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IMPACT in Action: OWnership Discussion #1

By Julie Phelps posted 06-02-2020 21:30:03

When posting to this Discussion,  please begin your title with "OWnership Discussion #1:"



06-02-2020 22:19:59

It means that students have the opportunity to grapple with mathematical ideas while being provided appropriate supports so that they may persist.

Two of my very favorite courses to teach are our pre-service elementary teacher courses.  In these courses I get the opportunity to challenge (I think that's the right word) what the students know about mathematics or, well, what they think they know. Understanding representation of number in a Base-10 number system is a key understanding, and then there is how to "operate" within that number system that is also important.  Well, my students have been working in Base-10 for 12 or more years, it's automatic for them and they would say they 'own' that knowledge.  However, when I press them to demonstrate their ownership of that knowledge it becomes clear that many of them don't.  Most know how to "operate" within the system but do so with little understanding. To eliminate the automaticity of working within Base-10 and to provide a context for the students to develop ownership of number representation and operations within a place-value number system we work in other bases, Base-2, Base-4, Base-5, etc. The students work collaboratively in groups of 3 and work with place value but within slightly different bases. It is such a pleasure to see the ideas "click" while they gain ownership of these concepts.

Now enter COVID-19 and the shift to remote or online teaching. The cabinets on our campus are full of manipulatives that help these students make sense of elementary mathematics but they will not be available for use by my students in the fall as our campus has decided courses will be online. If I'm honest I admit that I will be challenged in teaching those courses during the upcoming year; especially in providing these students the same opportunities for developing ownership that my face-to-face students have had for years. 

06-02-2020 21:32:53

OWnership and Engagement are intrinsically paired, of course!  It is so easy to grab onto the low hanging fruit, skill development, and pass over the rich areas of contextual learning. While I am retired, I spend many of my days helping those thrust into the environment of online learning which is new to them. Finding ways to engage students in contextual learning is necessary to develop their ownership. Not always easy!

06-02-2020 21:31:42

I often think about how to create a safe, inclusive educational environment for both my face-to-face (F2F) and my online courses.  I believe building community in the F2F world is something I was comfortable with and well versed with.  I believe that by building a safe, inclusive educational experience sets the stage for Student Ownership of Learning to occur.  The students' work towards a common goal with a purpose for a purpose.  

Today, I am trying desperately trying to apply my building community practices to the online environment.  I know that if I can get the students to take ownership of their learning is very much a part of my job.  Oftentimes, I notice that I have students that don't take the time to think about the mathematical concepts.  They seem to be very good at mimicking a procedure with no understanding or purpose for understanding for understanding why they are performing the calculations.  Students also fear being wrong!  I am not sure where that stigma comes from, but it needs to go away.  I share with them, "I am an athlete (a tennis player) and I can not tell you how many times I practice and make mistakes... the mistakes are part of learning and I must own that like it's my job."  In fact, when students make mistakes now... I like to discuss what they are thinking to understand the root of the error.

One last thing I'd like to mention (this is my soapbox), I really dislike the word 'buy-in' because it implies that we already have a packaged idea we are trying to sell students.  I believe the word OWnership describes what we mean because it implies that the student has engaged in the process to create Ownership.  I don't believe we can OWnership without engagement!