“We should teach math like it’s a language…” • Vocabulary –Powered Math!

By Jeannine Diddle Uzzi Education Week May 29, 2018

The United States has a math problem, and, like most middle school students sitting down with their homework, we are not finding any easy solutions. Young people in this country are struggling to attain the proficiency necessary to pursue the careers our economy desperately needs.

Universities bemoan students’ inability to complete college-level math. Each year thousands of newly admitted college students are placed in non-credit-bearing remedial courses in math, a path that immediately puts the…
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U.S. ranks No. 13 in new collaborative problem-solving test

The United States may be known for its rugged individualism. But it turns out American teens are, surprisingly, much better at group collaboration than at individual academic work. That’s according to a new, unusual version of the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, which tested collaborative problem-solving skills among 15-year-olds in more than 50 countries and regions around the world in 2015. Those results were released last week.
The PISA is known for its testing of high school students around the world, especially in math and reading. In general, nations with high math and reading scores also tended to do well on this new collaboration test. Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea topped the new social skills ranking (see chart below), and they’re also among the top 10 for individual student achievement.

But for some countries, there was a big deviation. For example, the United States ranked 39th in math on the 2015 PISA test. But in collaborative problem-solving, the U.S. ranked 13th. For [Mainland] China, it was the opposite. Four regions in mainland China, including Beijing and Shanghai, collectively ranked 6th in math and in 2015.  But these Chinese regions ranked 26th in collaborative problem-solving.

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Its Not (Just) About The Robots! • But Here’s How to Choose One…

Robots can serve as the basis of a powerful problem-solving curriculum that will help young children begin to develop the habit of creative, independent problem solving while introducing them to the key technologies of the Information Age.”  But …

… It’s Not About the Robots!

21st Century Mind Tools” • The Robots Change, Year-by-Year

There are many different programmable robots on wheels, which one should you choose?


The Pedagogical Advantages of Programmable Robots

“Whatever I cannot recreate for myself I do not understand.” — Richard Feynmann, Nobel Laureate in Physics

  • Early Learning robots should encourage children to work with their hands and to move around their environment.

“The hand is the instrument of the intellect.”  — Dr. Maria Montessori

As With All Well-designed Manipulatives:

  • Early Learning robots provide a medium through which to explore the world.
  • Early Learning robots allow for meaningful play (closely related to creativity): play that reveals to children the secrets of their environment.
  • Early Learning robots provide a material path to abstraction: i.e., a material, or concrete, way for children to model abstract concepts like length, angle, or negative vs. positive numbers.

Unlike Inert, Passive, Show-&-Tell Manipulatives:
(And many electronic games, toys, and computer “educational” software)

  • Early Learning robots can be multi-use: an exploration, modeling, & problem solving tool.
  • Early Learning robots are not limited to rigid or prescribed (pre-programmed) uses or behaviors: children can explore their environment creatively, testing and refining their concepts of it as they go. Continue reading