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Philosophy Statement

David Carwell

(Third Draft)
I my way of thinking, Educational Technology can be divided
into two components. The first component is the use of
technology in the classroom. I embrace the use of tools such as
smart boards and cameras, finding them to be visually pleasing
and to provide a record that can be archived and reviewed.
Computers in various forms provide tools like the Microsoft
Office Suite that can be used to record, view and print text, build
and present a slide show, plan a project, collect and analyze
data, etc. The internet provides the means to communication
and makes information available. I embrace all of these, and the
use of calculators as well.
The second component is the use of technology to teach,
specifically mathematics which is my chosen field. I have
looked at this possibility too. There is plenty of online
instruction available, like that a Kahn Academy. For high
school math, Kahn uses a conventional teaching format. Kahn
offers instructional video, usually labeled YouTube, and then
quizzes the student. This is good stuff, but there is no live
discussion or feedback. I looked at other teaching tools which
tried to engage the student in new ways and found them to be
lacking. One, an algebra teaching tool was fun to use but
became a game that could be played without applying any
algebra. I have decided to stay with conventional teaching until
I see something better, but find the instruction on YouTube and
the mathematic pages in Wikipedia, for example, to be very
useful as secondary instruction in the support of learning.
People of all ages like to play video games and are willing to
work very hard to complete each level. I would like to see a
series of video games for students that involve mathematics. A
space exploration game could require the player to complete
calculus problems that are related to the game play at intervals
in the game in order to advance. At each level, the problem
would be selected from a library using a random number
generator so that the player must solve new problems each time
that the game is played. At each problem, there should be a
tutorial available if the player needs help in understanding or
working the problem. A game based on destroying zombies
could include the use of statistics.
In the process of my building my ePortfolio, I developed my
teaching philosophy. At the beginning of each course that I
teach, I want to pretest to see what my students already know
and then to help them fill in any gaps. When presenting new
material, I want to engage my students to collaborate with me in
working example problems together and then to ask them to
collaborate together in small groups to work further example
problems in class. I also plan to have a class project done in
groups and a math problem field trip.
These teaching components seems to fit the theory of
constructivism which emphasizes the importance of the active
involvement of learners in constructing knowledge, and building
new ideas or concepts based upon current knowledge and past
experience. I as the teacher would act as the facilitator in these
collaborative efforts.

My teaching philosophy is outlined as follows:
1. Syllabus
2. Implement student/teacher/parent contracts
3. Pretest for prerequisite competencies
4. Review prerequisite competencies as necessary
5. Teach from the required text book or eBook using the
following steps:
a. Define
b. Explain/describe
c. Perform example problems
d. Engage students to collaborate with me to work
additional sample problems on the board
e. Engage students to collaborate on sample problems in
small in-class groups
6. Homework
7. Individual instruction
8. Projects done in small groups; one or two per course
9. Math problem field trip; one per course
10. Quizzes and Tests