This is not your father’s math class

A familiar car campaign aimed at linking a younger generation to an older-sounding brand reminds me of what I witnessed when I visited an algebra class during the first week of classes. Tablet PC technology has replaced standard whiteboards (my teaching career began with true chalk boards) because smart boards that “talk” to the teacher’s tablet PC have transformed the modern math classroom. Math teachers are now liberated from familiar positions in the front of the classrooms—where they traditionally had to demonstrate and explain problems and techniques within arm’s reach of a white or chalk board affixed to a wall.

In the class I observed, students—clustered in groups of three or four—busily interacted as they collectively problem solved, bringing a modern twist to the old adage that should now read: “Many minds make for smarter work.” Practically speaking, teachers today have tools at their disposal that tear down the classroom walls once and for all. The problems displayed on the whiteboard can be saved to an account so that students can access the notes from a dorm room, library station, or smart phone connected to our wireless servers.

With our first week of classes completed, Williston teachers and students are doing what they do best—creating limitless opportunities for meaningful interactions.

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