How I Use It
This product will be used with K-5 pre-service teachers who are being educated on how to write lesson plans and trained to integrate technology within the curriculum. It will be included within the repertoire of resources that will be available for them to use within their classrooms and it is conceivable that they will actually implement it when they do their 90-hour field and student teacher experiences. We find that our student teachers provide these types of resources to in-service teachers who have not had the time to locate quality technology-driven resources for their classes. It will also be used as a resource to help pre-service teachers review and practice their math concepts (including multiplying and dividing fractions) as part of their PRAXIS II test preparation.
Five videos produced via KhanAcademy capture the essence of multiplying and dividing fractions. Teachers can infuse any of them within their own instruction or homeschoolers can learn their math concepts from these videos. The instruction is pedagogically sound with systematic step-by-step instructions that move from simplistic concepts through word problems. Shortcuts are introduced and reinforced throughout that speed the process of arriving at the correct solution. Five problems within each of the 7 sets of practice activities were completed to gauge the quality of the feedback and explanation of the solutions. Although a few problems simply changed the numbers to be calculated, there was an ample supply of quality practice activities in each set. No problems were identified with the solutions provided and the practice activities were interesting. Students could request hints in order to gain a perspective on how to begin their solutions and responses were accurately accepted in different formats (for example, improper fractions or mixed fraction). In a few cases, after inputting an improper fraction, a request was made to simplify it. Visuals within the videos were similar to what a teacher would write and/or draw on a blackboard or SmartBoard; however, in a couple of cases, colors specified by the instructor did not agree with what appeared on the computer screen. Instruction within the videos was progressively and sufficiently repetitive to help students remember various processes. As problems progressed from simple to more complex, critical thinking is required – especially when word problems include irrelevant information. Students must then decide what information to exclude in order to solve the problem(s). Anyone can post a question in the Q&A section, however, it’s unclear whether a student, a teacher, or a KhanAcademy representative is providing the response; some questions were never answered. An additional plus for this website is that the videos and practice activities have been linked to the Math Common Core and as such can be seamlessly selected for inclusion within the math curriculum.