HomeTeachers21st Century LearningYU 2.0 PostsDan Meyer: math class needs a makeover

Dan Meyer: math class needs a makeover

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This is one my favorite talks on the use of technology in education. I don't want to spoil the fun of watching it but, in a nutshell, Meyer, a weblogging high school math teacher, talks about how he approaches the challenge of motivating his students to think about math in a fresh, new way, and how he transforms them into "patient problem-solvers." In his introduciton, he says:

I teach high school math. I sell a product to a market that doesn't want it, but is forced by law to buy it. I mean, it's just a losing proposition.

In just under twelve minutes, Meyer makes a compelling case in favor of five simple changes that math teachers can make to their classroom practice in order to force students to think about problems differently:

  • Use multimedia
  • Encourage intuition
  • Ask the shortest question you can
  • Let students build the problem
  • Be less helpful

Of course, these approaches will work in more than just math class... they're equally applicable to science, English, Judaic studies, etc. It's really just the old adage that students should be working harder than their teacher.


The other think I love about this presentation is the incorporation of technology, both in Meyer's presentation and in the methodology he presents. His slides are not whiz-bang impressive, in fact they're rather austere. However, they are clear and communicate complex ideas visually, without an excess of verbiage. Also, the multimedia techniques he demonstrates are fairly low-tech and easy to implement. The emphasis is on the content, not the media which allows us to stop talking about educational technolgoy and simply talk about learning.

 

Enjoy! (Here is a link to the video in case the embed code does not work.)

 

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