October 7 Day 213: Speaking of Math…

So I am three oral interviews into the 17 group assessments that need to occur this week and I’ve already learned so much.

  1. The rubric works. What a relief! I am impressed how team members pay attention and try to help others succeed without giving too much away.
  2. I must fight the impulse to make every problem a learning experience. I must keep comments to myself until all members have presented. First asking if others have something to add or ask. Then quickly pointing out unidentified nontrivial errors. Afterwards, I need to ask the students to depart so I can write notes before the next assessment starts.
  3. It is necessary to stress the importance of arriving early, starting promptly, and only taking up the assigned time. Each group has 3-4 members and no more than 20 minutes. Five minutes per person should be enough to finish the assessment—unless we started late, waiting for members to arrive, deciding presentation order, and activating technology.
  4. I set a timer to go off at the halfway point of each interview. It keeps everyone focused and on task.
  5. Students are learning the importance of practice. Thinking through the problems on their own is not the same was working through them with a live audience. Group members that practiced together were more relaxed and confident.
  6. Presentations can take many forms but students generally have been writing out the solution within a camera’s view on a whiteboard IRL or on a shared online whiteboard. To help with the latter, I assign an interactive whiteboard space for each group where they can prepare, practice, and present in real time.

Three down and fourteen to go. I look forward to reading their reflections on the assessment once they are all completed.

Published by Jenny Quinn

Mathematician. Mother. Wife. Leader. I am a professor of mathematics at the University of Washington Tacoma. Mother of Anson and Zachary. Wife to Mark. President of the Mathematical Association of America.

5 thoughts on “October 7 Day 213: Speaking of Math…

    1. Cassie Williams of GMU did a really great analysis of virtual white boards. I linked to it in my August 16 post. I think the short answer is, it depends on how you want to use it.

      Based on her analysis I am paying for a limnu.com account ($5/mo) so that I can save boards and access them later. I love being able to lead students around the board. It has been useful for the oral assessment and it supported the MAA virtual coloring social hour. What I don’t like, is there is not the ability copy and paste within limnu although I can load pictures and pdfs. (plus I love the automatically generated names lemming-contemptible, goblin-fussy, hippo-insane). I hear good things about Jamboards but my University’s Google Suite hasn’t yet integrated it. (I understand it is coming just not fast enough for my taste.)

      If you are only working with a few students at a time, there are other choices. In fact, I’ve been pretty impressed by the shared white board in Gather (gather.town). Plus I love the ability to wander and interact without needing breakout rooms. (See post from October 1).


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