Thursday, December 1, 2011

Be an Internet Connoisseur

One of the wonderful things the Internet has allowed us to do in the world of Education is to easily access all sorts of things that enhance a student's learning especially at the elementary school level. This only works, however, if we truly understand what we are trying to teach and how  the resources available on the internet can effectively enhance learning.

Take, for example, the seemingly simple idea of teaching students about angles like the one in the picture.

One of the common misconceptions children can develop is that angles are measures of distance. Students will focus on the distance between the two rays of the angle when describing it. If angles were measures of distance how could we possibly conceptualize that there are 180 degrees in a straight line? Or how could we explain how the distance between the rays increases as we get further from the origin of the angle. If, however, we teach angles as degrees of rotation things become much easier to understand.We can do this by using a circular protractor like this one which actually shows angles as the rotation of a line about a point.

We can also be connoisseurs of what is available on the Internet. Banana Hunt is an incredible activity that demonstrates the idea of rotation perfectly and is fun to play too. Here's another one, The Angles Game,  that on the face of it, looks interesting and fun but has virtually no educational value at all.

Knowing what to look for in terms of Internet resources is a significant component of the teacher education programs at St. Mike's. Future teachers need to be Internet connoisseurs.  

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