Week 2 Reflection
It has been an interesting week in Transition to Algebra. I missed the exciting first three days of class where Will Best and Lee Young-Kingsbury had to troubleshoot the initial start-up and licensing issues with ALEKS. It appears that by day two all but one of the students were up and running with ALEKS and completing their first assessment. Certainly by Monday, when I returned, the students were pros at using ALEKS.
The program has great feaures. I can log-in and see exactly where each student is in the learning process. The set-up of ALEKS allows each student to work at his or her own pace and on exactly the material/topic that the student needs to learn first. What I found very interesting is the range in their abilities and speeds. When I see their progress so simply recorded, I have to ask, "How in the world do we expect all of these students to learn what I am teaching today in a traditional classroom?" They are each at a different level and work at different speeds, yet in my traditional classroom, everyone is expected to learn X today and move on to Y tomorrow, regardless of their mastery.
One frustration for me and Lee, from our traditional teaching point of view, is the lack of need for us while students are using ALEKS. According to one of my students, ALEKS is like having a tutor in the computer to answer all of his questions. Occasionally a student raises her hand to ask a question, but this is usually because she is frustrated and is tired of trying to read the explanation for herself; or in some instances, just being lazy.
Student reaction overall has been quite positive. I will post a report of their progress with my next blog. In the report you will see that a few students have logged into ALEKS for 13 hours. This is 10+ hours more than the students who have been working in class alone. I must add that it is not required to work on ALEKS outside of class, not even suggested. It was just made available if the students were interested. Clearly many are.
Questions I have thus far...
-How would teachers view their students and their classes differently if they could see into their learning processes with the help of ALEKS?
-How could we use ALEKS in the classroom? Would we allow it one day a week? Would we require students to log x number of hours per week on ALEKS?
-Would we tie it to our curriculum, and limit the scope of what students can do on ALEKS to better parallel what we are doing in the classroom?
-How would our classroom assessment change if we used ALEKS as a supplemental assessment? or as the only assessment?
-Using ALEKS could we teach/assess every student on an individual basis? Individual Education Plans?
-If a student, using ALEKS, can finish a course in an abbreviated amount of time, will we let them continue their progress to the next topic/class? Will we let them stop coming to class?
Monday I have ALEKS scheduled to give a second assessment to all students. It will be interesting to see their progress since the first assessment.http://www.k12.aleks.com