One of the biggest problems when teaching mathematics is moving all the kids in a classroom forward, when some of the kids are stuck on challenges of algebra. You can’t really go onto higher math, until the kids understand how to work the algebra problems, and have mastered those skills. If not they will merely get all of the new problems incorrect, even if they know what to do, and are using the right equations for the right types of word problems.
This is why I believe that perhaps the digital textbooks might provide some assistance. If a digital textbook is in the cloud, and it only allows the student to advance after they complete so many problems of a certain type, then the student could not move forward on to the next math topic until they’ve mastered those skills. In doing this we would prevent kids who are lagging behind, from dragging down the rest of the class’s momentum moving forward, because perhaps they didn’t do their homework, or got lost on a certain type of math.
There was just a terrific write up recently in Campus Technologies titled; “Reinventing the College Textbook – A Wake Forest Professor Discusses a Digital Textbook Project that Uses a Non-Linear Approach to Leaning” by Bridget McCrea which was published on June 22, 2011.
Although this article didn’t specifically discuss what I am proposing here, it gives all the background on what the future textbooks will be capable of, and with the right hardware and software, there’s no reason we cannot keep all the students moving forward at the proper levels, with what is most appropriate for that individual student.
In fact, once someone has a digital textbook, they could work at their own pace merely going into visit the professor for a consultation once per week, meanwhile the professor would know how well each student is doing in real time, based on how far they’ve progressed in the textbook, connected to the cloud while downloading the next section. Am I trying to rewrite the way we teach math in our colleges and universities, perhaps even at the high school level? Yes, I think that is exactly what I’m doing.
You see, going to school I noticed some kids getting behind on certain types of math, and once they did they had trouble during the rest of the school year. They got left behind, and they learned to hate math, and therefore avoided those mathematical classes in the future. We live in an age of technology, and we need all of our students to be able to do not only basic math, but also higher end math as well. And this might just provide the solution we need to get there. Indeed I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.
Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank. Lance Winslow believes writing 23,777 articles by 7 PM on June 27, 2011 is going to be difficult because all the letters on his keyboard are now worn off now..