Monthly Archives: July 2017

Math Sciences is Everywhere and Used For Everyone

The idea of “learning math” often conjures the image of a student hunched over his desk, solving problems using a set formula he copied down from his teacher. Math, we tend to think, is a strict set of algorithms, practices, and rules — all emanating from inside the classroom. New resources from the Harvard Family Research Project(HFRP), though, paint a different picture entirely — elevating the role of the family as a source of math knowledge.

In its latest initiative, HFRP is focusing on the idea that children’s knowledge of math is “broad and deep,” developing anywhere, anytime, and even starting at birth. Families are instrumental to their children’s success in mathematics, as they can help children recognize and use mathematical thinking in everyday activities.

But today’s math assignments can be confounding for parents who learned math in a pre-Common Core era, or in a different country — or who still harbor math anxiety from their own days at school, or never fully learned to connect the dots between everyday actions and math lessons. To ensure students are ready to thrive, educators have to partner with parents, acknowledging how diverse families already use math — and how they understand and grapple with math in their own ways.

MATH IS CULTURAL

To start, educators should keep in mind three broad ideas about mathematics and families, as explained by Diane Kinch and Marta Civil of the group TODOS: Mathematics for All.

  1. Mathematics is cultural. Families, especially parents who went to school outside of the United States, may have learned math differently than the way their children are learning it. They may have indicated decimals with commas instead of periods, or relied more on mental math in long division — and they may become confused (or confuse their children) when not introduced to the methods taught in their children’s school.
  2. Mathematics exists in many different ways in many different communities.Research often concludes that lower-income homes don’t do as many math activities as upper-income homes. But all families use math with their children, whether it’s through halving a recipe, calculating gas mileage, or figuring out the right angle to shoot a basketball. It’s up to teachers to connect with their school community and understand the practices and strengths of the families they work with.
  3. Students learn best when their families and teachers are co-learners.Teachers should help cultivate the mindset that everyone has different beliefs about what’s important in mathematics, and how that should be taught and learned.

FIVE STRATEGIES FOR CONNECTING WITH FAMILIES

How exactly can educators connect with families about mathematics? HFRP offers specific suggestions, drawn from TODOS, the case study “Daddy Says This New Math Is Crazy,” and the program Nana y Yo y las Mathematicas:

  • Leverage parents’ mathematical strengths. Seek out opportunities to identify math content and approaches with which parents are familiar. Look for and encourage instances of parents using math with their children, such as counting or noticing shapes, before asking parents to try out a new technique.
  • Make communication with parents the focus of homework. It’s easy for children and parents to grow frustrated when children can’t remember how to do their homework, and parents don’t understand the method that their children are supposed to use. Circumvent this problem by assigning students homework specifically asking them to teach the new method they learned that day to their parents.
  • Organize math discussions with families. Coordinate get-togethers to discuss content, ways to solve problems, and which skills are most important — meetings in which everyone is open to learning from each other.
  • Invite parents into the classroom. Ask parents to speak to their class about times that they have used math in their everyday lives. To demonstrate how mathematics is different — and the same — across cultures, invite parents to teach the class a lesson using the methods they learned in school, or using the same methods, but in another language.
  • Capture classroom lessons on video. Visits during the school day are not feasible for all families. Use smartphones to text short videos of lessons, to ensure parents feel included and aware of new learning methods.

Benefits Of Educational Technology

Today, everything that we come across has some technological connotation to it. Be it at home, school or workplace, technology has found a comfortable niche and has become an integral part of life. With the use of technology, several arenas are seeing changes and education is also one of them. The birth of educational technology has proved to be a boon to students the world over. Not only in the regular setting, but also in educating students with special needs have known to be benefited with the introduction of this modern invention. Let us now discuss the uses and benefits of educational technology in this modern-day setting.What is Educational Technology?
The term ‘educational technology’ has a broad perspective and is also referred to as instructional technology or learning technology. This method plays a vital role in enhancing the learning process of students and also assists teachers in communicating with the students in an easy way. Educational technology can be a classroom affair, or can be even taken out of the classroom. This technology has successfully transformed the stereotypical image of classrooms into a modern and more interesting one. Thanks to this modern development, classrooms are no longer a boring place and learning is actually a fun experience. With the use of computers and software programs, which provide learning materials, technology has changed education to a great extent.

Educational Technology Benefits
There are a number of benefits of introducing technology in the field of education. There has been a positive impact of technology on education. Virtual classrooms have made learning easier for the student community. With the potential use of technology, the learning speed and style have undergone a sea change and communication has become easier. Here are some of the benefits of educational technology.

One of the benefits of educational technology for students is that it helps them improve their learning capabilities. Since it is one field which is constantly changing, new updates can be easily introduced to the students and class plans can be prepared with the help of the software.

