open sourced – pre-ap alg 2

open source math

Practically speaking, I called for anyone interested in piloting/playing with a self-directed math class for the school year 2009-2010. Thirty kids (with parental support/permissions) gave it a go. It pretty much consisted of me telling them, at the beginning of the year, what they needed to know (of math), by the end of the year, and then letting go, letting the time be theirs. Short version:  [cyclic, self-directed grid]

(shoot looks like it’s gone – shows up for a sec – then off to wikifoundry ads – here’s a jing of talk-ed (ning) site and grid)
More details of how that played out follow below.

The instructional model/focus/purpose for the
Open Sourced Pre AP Algebra 2 class:

individualize learning wieman exp ind tutor
as much as possible in a
highly collaborative plns
manner via the web.
The intended instructional model is to combine
/student owned curriculum alannovember
inquiry and project based methodology.

As long as students continue to take standardized tests as they do today, ie: CSAP, ACT, SAT, etc, the overall math content will be driven by the State Standards (fixed/static content).

In this course, students will follow the content pacing per units in the CPM textbook, along with the other classes, but with more individualized pacing within each unit.

ie: the plan-teach-monitor-adjust cycle for the entire unit will be within the same time frame, however pacing for the different concepts/skills within each unit will be individualized. Those needing less time will pursue other ventures – ie: collaboration projects with universities/companies, mentoring with their individual expert tutors, making tutorials for other students, etc. Those needing more time will have it, as well as student made tutorials which are proving to be a success.

One major goal is that efficiency in capturing the boxed math maxes out so that some of the student’s time can be spent to their own choosing, per passion/career choice, and monitored/taught/adjusted per their individualized group.  if you missed it before take a listen to dave eggers on the difference 1on1 makes
Good to note: for some – the boxed math is their passion…for some, the ability to do well with the boxed math (aka test) without stress is their passion.

In order to optimize the efficiency – the “boxed” math  pacing will be driven by the student. How much, how fast, will all depend on their current level/ability/understanding of the math. This level/ability/understanding will be tested as frequently as a student needs via an ongoing development of a test bank in and quizlet (for now), tailored for the fixed content of this course. The delivery and reception of this material will be per individual needs/likes as well.

The current plan of delivery:

1. the lesson
a) 5-10 min daily – face-to-face lectures
b) screen captures of those lectures linked on our site as a resource
c) student made video tutorials
d) outside tutorials found and linked
e) read parent guides provided by cpm – *after a semester of class we have deemed this the most efficient way for most to get the most out of unit

2. visuals/animations
a) plug ins: graphing 3 planes

b) straight up animation: unit circle and sine wave

c) more visuals for hard to grasp concepts – like logs
d) real life visuals – 09 sec in dolphin kick produces sinusoidal wave

3. practice
a) student made study guides
b) worksheets (click here if link doesn’t work)
c) interactive sites – flashcards/game quizzes/etc

4. assessment
a) thatquiz – this is an open quiz, kid can pick level,etc, linking it so anyone can see. specific quizzes/tests are assigned, but only accessible through student’s id #, results can be tracked by teacher and student
b) quizlet
c) csap/act prep ppt

5. rinse (adjust) and repeat…
as often as needed..


As we see it now, those delving into the open sourced networks of people and information the web allows, will look for help/direction on a needs basis. Characterized by these five categories
each area offers suggested tool/process that has the potential to enhance learning. (this is a wiki so continually being tweaked/upgradedd)

Online life is a whole lot bigger than just the internet, it’s become an entire strategy for how to live. For students – it’s an environment – rather than merely a tool. – Mark Prensky
ie: via Will Richardson, blogs are only one of the many tools on the web – but i would argue they are the most important, and the easiest place to start….writing stops; blogging continues. writing is inside; blogging is outside. writing is monologue; blogging is conversation. writing is thesis; blogging is synthesis…

Research will be initiated/maintained via the cpm text, other students/teachers connected within class or online through our ning: talk.ed and our continually growing collection of best resources.
We will also enrich research by following experts on twitter, skype, blogs, established math/science resources such as wolfram alpha, google squared, etc.

In 2006 new info was doubling every 2 years, in 2010, every 3 days. Learning new ways to organize data via tags, bookmarking is vital to sanity.
Research will be mostly be filed via icyte, #unboxed tweet feed on talk.ed, wetpaint, delicious and diigo. We will also use our school voicethread to organize findings in this same five categories.

Well stated in a short video via personal learning networks, safely, efficiently, effectively from 2007
more on groups just a couple lines down…

Perhaps the most important element.
1) motivation peaks if kids know their end product will be used, rather than trashed, audience and authenticity are huge
2) if a student can create something with substantiality – something remarkable – haven’t they demonstrated all we’re seeking? from the skill base to the analysis to the critical thinking..?


The two biggest areas this course will focus on and plan to reap benefits from will be it’s different approach to groupwork (people) and textbooks (info):

1. about groupwork: rather than having the teacher pick groups and switch them up every so often, students pick members per their passion, and keep them – hopefully for a life time – their professional learning network,
see here how we are starting out: groups
and here for where we are: hosting our groups

Students will make me-videos – to share their story with the class, and with any others they wish to include in their group. The videos also give their initial insight on reasons to do class this way.

2. about textbooks : rather than relying on a book – (no disrespect to written text – but we were looking for something alive and unboxed) – each student will have their own twitter account, with carefully selected people to follow – again per their passion – which will serve as a most brilliant search engine, and – each student will join diigo in order to bookmark all they find from twitter and in order to access the info their classroom coach (that’s me) has bookmarked and continues to bookmark for them here as well as any links i shoot them via any one of my icyte collections and/or via our twitter hashtag #unboxed.

Our collection of issues of web use, ie: safety, etc, here.

Findings after a semester’s worth:
1. Because algebra 2 is the most topic filled math class… some of our goals – of doing creative projects like building snowboard jumps – turned into: figuring out a more humane way for us and our friends to learn math…
2. This first time through was messy at times, very messy, however, through the messiness, we believe we figured some things out that will pave a more specific game plan for future students. we think if we knew what we knew now… about how to deal with boxed math – we would have had the time to pull of some creative projects as well
3. We made some good tutorials – to help us and others, but most important, finally figured out a way for the self-directed boxed math to happen in a public school setting
4. We believe this model of how to best use 90 minutes seat time, should/could be used by others in math class… but we’d also like to see it expanded to other classes, esp to curriculums not currently offered in our district, or not even yet created.  see more of that plan here.
5. one big take away was thinking about seat time, the value of being together in a room. we have been logging that and will report our specific findings by the end of this school year. obvious observations now include:
a) often times we were able to have richer activities and/or more efficient time spent because of the filters in the district… ie: skype and twitter are both unblocked but wouldn’t always be accessible, youtube is not accessible and many of the tutorials, me videos, etc that were made we put on youtube. (we asked ourselves why as well, knowing it was blocked, we determined it had to do with the simplicity youtube provides in posting a video, and the value of a wider audience.
b) even though we were in class 90 minutes, most of that time we were off in separate groups working on a project or on boxed math. we are thinking 2-3 hours one-size-fits-all seat time each day is plenty – for all  classes combined.
looking back to learn: how we started this year
looking ahead to learn more: our plan for next year

added research docs via icyte docs: open sources algebra 2
request that lead to this post was to show an instructional model, focus/purpose, (plan, teach, monitor, adjust), also suggested to check out comath. – one of my goals for second semester.. to tweak/improve our process/plan.

adding examples:
Shelley Wrightin Mousejaw via Shareski

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