My consulting work at Discovery Education is concluding, so I’m looking for a new creative endeavor in secondary math to which I can contribute. My main interest is in lesson design, with a focus on open-source technology integration. I like to work in a collegial atmosphere, but to do so remotely. I’ve seen that this can be effective and efficient, and it works well in my life. Please keep me in mind if you are looking for such a resource, or if you know of someone who is.
My work at Discovery Education has been uniquely challenging. I was hired quickly and had to ramp-up right away. I began by “reviewing” the problems that cap off each lesson unit, called “Apply Problems.” These were meant to be opportunities for students to apply what they had learned in the current unit, earlier in the course, and in previous courses. They were tied to realistic scenarios that students may encounter in their lives, and were often accompanied by a 2-minute video clip, whose topic had to be at the heart of the question. My task, as often as not, involved reworking problems from the contracted writing company that did not fit these requirements. This was sometimes, uh… frustrating, but ultimately satisfying.
Recently, I’ve been a “Math Expert,” on the team developing “Interactives,” which are online games and dynamic exploration tools. Collaborating with UX designers and other math specialists to create engaging, meaningful interactions has been eye-opening to say the least. With my bottom-up approach to instructional design and the top-down approach favored by these UX folks, it was a challenge to work together effectively. In the end, both the instructional and interactive elements were well balanced, and we created some great learning environments for students.
I’m proud of the work I’ve done for Discovery Education, and I’m honored to count some good friends among the many people with whom I’ve worked these past ten months. I imagine that we’ll cross paths again – personally and professionally – as these kinds of resources expand. But right now, I think this Techbook series is a powerful tool to support teachers and engage students – my main professional goals. I hope that you get a chance to try it out – talk to your department heads about a trial version. You’ll be glad you did.
So that’s the way it goes, another chapter is drawing to an end. I’m not sure what the next one will be, but I hope I can continue to work in the service of teachers and students of mathematics. I believe, as I’ve said before, that teachers need support and guidance, and students need motivation and accountability. I hope to help create classroom lessons and other materials that fulfill both of those needs. Lately I’ve been feeling more detached from students and even the classroom teachers with whom I interact, both on Twitter and IRL. (Oh, new thought…we’re “empty-nesters” now, with my younger son in college. That adds to the disconnected feeling, I’m sure.) I don’t want to lose that first-person connection with kids. I guess I may really need some kid-time. (Note to self…)
Thanks for reading. Send those job postings my way!