of an event can be found by the brute force method. I used the probability of a dice roll for my example. I explained that as the number of rolls increases, the probability of each event can be approximated by taking the number of times a particular event occurs divided by the total number of rolls. I then explained that we could use GeoGebra’s spreadsheet function to make a bar graph to show that each event is equally likely, which is more obvious as more rolls occur. The surprising fact about this assignment was that it took me close to four hours to learn how to manage GeoGebra’s applications so I could adequately use it as a tool for my lesson.  

So from this we can see that I spent close to seven hours “tinkering” with technology, trying to learn how to utilize it for one three-hour class period. This experience opened my eyes to the fact that I will most likely be spending my entire teaching career “tinkering with technology”.  I’m sure that I will find some things that I will like and will be able to use for many of the years that I teach. However, with the ever-intertwining of technology and education, it is also likely that I will spend hours upon hours learning how to use new technology, only to have to learn how to use its replacement.  

By Tyler Snaza