Mr. Pronovost certainly uses technology to provide instruction that is differentiated in teaching basic arithmetic. In the first stage, “Planet Turtle,” the instruction is unified to teach the basic concepts and operations, such as knowing when to use addition and when to use subtraction but once the basic concept is understood, the students can use the technology in subsequent programs to advance at their own rate as they study what they are studying and in this case the gradual release model is evident as he shifts the responsibility in learning away from him and to the students themselves. The technology provides immediate feedback of a nature and to an extent that he cannot simply because there is only one of him and everything that is seen in the video supports what has been learned thus far. The lesson that was shown in the video was structured around technology and, in fact, this write gets the impression that the lesson as it was would have been impossible without the inclusion of the technology that was seen in action. The technology promotes differentiation because each student can move at his or her own pace and cover subject matter relevant to that specific learner. Different levels of cognition are also evident. There are those students who do the arithmetical operations using the technology. There are those who do them on the whiteboard. There are those who do them using their fingers. As is pointed out in the video, each is perfectly valid as each is appropriate to a certain level of cognition about numeric operations and it is necessary to practice with the operations to learn not only them, but the underlying concepts of arithmetic and for those of us who do addition and subtraction as easily as we breathe might forget the process that we went through to learn how to do this arithmetical operations an the processes we went through are the same as the processes their children are going through in the video (Wood, Scott Nelson and Warfield, 2001). This writer feels that this hands on practice with the numbers and manipulation them arithmetically gives the children experience and confidence in doing these things, and a great deal of potential for success in teaching and learning arithmetic cones from the confidence that the student feels toward the subject matter. This confidence certainly influences the student’s willingness to actually do the arithmetic, and this is true of anything the student sets out to learn.
Wood, T., Scott Nelson, B. and Warfield, J. (2001). Beyond classical pedagogy: Teaching elementary school mathematics. Mahwah, MJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
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