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Hunter College

CUNY 2014 Mathematics Conference Effective Instructional Strategies

Extra Credit Paper, Math 633

This part of the seminar was focused primarily on four different areas. The
lecturers covered four specific topics including Writing to Learn Activities, Peer
Instruction via online Communication Platforms, and lastly, Social Media and Math.
As a lot of ground was covered and not all of it is relevant to Math Education, I will
cover the highlights of the presenters.
The Social Media and Math topics covered by Wayne D. Russell of Metgers
Evers College where particularly useful in my opinion. With the popularity that
FACEBOOK has today, this professor thought of an ingenious way to integrate
FACEBOOK applications into his classroom curriculum. Almost everybody today has
computers, smart-phones or IPADs. He wanted to figure out a better way to engage
students. He set up a FACEBOOK page for his class whereby students could use their
smart-phones to take pictures of their homework assignments.

They could post

pictures even while traveling on the train. By posting the pictures on FACEBOOK,
fellow students could review the homework and make suggestions on how it could
be improved. Also, a forum was set and by the end of the semester, it became so
popular that it had a 100% classroom participation rate. The professor monitored
the FACEBOOK page continuously to answer questions but also had help from
students who took the class from prior semesters. Students could get quick help to
their questions, while not becoming frustrated and giving up. He also used the
platform to POST VIDEOS of the lectures so students could go back and review the
lectures. According to the Professor, this creates the environment where students

help students and helps to foster a congenial working environment. Students are
also encouraged to post and comment on FACEBOOK.
The professor strongly feels that educators need to focus their attention on
students who are mathematically challenged. He felt that differentiation of
instruction through Facebook and other means are ways that students easily get
help when they need it. It also gives advanced students extra rigor and challenge
and gives them the ability to contribute in many positive different ways Overaall, I
was very impressed with this idea and may even utilize it when I start teaching High
School Math.
Andi Toce and Svetoslav Zahariev were also presenters on behalf of
LAGUARDIA COMMUNITY COLLEGE. They lectured about the Academic Peer
Instruction Program based which has been in place at LaGuardia Community College
for over twenty years. This program is based on supplemental instruction and is
somewhat similar to the Math Lab program we have here at Hunter College. I have
personally used the services offered by the Math Lab and believe it is a very good
idea. LaGuardia Community College is taking it even further then Hunter College as
they have help available in many Hybrid Math Classes were

tutors are even

available on-line. This is something Hunter might want to do in the future. Also,
many of the Hybrid Math Courses like Algebra and Pre-Calculus have help session
built in to the class, which is similar to what Hunter College is doing. Pass rates,
GPAs were higher in the Hybrid sections then in the sections which were not
Hybrid. They also compared their approach to BLACKBOARD and talked about some
of the positive and negatives of both. for the Hybrid Sections, 48% of the students
enrolled for the online tutoring sessions, and Pass rates in the sections went up

10%. The average .GPA went up about .5 which is half a letter grade. All in all I
thought this was a good approach.
Even though I did exceptionally well in Calculus 2 and 3 at Hunter College
while filling perquisites for acceptance into the Graduate program, I am sure that
would not have happened without the help I received from Math tutors in the Math
Lab. You might remember you helped me quite a bit when I was taking Calculus 3.
So all in all, this is a good approach. Having a Math Lab or Math tutoring program,
(whether or not additional help is available online or not) is a good idea.
Joan Mosley, a professor from the CUNY School of Professional Studies also
recommended that we encourage students to use dynamic, interactive software.
She has her students use a free software called Screen Cast. This software is useful
for homework and extra credit assignments. Students are actually able to record a
movie complete with sound, pictures, and video summarizing what was taught.
These videos are also helpful to the Professor so she could see how well students
understand the material and whether or not something needs to be re-taught.
So, overall I found all of the presentations very helpful. I hope to attend the
event again two years from now when it is given again.