I have chosen to teach Pre-Calculus 30 as a blended learning model, leaning more towards a hyflex model, as opposed to 50% f2f and 50% online that is being prescribed in our division. The course will be taught both in-person and live stream, but with asynchronous options to view lessons taught or comparable online video lessons being used. I will be using Google Classroom as my LMS, in conjunction with Docs, Slides, Meet, Chat and Jamboard. My main motivation behind choosing this course and method, is that I am tasked with teaching this course in Quint 4 (March 3 to May 3) with the current level 3 restriction likely still being in place at that time. I am hoping to experiment and design the shell of the course and then teach and use much of what I accomplish.
Pre-Calculus 30 is a high level mathematics course taken by late Grade 11 or Grade 12 students, looking to take Calculus 30 or take Business, Math or Science degrees in University. It is a very challenging course to teach and learn, as I often tell students that it is the grammar one needs to learn before writing beautiful poetry or songs, which is how I feel about Calculus (I know I am a super math-nerd). So teaching this course in a hybrid model will also be a challenge, but I hope to really engage students in class and at home, and be more available than ever to help students using Google's interactive services. The curriculum for the course is found here (PC30 Curriculum) and covers all types of intricate functions, their uses, transformations and combinations. Really a culmination of all the math learned in high school, what it looks like as graphs and how to manipulate and use those graphs to connect information. So fun, but also challenging. This often creates some emotional reactions by students, parents and guardians as previously very high achieving students often see a lower grade or at least some struggles, and so as the teacher, criticisms and accusations are bound to occur (who else's fault could it be...).
Students Who Take PC30
The students who take Pre-Calculus 30 are usually 17 or 18 years old and are in the second half of Grade 11 or in Grade 12. Most of these students should be moving on to Calculus 30, but some do not and just want the credit as a pre-requisite for University programs (tragic end to their math adventure :( ) Almost all of these students have access to technology (at least a smartphone) and wifi but I will design the course so all of it could be done with paper, pencil and a smartphone. I do not like relying on every student to have a laptop. If students do not have access to technology or wifi then alternate arrangements will be made with myself, the student, family and school (I have even lent out old phones to students to use for a length of time if needed). I will say that many of these students are still quite weak with properly using technology and can send a snap but do not really know how to attach a file, or collaborate and comment on peers work online, unless they have been shown by a teacher previously. So I will try to assume they know little to nothing and be very explicit with instructions.
Course Format and Toolset
My goal is to teach the course somewhat regularly by using a laptop and ipad to teach both on the projector, google meet and record the lesson to be posted (I wish I had a Jamboard but they are like 7000 bucks!). I will use Google Classroom as the base platform, but integrate Docs for syllabus, assignment outlines and other materials. The real new adventure for me is to teach using Jamboard, with students online, while recording the lesson using Meet, Screen Castify or WeVideo (waiting on division tech services). I am also hoping to have students as questions, collaborate and interact using Chat, Meet and Jamboard. I would really like to have it so students feel part of the class whether at home or in the classroom. And if need be can participate asynchronously. Moving towards Hyflex, but not sure how to properly assess and evaluate truly flexibly...
I have honestly not decided how to assess much of the material as I prefer more traditional math tests, but could see value in having students do video quizzes, projects and some Google Form reflection pieces. So a combination of traditional and online evaluation seems like a reasonable goal!
Rationale for Course Decisions
My main rational behind choosing the Google platform is three fold: My division supports it and it works on all devices including ios and android phones, I am reasonably knowledgeable with these service and would like to extend this knowledge, and I hope to really create more collaboration with me and all students using Google's interactive tools (like Docs for English, but Jamboard for Math). Specifically, using Jamboard to have students ask for help whether home or in school and having students help each other! I hope to alleviate some of the frustration and isolation students feel in math, as it has traditional been a 'you get it or you don't situation' but I think that teams of students working together can really support each other to learn and understand better. Yes, they each need to be able to perform the outcomes and indicators in the end but using teamwork to get there would likely be beneficial for all, even strong students to work on their deeper understanding, alternate thinking and social skills!
I should also maybe buy stocks in Google based on my support of their apps, but they just work very well for me, and I'm more of an index fund kind of guy!
Thanks for reading. That's the vision for now, and I welcome any ideas, comments or suggestions!