Having used Desmos previously in the classroom I know it to be an engaging and powerful tool for student learning. I am concerned though that this was due to the novelty factor of using a DGS as described by Koklu & Topcu (2012). I have asked myself if the learning activities format will become stale and predictable to students as the unit moves on. I believe though, if appropriate activities/learning tasks of correct difficulty are utilised that are driven by student inquiry they unit of learning will be successful.
Reflections on Desmos as a DGS
Positives come from the use of multiple representations (O’Connor & Norton, 2016).
Care must be given to cognitive load generated by said multiple representations (Pierce, Stacey, Wander, & Ball, 2011)
Incremental implementation of Desmos and its functions is critical to not overwhelming students.
To ensure buy in I must model play and experimentation, student’s must be comfortable in the affect/environment of the place of learning (Tomlinson, 2001). Furthermore, with a significant shift towards inquiry based learning I need to ensure students adopt a growth mindset to persist with investigative tasks (Dweck, 2015) contained within Desmos.
The use of Desmos as planned primarily focuses on differentiation of content and product. In future I would like to further develop methods of differentiating for process and student interest, hence my desire to develop the ability to self-build learning activities.
Given the Desmos strength catering content and product variability this must not be negated by teacher over control or lack of planning. All material must be made available from the start to ensure student can progress how they desire and feel comfortable.
Cyber safety and privacy
- Expectations regarding cyberbullying, safety and privacy will need to be covered from the beginning of the unit and revisited regularly. Student signup to Desmos will be checked to ensure usernames do not contain personal information.
Expected student outcomes
Considering the literature related to DGS’s and Desmos it is expected that student learning growth will be better than previous years. To be more specific, students will have a greater conceptual understanding of the relationship between functions and their graphical representations.
If it is found that the planned use does not improve student growth or had a negative impact, then feedback must be sought from both students and teachers on the implementation, possible issues and future recommendations. To better avoid this, I should perform a mini review at the end of every week to better analysis the impact of the intervention. If I use Desmos effectively to track student progress and as a formative tool then at no stage should I be surprised or unaware of progress or any issues that may be developing.
Desmos provides a flexible learning tool that meets all the tasks present on the social constructivist digital literacy (SCDL) framework (Reynolds, 2016).
Desmos also provides for high and low order thinking skills supporting all learners during their knowledge development
Minimal risk associated with digital privacy and safety, but I must still be vigilant and provide clear guidance and expectations to students.
I look forward to further developing my skills with Desmos and the activity builder to better meet the need of my learners as they develop or meet contextual factors.
Dweck, C. (2015). Carol Dweck revisits the growth mindset. Education Week, 35(5), 20–24.
Koklu, O., & Topcu, A. (2012). Effect of Cabri-assisted instruction on secondary school students’ misconceptions about graphs of quadratic functions. International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 43(8), 999–1011.
O’Connor, B. R., & Norton, S. (2016). Investigating Students’ Mathematical Difficulties with Quadratic Equations. Mathematics Education Research Group of Australasia.
Pierce, R., Stacey, K., Wander, R., & Ball, L. (2011). The design of lessons using mathematics analysis software to support multiple representations in secondary school mathematics. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 20(1), 95–112.
Reynolds, R. (2016). Defining, designing for, and measuring “social constructivist digital literacy” development in learners: A proposed framework. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 735–762.
Tomlinson, C. A. (2001). How to Differentiate Instruction in Mixed-Ability Classrooms. Alexandria: Pearson.