Saturday, June 16, 2012

Technology & Metacognition

I have found that the use of the digital camera in my class has helped my students think about their thinking. When the students use the camera to document their work they know that there is the chance that I will project their pictures for everyone to see. When and if their picture comes up, they are invited to explain why they took the picture and tell us about their thinking at the time the picture was taken.

I really enjoyed talking to the student who took the photo below. She used the link cubes to represent her multiplication and took the time to write it out (addition and multiplication). In her addition sentence, she detailed her addition --> 4+4(8)+4(12)+4(16) = 16 <-- to help her keep track and not get confused. When she talked about her thinking to the class she took us through what she had done, step by step. She also told us that she used the manipulatives and wrote out the numbers so that she could show her understanding in more than one way. She told us that when she was doing this she was thinking about the different ways she could show us her work and that she wanted to make sure she organized her work in a way that made sense and kept her on the right path.

In the following photograph the student told us that he wanted to represent 4 X 4. He neatly made four groups of four in the shapes of squares and then represented the answer (16) with cubes placed in rows of three. I asked him why he had placed his equal groups into 4's and his answer of 16 was arranged in groups of three. He told us that when he did this work he was thinking that he wanted his work (4 X 4) to be neat but when he put together the 16 he just wanted to make sure the answer was represented in order to be able to present his equal groupings and the answer to 4 X 4.

I really enjoy the use of the digital camera to help my students think about their thinking. I find it to be a great way of taking them back to the time and place where they did their work. That connection gives them a great start to what has proven to be a difficult task - to think about what they were thinking at that time. It hasn't worked for all of my students, but it has proven to be a useful tool that is offered to my students.

As I learn more about my smartpen, I believe that it will also prove to be a useful tool that will be readily available to my students. It has proven itself useful and I look forward to possibly blogging about how my students and I use it to help them with their metacognition.

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