INQUIRY LEARNING IN UNDERGRADUATE MATHEMATICS AND SCIENCE USING DIGITAL TOOLS. PROJECT MIST - MATHEMATICS INTEGRATED WITH SCIENCE THROUGH TECHNOLOGY - AT LESLEY UNIVERSITY
Lesley University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 4th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-10 March, 2010
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Project MIST – Mathematics Integrated with Science through Technology – was funded by a grant from the US Department of Education in 2008 in order to create a technology-rich environment for the study of mathematics and science at Lesley University. This session will provide an overview of the MIST project and a demonstration of some of the digital equipment, software tools and activities that have created an exciting data-driven learning environment at Lesley.
The primary goal of the MIST project is to improve the quality of math and science instruction at Lesley through the use of technology. This is accomplished in a number of ways. First, by providing faculty with technology training. Second, by developing engaging activities, modules and courses that integrate mathematics and science and make extensive use of digital technologies. Finally, the project involves outreach into the community to involve Lesley students in environmental research.
The success of the MIST project is greatly dependent upon faculty engagement. Faculty are engaged in several ways. First, they are provided with training workshops around relevant technologies. Second, they may develop expertise in a particular technology (e.g., digital sensors, graphing calculators, GIS (Geographic Information System) software) and become a “MIST Advisor”, who will then serve as a resource for other faculty. Finally, faculty may work individually or collaboratively to develop courses and modules that are consistent with MIST goals.
Students benefit from faculty expertise through coursework and curricular activities. “Dealing with Data” is an important theme of the MIST project, and students can make use of a wide variety of software and digital equipment in order to gather, organize, display, and analyze data. Among the digital tools to be discussed are PASCO sensors and probes, health-related monitors like BMI (Body mass index), heart rate and calorie meters, ArcGIS for visualizing data on maps, and various software packages for displaying and analyzing data.
By using hand-held interface devices and sensors, large amounts of data may also be collected outside the classroom. For example, water quality studies may be done in the surrounding community, with information being mapped through ArcGIS and reported to local officials. In this way, the community may also benefit from the MIST project.
Given the fact that new digital tools for education are constantly emerging, educators must keep pace with technological innovations in order to keep pace with students and make the best use of what is available. Project MIST represents a concerted effort to do both, and early indications are that this effort has been very successful at Lesley University.
Keywords: innovation, technology, mathematics, science, integrating math and.