Task 1

The article I found (via Google Scholar) is: http://ascilite.org.au/ajet/ajet28/jang.html

Australasian Journal of Educational Technology

2012, 28(8), 1451-1465

Reasons for using or not using interactive whiteboards: Perspectives of Taiwanese elementary mathematics and science teachers

Syh-Jong Jang and Meng-Fang Tsai

Chung-Yuan Christian University

The article reports results of a survey that found differences between types of teachers in reasons not to use IWBs. Male teachers found it harder to design of search for IWB materials than females. And both males and females found the tech too expensive for their schools - the main reason not to use IWBs. Also, student engagement dependent on teacher experience (I am not surprised) - with novice teachers finding IWBs hard to use well.

I hope IWBs will get cheaper with time, just like the rest of the tech does. The fact it takes a long time to design or find good resources also gets better addressed as more and more users share their resources online. Hopefully, depositories of open and free resources will continue to grow, and to become easier and easier to search.

So, people in Taiwan seem to have the same issues with IWBs as people in the US, pretty much: lack of budget, time, sources, training, and tech support!

Task 2

I found a one-minute snippet, where a teacher and a student rotate a piece under a function around a vertical line (AP Calculus). I am starting a large project about calculus, so such topics are on my mind.

I liked two parts. First, the teacher told the student to keep moving the rotation axis... keep going... keep going... The communication and the corresponding movement of the axis was very immediate, very hands-on, very visible to the rest of the class. Then, when the piece rotated, there was the "wow moment" of seeing it happen, on a large screen. This effect can be achieved with projectors and simply large computer screens too. But something about the girl standing there and touching the model as it unfolded felt more sci-fi and impressive than other tech I've seen.

Task 3

This task is re-designed from an activity I always do at the start of math clubs. It's a combination of a scavenger hunt and storytelling. It works for students ages 4 to 10 or so, because they are eager to share what they love.

1. Students bring something they loved that week. It can be a toy, a sacred object, a book, a vegetable/animal/mineral, a poster they designed, a model they programmed... anything! The reason and the point: math is everywhere.

2. The owner of the object photographs it, so that it appears in the growing collection on the whiteboard. The reason: so students can review all their past accomplishments.

3. Everybody finds and explains math in the object. For example, there is usually some sort of symmetry or pattern in human-made objects. Things from nature often have fractal patterns. Modern toys frequently have applied math or scientific aspects (sources of energy, robotics, functions, etc.) Students can drag past tags (like "symmetry") to the object, or add a new tag to the collection if they happen to go into math that nobody has found yet. The reason: the same math is found in many objects. Once a math idea is found, students start seeing it everywhere, in everything. We had this happen to ideas like "infinity" - where students dared one another to find infinity in any random object, and did!

4. If new math is found, students can do online image search by that keyword to see where else that math appears. Reason: there is much math serendipity in seeing math art, objects, graphs, etc. (images) by keywords. It's the next round of scavenger hunting, this time for common visual themes.

We've done a version of this using a regular bulletin board to keep the growing collection of math terms, and a computer+projector to look things up online. I think a whiteboard, if you set it up right, can be a good tool for all the aspects of the activity in one package!

Here is a photo of a student explaining the math of her dream catcher, next to the bulletin board with all the math keywords found so far.

And here is a young mathematician demonstrating wonders of a prism: