Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Leading by the nose? Or breaking a path?

Well, we did a bit of direct instruction (not Direct Instruction, which is completely different... kinda like variables in poorly designed programming languages) where, in order to lead them through using Maple to get a least squares line for a set of data, I had to go through with them step-by-step. For one, I didn't plan enough time to write out instructions & film them ... 2nd, I wanted to be able to discuss WHY we were doing each step with the students.

It went VERY well... in fact, I had a number of students say "I really like using Maple" and most were actively engaged. I did have one student get frustrated and say "I hate Maple" but a caveat: he's not the most focused student and tends to make sloppy errors. His adjacent seatmate helped him make corrections.

They also wanted to experiment a bit... one student didn't want to write all the years 1989-1992 so wanted to write that Year:=1989..1992. I said there was a way to do that so I'll have to work that idea in later.

I'm really hoping that they are open to experimentation... they seem okay with the "button pushing" process but, of course, I really want them to focus on mathematics problem solving.
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