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DRAFT: How does Finland use classroom tech?


For my education week, I originally wanted to compare US and Western European mathematics instruction, paying particular attention to the use of tech.  After I did some preliminary research (and had my imagination sparked by two articles from Dr. Droujkova), I realized that 'Western Europe' is too broad a topic.  Therefore, we will be focusing on mathematics instruction in Finland, whose mathematics education system has been getting much attention lately. 

For my first task, I will link the two articles that Dr. Droujkova shared with me, but I'd like everyone to find two additional articles and share a brief summary.  My preliminary discussion questions are: (1) What are the main differences between the US and Finnish systems (please include tech use in your answer) (2) How (if at all) do you feel tech might figure into the achievement differences?  (3) Do you feel that Finland's approach might rely more or less on classroom tech (used as instructional aids) than the US (if so, why)?

The second task will ask everyone to compare perspectives of actual mathematics, science, or computer literacy teachers in both the US and Finland that mention tech.  Any first-hand accounts are fine (such as blogs, discussion forum posts, etc.).  (1) How is tech use similar or different? (2) What types of tech are used? (3) Does one nation's system seem to be more accepting of tech, or not?

Whew - enough about differences!  I'd like to center my last task around ways that tech can unite the learning community.  We've talked before about how tech can make learning more accessible for people with disabilities, but, since we're now discussing things on an international level, how about language barriers?  How can we use tech to help students who don't speak our language (aside from translation software)?  Find a piece of tech that a student unfamiliar with the language (or written numerical system) could use to learn about a concept.  Please share it along with reasons why you like it.

Task Discussion

  • Gina Mulranen   March 25, 2013, 11:40 a.m.

    What an interesting topic! I have heard of the mathematics education in Finland, but I have not read any material or research about what makes their cirriculum different or what their education system looks like. I am really interested in learning more about this hot topic in math education.

    For Task #1, what do you want the article you want us to research to be focused on? You said to find 2 additional articles after reading the articles that you will provide. Should they be on the same theme of what we read, or should we be looking for other trends in the Finnish math education system?

    For Task #2, I also share the same concern as the other students have about interpreting the language of the teachers from Finland. Also, I know some teacher websites are blocked for outside participants and the resources are only available for their students. Could you include a few examples when you post the task so we know what and how to search for these types of lessons?

    For Task #3, I really like the idea of researching technology to bridge language barriers. Can we research and include resources that can aid ELL students as well? When I was in my student teaching placement, I had a couple students that had a hard time speaking English. I would be interested in seeing the type of resources on iPads and other tablets that could help these students and the teacher in the classroom.

  • SueSullivan   March 25, 2013, 2:30 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Gina Mulranen   March 25, 2013, 11:40 a.m.

    I read your post shortly after I posted - I tried to rewrite my Week 11 to address your questions.  Task 1:  anything article that you feel is important enough to share about Finnish math education/tech will be fine, as we are all sharing ideas, no right and wrong!  Task 2:  I listed the search hints that I used to find the items.  Translating my search terms into Finnish, searching, and then translating back to English gave many more results that by searching by English alone.  As you said, some sites are only open to students.  The items for task 2 don't necessarily have to be about lessons or specific content; they just need to be authored by teachers.  As far as Task 3, sharing resources for helping ELL students is encouraged and welcomed.

  • Katherine Hanisco   March 25, 2013, 12:49 a.m.

    I’ve encountered the Finnish education system in other research I have done, and I am looking forward to getting into it from the perspective of math education technology.

    I am also wondering about the second part and language barriers. I love the idea of getting first hand accounts, but is that going to be difficult? And if we use translation software, will the nuances of the message be lost in translation? Of course, that in and of itself is related to your last task and how language barriers can impact international collaboration, so it all ties together!

  • Maria Droujkova   March 24, 2013, 6:59 p.m.

    I am looking forward to studying another country in-depth. I looked at Britain, Russia, Japan and China before, but only at those couple of articles on Finland. I wonder if I will need to explore Finnish internet with browser translate tools, to tackle some of the specific questions you pose!

    I just used Google Translate to find out what "mathematics education" is in Finnish, then put that phrase in the search, then translated what I found into English using the Chrome "translate" button on the results page:

  • MgnLeas   March 24, 2013, 12:54 p.m.

    In our summary of the articles, should we attempt to answer the questions you pose?

    For the second task, should we also include our own perspectives or just those of people we find?

    The task seems hard without the use of translation software. I have not searched yet, but maybe if you could give an example or a push in the right direction. That would be helpful.