Websites and Math Teachers

                                              By Vic Odarve

Nearly everyone is on the internet today. Whether we like it or not, we are heading to this technology. Mathematics, a difficult course, could go along with it. Web or blog sites offer the best learning outside the classroom. Teachers can post lessons not well discuss in the classrooms; students can browse the web anytime; and websites bring teachers closer to students. Today, websites or blogsites support Math teachers in many different ways.

Teaching a one-year old kid browsing the internet

Teaching a one-year old  Atong browsing the internet so as not to be left behind

Due to limited time in the classroom, some topics are not well discussed. In some universities in Africa, math teachers handle math class size to more than 300 students. Just imagine this vast crowd that you are going to teach. Some of these students are lost in the classroom discussion. Once lost, desperation and poor motivation to learn set in. Math is like a game of chess that needs the ability to follow a series of logical steps;

Few months later,Atong played computer games

Few months later, Atong played computer games

demands basic arithmetic and probabilistic reasoning; and an exercise in programming and group theory.  And Math teachers, as the daily routine dictates, do the work that’s necessary to learn the subject, whether students feel like it or not. But with websites or blog sites, teachers may post additional information or explanations on topics where seem to be difficult for the students. Web posting helps students to catch up!

Not only for the teachers’ advantage that websites may bring, students can browse the web or blog at their own convenient

African college students browse math after the class

African college students browse math after the class

times; or when their minds are not preoccupied with other disturbing thoughts that may hinder understanding. They can go at their own pace and repeat as they want to; allow more time to analyze difficult lessons and explore what they find interesting. Study shows that students vary their ability to focus on a complicated skill for the length of time it takes to master it. Websites can do it. Math is like flowing water that can be learned easily when time, place, and

Large Math class size can be supplemented by teachers websites supplement classroom lectures.

Large Math class size can be supplemented by teachers websites.

peace of minds are there. When students feel they are comfortable to study, these are the times that understandings are at its highest level. With websites students can browse anytime; review at the best occasions and can have thorough knowledge of the topics.

Blogs or websites bring teachers closer to the students. For the past 5 years, I introduced the blog sites for the students in order to lessen the burden brought by big class size. I have three classes with 300 and more students. There, students are browsing the internet in order to grasp more the meat of the class discussion; sending e –mails for further inquiries on the topics; and interactions take place. Websites bond the relationship between teachers and their students. Teachers can easily respond students’ questions, manage course materials and track student’s participation. Since students are familiar with internet social media like Facebook, so integrating them as an extension of the classroom discussion will bring teachers closer to the students.

The problems in some African universities are two folds; only few math teachers have maintained blog or websites, coupled with poor internet services and college students’ poor background with computer programs like MS Excel. The trouble with math is, it cannot just be memorized and it cannot be forced if students do not love it. It needs patience coupled with effort in order to learn. It has its own way of learning. Probably some students never knew that math is the language of nature. .

Now comes the websites and internet invasion! These are the technologies we are heading for; that even our youngsters few years old must be taught so as not to be left

behind. Lots of games on computers are math in nature and kids are beginning to explore them at an early age. How much more for these African college students? It is imperative that math teachers must maintain web sites to post additional information, keep pace with the lessons, and improve the relationship. Access is just at students’ fingertips and math teachers must lead the role! Web sites are teachers’ greatest resource outside the classroom; preparing our students as workforce in the 21st century.

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