Re-thinking Our High School Math Curriculum

Nils Ahbel of Deerfield Academy gave a thought provoking presentation at the 2011 Anja S. Greer Conference on Secondary School Mathematics (held at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH) on the history and potential future of the American High School mathematics curriculum.  The Prezi that he used to illustrate his talk can be found here.

As I recall, his core points about the state of things today were that:

– our curriculum has remained largely unchanged for 119 years (witness the content of the textbook whose pages fill the number 8 in his prezi).

– the current goal of most high school curricula is to Continue reading Re-thinking Our High School Math Curriculum

Race To Nowhere: Conclusions

The movie “Race to Nowhere” provides much food for thought. While the homework loads and high stress levels shown in the movie no doubt exist in many school environments, I have not perceived them to the same degree in our community. Having said that, there are certainly some weeks of the year which are more stressful than others.

Further Questions

As I left the movie, I did not feel that it had answered the following questions to my satisfaction:

1. Are students making productive use of all their available time?
I know many students who regularly have blocks of time that they could use to complete school work, but choose not to. If this is also true for the students portrayed in the movie, effective time management is a useful skill that can often be taught or improved upon.

2. Are students studying efficiently/appropriately?
I know many students who have not been taught Continue reading Race To Nowhere: Conclusions

The Cost of Education

Making high quality educational services available at an affordable price per student is a challenging task. Consider the costs (in 2011) of offering one course at a school:

Teacher Salary

What is the market salary for a highly skilled teacher with good experience teaching a particular subject? The answer to this question usually depends on the grade level and geographic location, but I will assume it might be $45,000 for a teacher in areas of the United States with an average cost of living.

School Year Length

The above salary number reflects a 185 day, or 37 week school year. It will probably vary a bit if the school year is longer or shorter than 185 days.

Overhead

Schools are complex organizations that require Continue reading The Cost of Education

Student Response Clickers

I am researching student response clickers, in hopes of using them in Algebra I and II classes this fall.

Companies

To date I have come across six companies that offer them:
eInstruction
iRespond
Qwizdom
Renaissance Learning
Smartroom
Turning Technologies

I have found internet references to the following vendors Continue reading Student Response Clickers