Math makeover: Colleges trade lectures for active learning

Mar 23, 2018 by

If lectures aren’t helping college students learn, some universities are asking, why do we keep using them?

– Yvonne –

The 30 Sec. ReadUniversities are looking for ways to have students arrive at college and not say, “Math? Ugh.” One initiative utilizes practices already supported in the K-12 grades, opting for group-work and hands-on learning over rote lecturing. The project, called Student Engagement in Mathematics through an Institutional Network for Active Learning, was born out of a crisis in university math: Too many students, especially students of color, were either failing out or giving up. In 2012, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology sought to determine why. Their findings: The traditional math classroom dynamic doesn’t appeal to a broad swath of learners. SEMINAL launched in 2016 with three universities and, as of February, has as many as 12 participating institutions. Ricardo Carretero, a professor of mathematics at San Diego State University, was skeptical about the active-learning approach at first. But slowly he began seeing changes. Students spoke up more frequently, became more creative with their approaches to solutions, and started to do better on quizzes. “Little by little,” he says, “I’m realizing how important it is in getting students motivated and engaged instead of being passive.”

Source: The Christian Science Monitor Daily for March 22, 2018

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