  •  In the earlier days, education was considered to be mostly for the elite class and people under other strata were quite ignorant of it. With the introduction of educational technology, there is no discrimination and everyone is equally accessible to get educated.
  •  The information can be portrayed in various ways with the help of study materials. Knowledge has become easily accessible to students in every part of the world with the implementation of technology in the field of education. Online classrooms help students to interact with other students belonging to the same stream, but located somewhere else in the world.
  •  Since the Internet is the main medium and other things like handheld tablet PCs and smart boards have entered the arena, students do not have to carry heavy backpacks loaded with books. They can walk in comfortably to the classroom where these equipment are already placed.
  •  With the birth of virtual classrooms, the instructor from any part of the world can teach the learner (or learners) who may be living at the other end. The reach of this technology is quite far and students living in the remote parts can also avail it with ease.
  •  In special education, the educational technology has brought about a sea change where the needs of students are catered to in a different manner. With the introduction of the software which teaches students with special needs, the appropriate study materials are designed so that learning is comfortable.

    With the inclusion of technology, the concept of education is undergoing a modification, for the betterment of the students as well as the teachers. Hence, the introduction of technology is important in education. Thanks to educational technology, now learning and teaching have become an enjoyable experience.

Games Educational for Students

Educational games have always been important additions to the classroom. From games that aid in spelling and vocabulary, such as Hangman and Scrabble to games that help students learn how to think critically, like Brain Teasers to some games that help improve memory like those in which you flip cards over and try to remember where the matching card was placed, games have been an integral part of every child’s educational experience. As a teacher, it is important to play games with your students to spark their interest for learning and allow your students to have a little fun in the midst of classroom work. Some might say this is not a beneficial practice to engage in with your students, but if the games you play are educational and fun, everyone benefits. These games can also be used as rewards and positive reinforcement for good behavior and good work in class.

Apples to Apples

Apples to Apples is an awesome card game produced by Mattel. This game is deceptively simple and really fun to play with groups of people, whether in class or at a party. With this game, there are two sets of cards: red apple cards and green apple cards. The red apple cards have nouns (person, place, thing, or idea) on them. These nouns are often famous people (like “Mel Gibson”), concepts (like “Feminism”), or extraordinary events (like “My High School Prom”). The green apple cards have adjectives (words that describe a noun) on them. The goal of the game is to match your red apple cards with the green apple card that is drawn. In each round, each player gets five red apple cards and a judge is appointed. That judge draws a green apple card and announces the word. Each player (the judge does not play) puts a red apple card down-face down so the judge cannot see – that pairs well with the word on the green apple card. The judge then decides who put the best word in, and that person gets the green apple card. Whoever has the most green apple cards at the end, wins. This game can get students thinking about word choice in literature and in their own writing, as well as what makes certain pairings sad or funny. Students will also learn new words by being exposed to things they are not necessarily familiar with.

Hink Pink

Hink Pink is a great brainteaser game made by Discovery Bay Games. In this game, there are cards that have riddles on them, and students need to think about the answer to the riddles in order to receive points. The answers to the riddles are always two words, and they always rhyme. They also always fall into one of three categories: Hink Pinks are two one-syllable words that rhyme, Hinky Pinkys are two two-syllable words that rhyme, and Hinkity Pinkitys are two three-syllable words that rhyme. If the teacher is calling out the riddles, he or she will tell the students if it is a Hink Pink, Hinky Pinky, or Hinkity Pinkity, then read the riddle. For example, the teacher might say: “Hink Pink: A chocolate connoisseur.” Then, the students would answer “Fudge Judge.” There are many worksheets and educational activities online that a quick internet search will give you. However, if you buy the game, there is also a timer that can be used with smaller groups. Using the cards alone, though, is a great way to get students involved when you have a few extra minutes at the end of class. By Buzzle Staff and Agencies.

Do You Want to Help Save the World through Recent Energy Studies

Human demand for once-abundance natural resources now exceeds what the earth can renew by more than 60 percent, according to the Global Footprint Network. One of the biggest challenges facing humankind moving forward? Energy. And while one approach involves continued reliance on harmful fossil fuels until they run out completely, another has a very different and sustainable strategy at its core: switching the focus to renewable energy resources. Here’s a closer look at this innovative solution, along with how you can become involved in the vital effort to power the planet while simultaneously protecting it.

Why Renewable Energies are the Future

The U.S. Energy Administration recently forecast renewable energies to be the fastest-growing power source through the year 2040. Which begs the question: What makes “renewable energies” such an important area?  While the world has long relied on fossil fuels, including coal, oil and natural gas, for energy, these are nonrenewable — meaning they draw on finite resources which are not only dwindling, but also increasingly expensive and environmentally destructive.

