[Numeracy 613] Re: Dreaming big this weekend...computer labs, Cows (portable wireless networks), online collaborative problem solving and MLoTS numeracy video comments

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David Rosen DJRosen at theworld.com
Fri Nov 26 10:52:06 EST 2010

Kate, Susan and others on the LINCS Numeracy discussion list,

Although it is useful for learning programs and schools to have a hard-
wired, web-accessible computer lab, many programs are now (also)
looking at wireless classrooms. It turns out that this model is often
less expensive and much more flexible. Some classes do this with
Computers on Wheels (CoWs), laptops on a rolling cart. Some use (less
expensive) net books. Some (also) ask learners to bring their own
laptop, net book or web-accessible PDA or mobile phone. Most of these
portable wireless networks are in classrooms, but they could be in
lounges, lunchrooms, coffee shops, or anywhere that there is free/
inexpensive wireless access and where students have a web-accessible
devices. Exhale Rooms could, therefore, be in students' homes (if
there is wireless there) and in many places "off campus" as well as in

One of my favorite examples of online collaborative learning (although
not focused on numeracy or math) took place at a conference a few
years ago in a large university lecture hall. Nearly every
participant had a laptop. It looked like my colleagues were just
taking notes on the lecture. However, I later learned that they were
all going to the same collaborative writing web site and adding in
their notes to the same set of web pages. Some students decided to
look up the lecturer's background and post it; others looked up and
cited references he was using in his talk. Some found images of what
he was talking about and added those. Later that day I looked at the
collaborative notes. There were 12 pages of magnificent notes on a 1-
hour lecture, with participant commentary (and even some debate).

Imagine a synchronous or asynchronous collaboration of math learners
working through some math concepts from an Inhale Room in this
collaborative online way. It wouldn't matter what physical space they
were in, or not necessarily what time they joined in the problem

On another topic, I have posted (lots of) comments and questions from
a Massachusetts Network2010 Media Library of Teaching Skills (MLoTS)
presentation and discussion in which teachers looked at commented on
two (free) online numeracy videos. You'll find the numeracy videos and
comments and questions at http://mlots.org/Elana/Elana.html . Take a
look and add your own questions or comments there. http://mlots.org/Elana/Elana.html

David J. Rosen
DJRosen at theworld.com

On Nov 21, 2010, at 8:31 PM, Kate Nonesuch wrote:

> Hello, Susan--I am reading this, and enjoying it. I think providing

> a computer lab where students who are doing online courses could

> come together to work is a great idea--although wonderful things can

> be done online, a face-to-face group dynamic can add so much. I

> think it is important to dream big when the world seems to be

> contracting around us.


> The Centre that you found at the link http://www.cc.viu.ca/writing/index.htm

> <http://www.cc.viu.ca/writing/index.htm> had two spaces: the

> Inhale Room, where small classes were led by a teacher, and the

> Exhale Room (names from ideas of Sylvia Aston Warner). The Exhale

> Room had 13 or 14 computers, and a couple of tables and a couple of

> couches. There was always a teacher in the Exhale Room, and there

> learners did work assigned from their Inhale Room classes, or worked

> on their own projects, or played games or did e-mail or surfed the

> net. (I use the past tense because it is in the process of moving to

> new space.)


> It was not the computer lab that made this program special, however--

> it was the emphasis on learner participation in decision making, on

> learner choice, and on learner ownership. Bonnie Soroke did her MA

> thesis on her research at the Centre; it is called Doing Freedom: An

> Ethnography of An Adult Literacy Centre (2004) and is available at http://www.nald.ca/library/research/soroke/cover.htm

> <http://www.nald.ca/library/research/soroke/cover.htm>


> The following is a quote from the description of the thesis given at

> that site:


> This thesis is based on research on the experiences and

> perceptions of the people of the Reading and Writing Centre in

> Duncan, BC. The purpose is to document the relationship dynamics of

> good adult basic education in a place where teachers and students

> say they are "doing freedom"-freedom from stereotyping and

> individual blaming, authoritarian practices, and the narrow roles of

> teacher and student; freedom to respect themselves and others, make

> choices and be respected for those choices, and exercise individual

> and collective power.


> Kate Nonesuch

> Victoria, BC

> kate.nonesuch at viu.ca


> ________________________________


> From: numeracy-bounces at lincs.ed.gov on behalf of Susan Jones

> Sent: Fri 11/19/2010 12:16 PM

> To: numeracy at lincs.ed.gov

> Subject: [Numeracy 611] Dreaming big this weekend...





> I've been speculating and surfing, wondering about grant funding

> for a satellite computer lab to provide help for students taking

> online courses, and help for designing and developing better math

> curricula and courseware, and I found http://www.hewlett.org/grantseekers

> (and another even longer shot that would take too much

> explanation). Of course, I googled "Kate Nonesuch" (if you're

> reading this, hello ;)) and foudn http://www.cc.viu.ca/writing/index.htm

> and thought, "There's my model." (The Math Manual is already

> printed out. I'd like to propose melding the ideas therein with some

> of the neat systematic transition from concrete to semi-concrete to

> semi-abstract to abstract that I'm picking up from David Berg's

> material, with influence from The Algebra Project

> (www.algebra.org ) and www.learner.org materials... )

> There is both a "deeper learning" bunch of grants and "open

> source educational materials" grant. Now it's time to figure out

> what the idea would look like In Real Life... any thoughts? Any

> "been there, done that?" advice?


> Susan Jones

> Academic Development Specialist

> Center for Academic Success

> Parkland College

> Champaign, IL 61821

> 217-353-2056

> sujones at parkland.edu

> Webmastress,

> http://www.resourceroom.net <http://www.resourceroom.net/>

> http://www.bicycleuc.wordpress.com <http://www.bicycleuc.wordpress.com/

> >




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