Six Areas of Professional Growth

The main focus of the CIESE (Center for Improved Engineering & Science Education at Stevens Institute of Technology) model are the six areas of professional growth which forward teachers to successfully implement technology in their classrooms.

Resources - Teachers will explore a core of tool software programs that are judged to be versatile, rich, and which enhance opportunities of effective inquiry teaching and learning. Software packages include: GeometerÕs Sketchpad (geometry), spreadsheet programs, Tabletop (data analysis), Green Globs, Microworlds Mathlinks, and Algebra Animator. Graphing calculators and computer based labs (CBLs) will offer an alternative approach to teaching algebra. Internet applications that help teachers find interesting projects as an example of real-data analysis. Teachers will also become familiar with operating hardware and equipment resources such as Windows-based PCs and Macintosh computers, as well as display devices such as LCDs and video monitors.

Mathematical Learning - The use of various technologies offers opportunites for teachers to explore topics in more depth. For example, middle school teachers can review and strengthen their understanding of algebra by learning using the Green Globs program. Though their students may only use it to investigate linear relationships, the teachers can learn about and offer more complex functions as a challenge to the students because the technology makes these ideas more comprehensible for students. High school teachers discover new approaches to solving geometry problems using the GeometerÕs Sketchpad and adopt alternative and interesting classroom strategies.

Creating Learning Environments - While learning about software and other technologies, teachers will need to think ahead to adapt their classroom environment to accommodate these new resources and facilitate their experimentation in the classroom. Some common approaches teachers will become familiar with include:

  • Using projection tablet to lead a discussion.
  • Students work in a computer lab-at least one computer per two students. One computer for each student is advantageous for learning computer skills, but two students to a computer is optimal for solving mathematics problems.
  • Four to five computers are available in a classroom. An effective strategy for working in this classroom lab environment is to have groups of students work on problems where the computer is just one of the tools that students can access.
Developing Teaching Strategies - Using computers and calculators challenges teachers to reflect on how they should teach in these new environments in order to encourage active learning. Here teachers add new roles to their repertoire. They become coaches, resource managers, master learners, discussion leaders, and observe/evaluators and will continue to refine their didactic strategies.

Personalizing the Curriculum - Since the textbook defines the curriculum for most teachers, the adoption of technology encourages them to modify and replace lessons from their text with more interesting technology based lessons. In this way, teachers are taking an more active role in modifying, directing, and personalizing the content of the curriculum.

Developing Assessment Strategies - With the introduction of an innovation, it is important to be able to ask and answer the question, "How are we doing?" both from a teaching and learning perspective. For example, teachers and students can be encouraged to share what they have learned by exhibiting their knowledge to their classmates and the larger community. Students and teachers may, over time, develop a portfolio of their accomplishments. (Ihor, we need to also address other types of assessment tools, and specifically talk about how our project will help teachers learn to use them.)

Revised 3.3.99

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