Conversely, renewable energies — the most prominent being solar, wind and hydropower, but also including biomass, geothermal, ocean and others — can be perpetually created or recreated. In other words, they are self-sustaining and so never run out on the timescale on mankind.

Countries all over the world are turning to renewable energies in the hopes of reversing our dependence on fossil fuels and harnessing the full potential of new technologies. Says Dr. Martin Heinrich, an administrator and instructor at Germany’s University of Freiburg, “Slowly governments and decision makers realized that renewable energies may allow a sustaining electricity generation for the future, which also avoids the huge emission of greenhouse gasses and dependencies on oil producing countries. This has been shown by the COP21 agreement in Paris and also companies such as BP, Shell, Total, Statoil, Repsol and Eni starting to invest into renewable energies or into methods of reducing oil and gas usage.”

In the US alone, investments in the renewable energies sector rose from $8 billion in the first quarter of 2004 to $50 billion in 2015’s first quarter, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, with more utilities companies investing in alternative energy solutions.

Within the RE sector, meanwhile, wind energy is taking an increasingly prominent position, according to the University of Kassel’s Dr. André Bisevic: “[2015 and 2016] were two impressive years for the wind industry worldwide. In 2016, 54,6 GW were installed all over the world. Especially the strong appetite for wind energy in China is responsible for this development.  It can be assumed that the increasing demand will continue in the coming years. According to estimates of the highly reputable Massachusetts of Technology (MIT), wind power could supply circa 26 percent of China´s projected electricity demand in the next 15 years.” The result? Positive environmental and economic effects around the globe.

The Job Market Is Booming

On a macroscopic scale, renewable energies have the power to change the world. But we also need people to make that happen — specifically, people with the knowledge and expertise to understand and implement renewable energies. Because of this, the field is developing at a staggering pace, and is expected to continue to do so in the decades ahead.

According to HowStuffWorks, “With increasing government and private funding of renewable energy, the industry as a whole is exploding, and along with it the number of potential jobs in the green-power sector…If there were such a thing as a sure thing, expansion in green-energy employment opportunities would be it. It’s a huge market, encompassing solar power, wind power, geothermal energy, biofuels and hydropower, for a start. Research and development are ongoing, large-scale capability is increasing, and real-world implementation of renewable-energy technologies is growing by the day.”

Echoes Heinrich, “The huge interest by governments and companies worldwide increases the need for qualified personnel in the field of renewables and solar energy.”

Looking to Germany

Germany is leading the pack when it comes to renewable energies, and largely regarded as an example to the rest of the world. Not only is the country pioneering new renewable energy technologies and applications, but it’s also aggressively rejecting fossil fuels toward the ambitious goal of cutting carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by the year 2050.

According to a National Geographic piece on Germany’s energy revolution, “While most countries have been free riders, Germany has behaved differently: It has ridden out ahead. And in so doing, it has made the journey easier for the rest of us.”

It follows that Germany’s higher education institutions would also be pioneers in teaching in this field. Says Heinrich of the country’s teaching role since officially passing its Renewable Energies Law (“Erneuerbare Energien Gesetz”) more than a decade ago, “This period of 12 years of experiencing the impact of renewable energies in the electricity mix for a huge economy like Germany helped to push the development of solar energy and renewables and it created a huge amount of knowledge in this subject in Germany….Now that renewable energies are cost competitive with other technologies and are more and more employed in other countries, the people in Germany would like to aid adopters all over the world to repeat the great success by avoiding all the obstacles and mistakes.”

Consider the Fraunhofer Academy, which comprises the renewable energies programs offered by the University of Freiburg and the University of Kassel, where Heinrich manages the school’s Solar Energy Engineering program and André Bisevic coordinates the Master in Wind Energy Systems.

For students looking to make their own contributions in the field, these programs offer critical knowledge, training and experience[1] .  For example, students in the Solar Energy Engineering program have the chance to develop, design, and optimize solar energy devices and systems with real, world-changing potential.

Meanwhile, Fraunhofer’s Wind Energy Systems program — offered by the University of Kassel in scientific partnership with Fraunhofer — aims to further wind power research and technology. According to Dr. Bisevic, the Online M.Sc. in Wind Energy Systems addresses how to manage the technical and economic integration of a large amount of wind energy into the energy supplier system as well as the design and development of innovative concepts for the single components of the wind energy converter system, including the nacelle system, the rotor blade and the support structures.

As if safeguarding the planet for future generations and a robust job market aren’t reason enough for people to pursue studies in this fascinating field, Heinrich points out yet another incentive. Particularly for students with interests in engineering, math and the natural sciences, the subject of renewable energies is compelling one thanks to the richness of its scientific and technological concepts involved.