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DRAFT: $How does Finland use classroom tech? [March 10, 2013, 2:34 p.m.]


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.