Concepts of Curriculum – Additional, response to B’s questions.

How I am trying to apply technology into the 21st century curriculum while I teach at my international school in China:

We use

  1. an interactive white board regularly,
  2. http://www.mathsonline.com.au as a math resource
  3. http://www.raz-kids.com online home reading program as a library for reading development
  4. incorporate technology into final presentations for 6 week units of work such as video, powerpoint, Microsoft publisher and word documents
  5. use iPad apps to enhance learning and library research
  6. use video presentations to assist learning like those from http://www.brainpopjr.com and a select few on http://www.youtube.com

of course, among others.

Why I believe that math curriculums with a small amount of rote learning would be good?

I fully support and wholeheartedly believe that integrated learning through hands-on activities and real life situations are the best way to learn math.  I love playing learning games and using maths centres to solidify learning in my classroom.  However, after teaching for 2 years in a school with a wide variety of incoming 7 year olds from a vast selection of school curricula I can see that students with a strong background in basic number sense and numeration do much better in hands-on and situational learning activities.  Students who master and actually just go ahead and memorise their times tables and simple addition and subtraction facts really perform to a much higher standard than students without that solid mathematical awareness as a background.  I fear that the humanistic focus may in fact be a little too lenient on students in this simple and rudimentary aspect of learning. I can remember the only way for me to learn these skills when I was young was flash cards and drills.  I remember thanking my teacher for finally taking the time to drill the facts into us, so the rest of math would come easier, later on – like word problems and comprehension questions related to maths skills.

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