ITEC083001-S14R: PowerPoint Pen

PowerPoint Pen
by Gregory Reese – Saturday, 15 March 2014, 3:02 PM

This is an example of how PowerPoint Pen might be used as a whole group activity in a high school algebra classroom.

The objective here would be for the students to be sitting in groups of 4 and every group have a bamboo pen at their table so they could use it to write on the big screen up on the  wall without leaving their seat.

Although it is useful for students to do individual work, practicing problems for themselves, it is very important that students be exposed to the logic, the tools and the tricks that are available to them to solve a problem. Of course, one way to get ideas for solving a problem is for the students to read their textbook individually. Whole group problem solving is another way for students to get ideas about how to solve a problem.

It is both more entertaining and often more comprehensible if a student leads the discussion about how to solve a problem. Often, talented students are funnier and better public speakers than the teacher. Also, the teenager’s natural inclination to rebel is not set off by a fellow student the way that it is when they receive instruction from a teacher. Finally, kids use the language of kids when they explain something. As teachers, we try to be cool and use our students’ language to make our lessons more comprehensible to our students, but we can never really talk kid-talk as well as a kid, so, although the teacher may have a deeper understanding of the math, the teacher cannot communicate and reach the students as well as another student can.

Although this utilization of technology is exactly like the old paper and pencil classwork, it has a much greater value because it allows the whole room to share in what is being done and the reasoning employed; also, participating in the creative process is much more interesting and informative that just looking at a solution in a book and not knowing the reasoning that went into the solution. Of course, also, the opportunity to participate in the solution is available to everyone in the room because the problem is being solved in real time and the student solving the problem is discussing their reasoning as it is occurring so everyone in the room is involved and responsible for the outcome.

Finally, by enabling students to work at their seats and share what they are doing with the whole room, the students are freed from the embarrassment and bother of standing at the board. Also, students are narrating their solution,in real time, not explaining in retrospect as they would do if they had copied a solution onto a chalk board and then were asked to present it.

PowerPoint Pen is therefore a rarely used classroom technology that can and should be employed everyday in the high school math class.