This is one of the model lessons at NECC, set up as if a teacher were teaching a regular lesson to students. The central floor had room for 25 students equipped with laptops, a smart board, and a teacher. In this case, the teacher was Marsha Sanders-Leigh from Georgia Tech.
Marsha showed the class and audience a sample lesson on circles and ratios using Geometer’s Sketchpad. I’ve never used the software before (Kate Small may just come down here and shoot me because she’s been telling me about it for almost a year now).
For the visual learner, Sketchpad is incredibly useful. It helped me see the relationships the teacher was presenting. I think Sketchpad is probably a nice add-on for math classes, however I should add that what she taught could be done with pen and paper — it’s a matter of the approach taken in teaching.
As a model of teaching, I see now the challenge of working both with a large class and lots of unfamiliar technology. After the initial aha moments with Sketchpad, this quickly became a lesson in working through the technology. One “student” went to the board and worked through the problem on an on-screen graphing calculator. The teacher told her what buttons to press and honestly, it lost my attention.
I have a few really cool takeaways: Geometer’s Sketchpad rocks. TI makes a smart board version of its graphing calculator called SmartView. Marsha started the lesson by finding and acknowledging the experts in the classroom — and pointing them out to the newbies (I thought this was a cool class management idea).
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