Week 8 Reflection

I had difficulty coming up with a story for my gamified class, or lesson, and was happy to read Mariah’s suggestion of math history.  There are rich stories and characters in math history, most of which I don’t remember, but can incorporate in my lessons.  I’m not a reader of stories, but read for information.  One of the common themes during my readings of gamifying classes is to start small.  It was interesting to see that the blogs I read from our class incorporated guilds, but I did not.  I attributed that to a greater interest in one player games, than group games.  I am not interested in playing group games, which is probably why I didn’t participate in any in high school sports, but did join and play in the band.  Although it’s a group activity, it’s not competitive per se, and it’s not a game.

It was interesting to read Heather’s blog that described how a math teacher was trying some new and innovative things in class, but got negative feedback from parents and community members.  I don’t know the specifics about this situation, but it got me thinking about how parents, community members, and the overall professional learning community reacts to trends in education.  There are motivated teachers with great ideas, probably from researching methods online, and they get bombarded with negative feedback.  I think it stems from our educational systems’ robustness to change.  It reminds me of how we have had computers and technology in the class for over 3 decades, and there is little evidence that it is permeating education as a whole and is utilized on a daily basis.  I do have to admit that calculators, and specifically graphing calculators have dominated the math education scene for 2 decades.  Why limit ourselves to this?  I informally polled my statistics class the other day, and offered them a choice to using graphing calculators, or more powerful laptop technology to do their statistical analysis, and to my surprise, they wanted to use graphing calculators!  They never offered me a convincing argument to why they would use graphing calculators instead of more powerful technology.  Go figure…

After all this is said and done, I wonder if I would get the same kind of reaction to new methods and pedagogies, not only from parents and community, but from our own students who we are trying to help and motivate to learn.  I am willing to try, but seeing that my students are at the “end” of their K-12 education, a lot of their mindsets are set and it’s difficult to change a decade’s worth of indoctrination.

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