Why “Easing the Hurry Syndrome”?
A Google search of “technology speeds up life” results in about 173 million results in less than half of a second. What I find in my classroom, however, is that using technology actually slows down the pace.
In the midst of my usual rush to cover all of the required standards, when we use TI-Nspire (a dynamic, interactive platform) to explore a difficult concept, the questions that students ask slow us down. The platform that we use encourages students to ask “what happens if…” questions. The platform that we use allows the students to find answers to those questions interactively so that the teacher is not the only expert in the classroom.
In the midst of my usual rush to cover all of the required standards, when I use TI-Nspire Navigator to send students a Quick Poll to check for understanding, their responses sometimes let me know that we need to spend a little longer “attending to precision”. Seeing that their response doesn’t get marked correct up on the board in front of the class is not the same thing as the teacher writing the correct answer on a whiteboard and having students compare to what they have in their head or paper as their answer to the given problem. And so we look at their responses, letting the students determine whether or not the answers are correct or incorrect, letting students determine what error was made to produce an incorrect answer, “critiquing the reasoning of others”.
Most importantly, using TI-Nspire Navigator gives every student a voice – even the most quiet. I no longer have to rely on their polite nods to determine whether they are “getting it”. Using technology eases the hurry syndrome, forcing me to pay attention to the questions students have and allowing me to assess their progress in a timely manner.
This year, I am trying to document our journey to create a CCSS Geometry course – and we are all trying to ease the hurry syndrome, which we are already finding difficult. For example, we had planned to do the compass and straightedge constructions for perpendicular bisector and angle bisector, along with letting students explore the relationship of the centroid of a triangle to each median on Wednesday of last week. What we found, however, is that whether they were supposed to or not, our students didn’t really know how to use a compass, much less know what things were equal in the construction when they completed it. If we wanted the students to do the constructions well, we were going to have to move medians to the next class period.
And so the journey to ease the hurry syndrome continues…