Online classes and problem solving

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Online classes and problem solving

Postby Tom_DeVries » Sat Nov 19, 2011 9:00 pm

Hi everyone,

A challenge with problem solving and online schools is that the kids know the answer is there....
A few schools have online sessions that are scheduled in real time so you actually discuss things, and can hopefully get kids to engage...

But the school I teach for is "asynchronous" , so the kids are "everywhere" and "every time".

So we don't ever insist on kids being a part of an online discussion.

The Phillips Exeter Academy has a curriculum that is 100% problem solving based, and they have all their questions available online (no answers though!)

I tried to take one of the Exeter problems and solve it in little tiny steps, the idea being, (assuming the student actually wanted to do the problem),
that a student could try, get a little help, try some more, get more help, etc.
So they could hopefully learn if they didn't have a clue, or do at least some of the problem even if they didn't have a clue.

This works well in Mathematica since you can use cell groups to "hide" the steps.

I'd be interested in any feedback on online education in general, problem solving, and whether this approach used in the question might be effective.

I posted the question online at ...

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Re: Online classes and problem solving

Postby Andy_Dorsett » Fri Dec 16, 2011 9:56 pm

Good afternoon!

As a former math teacher and department chair - I really see the value in the Mathematica notebook you attached. I see how students who like a challenge can work through it without looking at hints, whereas the students who need that extra "nudge" can easily get that below your main diagram.

There is a challenge in online education to make it not only relevant to future classes, college, and careers but also educationally sound and inventive (which, I believe you must be inventive with online education to keep lessons from being white-paper-on-the-screen.)

The beauty of using Mathematica with online education is that the flexibility is there for many levels of classes and different methods of content delivery. The walk-through method you gave is very impressive and very useful for this problem. I've created a few interactive lesson plans that could be used in online education as well. The link to check them out is here: ... e&x=17&y=8

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these, as they have a different look and feel than yours do.

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