FIELDS MATHEMATICS EDUCATION FORUM
MINUTES - June 8, 2002
: TIME FOR SOME REFLECTION
Quick Self-Quiz [True / False]
__1. On-Line Learning will help us to address our teacher shortage.
__2. On-Line Learning can be a money saver.
__3. On-Line Learning can be a money earner.
__4. The greatest challenges in On-Line Learning are technological
__5. Teachers need training in working in On-Line Learning environments.
__6. On-Line Learning can improve the quality of a student's educational
__7. All learning styles can be accommodated through On-Line learning.
__8. Successful On-Line Learning programs have significant off-line
__9. On-Line is to Learning as tail is to dog.
VISION OF LEARNER
Learners are immersed in a culture / environment that gives them the
!learn, use and refine inquiry and problem solving skills, and in so
!learn with understanding,
!use their knowledge in an integrated and authentic fashion to make
sense, and to
!develop the habits and skills of a life-long sense-maker, learner,
and problem solver.
Q. In what ways do the on-line courses you have selected / developed
or are considering selecting / developing support such a vision?
To All Those with a Stake or an Interest in On line Learning
On line teaching and learning is quickly becoming a significant part
of curriculum delivery in university undergraduate and teacher education
programs, in colleges, and in elementary and secondary schools. In particular,
there has been a movement toward providing on line learning experiences
in Mathematics. In responding to this development educators must identify
both the advantages and disadvantages of on line instruction in mathematics.
They then must mold on line modules as courses to ensure that the learning
experiences of every student are rich and meaningful.
We believe that on line delivery of course material developed to reflect
the lessons of research and best practice hold out the promise of improvements
in the areas of access, equity, efficiency, flexible learning opportunities,
and the overall quality of the educational experience for students.
On the other hand, on line learning carries with it risks and perils
including downside, enormous development and delivery costs, the risk
of entrenching of 19th century pedagogical practices via
21st century technology, student isolation, and reduced student support.
These hopes and concerns have motivated the Fields Institute to strike
a working committee to investigate on line learning. It has initiated
a series of actions that started with a two day symposium, which assembled
stakeholders from across Canada.
This meeting raised some fundamental questions about on line learning
and learning in general. As a possible stakeholder in on line learning
you are invited to consider this summary and accompanying white paper.
Your thoughts and responses will be very much appreciated by the committee
as it continues its work. Please do not hesitate to request additional
copies of this documentation for the use of individuals who are working
on the development and implementation of on line courses in your organization.
Some thoughts to ponder!
On-Line learning: Report Card
Annotated and un-annotated On-Line Learning 'Report Cards' are available
at [Web site, here]. They have been designed to be used by anyone wishing
to evaluate the quality of the learning experience provided by existing
on-line courses and to help guide developers of new on-line courses.
[Artwork of report card could / should be included.]
The Fields Institute
The Fields Institute, named after the Canadian mathematician John Charles
Fields, was established in 1992 as a research centre for the mathematical
sciences. The Institute, with primary funding from the Ontario Ministry
of Training, Colleges and Universities and the federal Natural Sciences
and Engineering Research Council [NSERC], provides visiting mathematicians
with on-going highly focused mathematics research seminars and opportunities
to investigate the industrial and business applications of their work.
Included in the Institute's mandate is the support of mathematical education
at all ages, from the beginning of schooling through to graduate and
post-doctoral study. To further this goal, the Institute, since early
1997, has coordinated and sponsored the Fields Mathematics Education
Forum. Here in regular meetings, mathematics educators from the elementary
and secondary school systems, colleges, and universities and others
with an interest in education, meet to exchange ideas and develop proposals
for the improvement of teaching and learning in the discipline. The
Forum has come to play a significant role in education, particularly
in Ontario, organizing symposia and workshops addressing key issues
and contributing to the development of the province's new secondary
school mathematics curriculum.
[Add comment re the Math Ed Research arm, headed up by Gila.]
[Place above on photo of Fields spiral staircase.]
[add contact info and web address here]
On-Line Learning: (Annotated) Report Card
Any learning package should provide the student with a quality learning
experience, that is, provide each student with the opportunity to:
1. make sense: - inquire, investigate, experiment, and problem solve
- make sense of their mathematics (conceptual and procedural understanding)
- make sense with and through their mathematics (apply their knowledge)
- develop the habits and attitudes of a life-long sense maker
2. engage in rich learning tasks: - tasks that give students opportunity
to make sense - encourage transfer of control from teacher to student
- actively engage, motivate, stimulate the student - allow students
to explore, model, formulate, manipulate, transform, conclude, infer,
and communicate - encourage the use of knowledge and tools in an authentic,
integrated, balanced, creative, imaginative, and purposeful fashion
- allow variable entry level into tasks - allow for wide range of performance
on task - make effective use of tools and resources - broadens teacher
/ student vision of subject
3. work within an appropriate structure: - effective structure - tasks
constructed with a flexible structure, adaptable to needs of learner
/ learning styles, accommodating individual differences - inviting -
student has measure of control within a structure / provides choice
- structure focuses activity, encourages productive activity, encourages
reflection, monitoring, communication - enables learning - teacher has
flexibility in use - balance of off-line and on-line experiences
4. interact meaningfully with co-learners: - provides access to others
- encourages discussion, sharing, collaboration, critiquing and evaluating
others ideas, judging rightness - allows for a variety of forms of interaction
- provides opportunity for face-to-face interaction - access to variety
of communication tools
5. interact meaningfully with teacher: - communication throughout learning
episode - human mediation - teacher plays significant / crucial role
as motivator / facilitator / modeler / re-assurer / challenger / monitor
/ assessor / community builder
6. assess: - encourages monitoring of progress, self-assessment, reflecting
on learning - student can receive timely feedback throughout learning
episode - students given opportunity to revise and improve - student
knows what success should look like - authentic assessment - assessment
linked to learning
7. have a relevant learning experience: - addresses all major curricular
expectations and emphases - addresses student readiness / interests
/ learning styles - use of multi-media / multi-representations - supports
enlightened vision of learner, teacher, and discipline
8. develop a sense of community of learners: - encourages risk taking
- legitimates a community of ignorance - respect for all members of
learning community and their differences
9. engage in a package developed by a team of experts: - experts in
the use of technology, multi-media, and software, subject discipline,
design, pedagogy, best practice / research - field-tested by end-users
- instructional design takes priority over technological form or pursuit
10. use package / resource with ease: - use-friendly - intuitive - transparency
of technology and software - ease of navigation through package - format
clear and easy to comprehend / use -equitable student access - simplicity
- modular - effective links to other resources - help section
On-Line Learning: Report Card
Name of Package ____________________________________ Overall Rating
(jjjjexemplary; jjjacceptable; jjsub-standard; junacceptable)
Overall Evaluation (Summary of major strengths and weaknesses of package.)
Detailed Evaluation (star ratings and brief comments)
______ 1. opportunity to make sense
______ 2. opportunity to engage in rich learning tasks
______ 3. structure of learning tasks
______ 4. interaction with co-learners
______ 5. interaction with teacher
______ 6. opportunity to assess
______ 7. relevance of learning experiences
______ 8. sense of community
______ 9. development team
_____ 10. ease of use of resource