Well, the last blog post for EADM 820. We have looked at ed tech from a global perspective and now to share some stories. The final blog post assignment is the following:
It’s time to end things on a positive note. We’ve provided you a longer-term look at a an edtech story (iPads in Los Angeles schools) that has a lot of lessons to be learned from what didn’t work. Now we want you to share some ed tech stories or products from around the world, specifically things that did work and that have lessons to learn about how to do things right. It could be about how a functionality of a technology works pedagogically. It could be a story about how someone somewhere implemented a technology. It could be about a leader who is inspiring others. It could be about making do with what you have and doing it well or intentionally not using technology and doing it well. Use the course blog to explore how one of these stories inspires you or interests you or leaves you with questions. Please make sure your post includes a link to the article/story/post.
I am choosing to share about Yay Math, a movement that I stumbled upon last year while looking for extra support videos for some of my grade 10 students to watch at home. For an idea of what Yay Math is about, check out his TEDx talk on math anxiety.
I completely understand what Robert Ahdoot (@yaymath) refers to when he states that people cringe when he shares that he teaches high school mathematics, I get it all the time. Robert Ahdoot decided that he was going to address these feelings towards mathematics and, in an effort to make math more fun, interactive, and engaging, he started recording his lessons, including the questions and interactions that he has with students in real time, and posting them online for anyone to view and learn from. They started simple, and now have some great costumes, characters, and graphics. He has over 126,000 followers on his Youtube channel and over 250 videos sharing various mathematics topics. Mr. Ahdoot has branched out to help others with a flipped classroom model, how to use his videos and other resources to create a blended classroom. He has also written a book, One-on-One 101, which addresses how to individualize instruction based on his experiences as a teacher and tutor.
It started with a simple idea: film the lesson while it is being taught. It has grown from there. His classes do not use a large amount of technology devices in the classroom but their lessons are available, 24/7, online for them to access and review. He uses as whiteboard and unique costumes to encourage the engagement of his students and has created a classroom environment of trust and desire to learn.
What made this approach successful? He started with the pedagogy. He started with “high quality content” and encouraged his students to have fun and contribute to the lesson. He broke down the walls of fear that often show up in the math classroom. He was quirky and not afraid to make the lesson funny in many different ways. This helps students relax and buy in to the lesson. They want to be in the classroom and they want to learn.
This is important when thinking about ed tech implementation and leadership. We have talked about this in our course: the pedagogy, GOOD pedagogy, must come first. In watching his lessons, you can see that his students are engaged and are participating, not afraid to make an error. This is a sign of good classroom management. It is clear his students are having fun and being successful in their learning. This is a sign of sound instructional design.
What do you think about the Yay Math movement? Do you feel that they have succeeded in integrating technologies into the classroom?
An example of one of Yay Math’s videos on statistics: