November 28, 2019

Pilot Project Helps Students Learn Algebra Using Technology

PBA News

Palm Beach Atlantic University has received a $10,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation, the philanthropy arm of AT&T, to implement a two-year pilot project partnering with nearby Conniston Community Middle School that aims to help students learn algebra through new instructional methods and technology.

Starting this fall, Conniston Middle School students involved in the project will be able to work individually and in groups using interactive TI-Nspire handhelds that are part of PBA’s pilot program. The devices will be equipped with TI-Navigator software that allows the teacher to view each student’s work on a computer screen and to offer feedback electronically. If a student comes up with a unique or interesting solution, the teacher can capture and highlight that student’s work for the other students in the class.

“By using these handhelds, students can explore the mathematics on their own and in groups instead of sitting passively listening to mathematics lectures and writing notes on what the teacher said. By exploring the mathematics on their own, they can use their own learning styles to make sense of the mathematics,” said Dr. Marsha Guntharp, associate professor of mathematics at PBA and a former middle- and high-school teacher.

Dr. Guntharp will work with a PBA research assistant and a teacher at Conniston to write lessons that will engage students and contribute to their understanding of concepts. Using an abbreviated technique from Japanese teachers called “Lesson Study,” the collaborators will brainstorm ways to enrich each lesson to accomplish the objectives.

The students will keep journals indicating their level of understanding each day, as well as their level of mathematics anxiety and their level of interest in mathematics. Using the journals and classroom notes, the team can refine the lessons as needed.

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