Using Tech for Multiplying Fractions

This week we began to loop together all of the concepts that we’ve learned throughout this CEP810 course by creating a lesson plan that incorporates technology tool to enhance students’ learning.  I really liked the message of Thomas & Brown (2011) when they explained that students need to not only learn where to find what they need to know, but also know how to make things that represent their learning.  This is something that teachers, including myself in the past, often forget when utilizing technology in the classroom. As a basis for developing my lesson plan, I used Renee Hobbs framework which outlined five critical components of instructional practice: Access, Analyzing, Creating, Reflecting and Acting.

The lesson that I created for this week was for a fourth grade, self-contained math class and targeted students learning how to multiply fractions by whole numbers.  In order to achieve this objective, the technology tools I incorporated included: iPads, Google Apps, iXL Math app, AppleTV, a website, and Vimeo.  Each of these tools served a different purpose from introducing the instructional topic to providing students an avenue to demonstrate and share their learning.

I used the idea for Vimeo from our assignment last week where we had to create a video based on the TPACK framework.  Just like my “how to” fruit salad video, I wanted to use this tech tool to allow students to create a “how to” for solving a specific type of math problems, demonstrate their learning and share their strategies with their classmates.

As highlighted in Thomas Friedman’s New York Times article, Tony Wagner stated, “We teach and test things most students have no interest in and will never need.” This statement resonated with me because when I was teaching 11th grade Advanced Algebra, most of what I was teaching was focused on ACT prep and not on what my students would actually need in the real world.  In my lesson, I tried to focus on including student interest and creating an opportunity for real-life application. To do this, students will choose their favorite food recipe and then apply the skill of multiplying fractions by a whole number to multiply the quantities of their ingredients.  There have been many times that I have had to double a recipe in order to make enough food for a dinner party. My hope is that my students will be able to transfer the skill of multiplying fractions by whole numbers to a future task like this one. Check out my lesson plan here.

References:

Thomas, D., & Brown, J. S. (2011). A new culture of learning: Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change. Lexington, Ky: CreateSpace?.

Hobbs, R. (2011). Digital and media literacy: Connecting culture and classroom. Thousand, Oaks, CA: Corwin/Sage.

Friedman, T. (2013). Need a Job? Invent it. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/31/opinion/sunday/friedman-need-a-job-invent-it.html?smid=pl-share

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