GOAL! Go outside and learn, real Maths
Title: GOAL! Go outside and learn
Educational stage: Compulsory Secondary Education
The traditional Maths workbook has now become a series of real problems where different computer applications have completed the calculations required for them to be solved.
Six schools from all over Europe were involved in a new way to teach this subject. Students from IES Ramón Cabanillas secondary school learned - amongst numbers and operations - some details about Slovenia, Croatia, France, Finland and Poland.
Jose Benito Búa Ares, a Spanish teacher, is one of the people in charge of this project, which "was born with a main objective: the use of Maths to solve problems or real matters. This isn't new, but in GOAL! reality is reality in a strict sense". This teacher's purpose was supported and acknowledged by the school management, as Ramón Martínez Pinal, the headmaster of IES Ramón Cabanillas school, explained: "it would be complicated to achieve these goals if it weren't for the teachers' work and the students' participation in the project".
The educational community of the Spanish school was constantly informed about the state of the project, and this favoured the participation of English, French and Technology teachers whenever necessary, and even that of a father who wanted to collaborate actively by reviewing texts written in English: Suso Bao Vidal tells us that "it was an interesting experience as a father and really motivating regarding the students. The use of classroom knowledge in the real world, the use of ICTs, the need to communicate in a common language between students from different European countries and group work are strong reasons to believe in the project".
Google Docs, the star tool in this project, initially helped with the design of a common work plan: the six partners shared their school calendars, they suggested activities, they gave their opinion about their partners' ideas and, lastly, they made the project diary. They built an open and flexible plan: in accordance with their possibilities, each school decided what activities their students should do and adapted them to their needs.
Also with great care - and in accordance with the different objectives and goals - teachers chose the ICT tools to be used. In order to ensure fluent communication amongst all the participants, not only did they choose to exchange emails, but also they held videoconferences through Skype, and with Mixxt they created their own social network in a safe environment. Regarding the development of the activities, in addition to making an appropriate use of GeoGebra, a specific software for Mathematics, they managed to make the most of Google Earth to measure distances that otherwise would have been impossible to know. Once again, Google Docs and Issuu allowed students to jointly present the results of their work in common. However, they did not just use this variety of ICT tools, but also they helped all the participants use them, as Spanish students and teachers created and shared their own videotutorials on GeoGebra and Gimp.
The classroom procedure started with the presentation of a problem by the teacher, who became the guide and moderator. Students had to quickly find out the way to solve it. Their work dynamics also changed, as they had to work in groups, plan strategies, make decisions and use their knowledge in different curricular areas of Maths and often other subjects too. Proof of this are activities like the calculation of the forest area in their regions or the model scale representation of the Solar System, which the French partners did in the playground. This and other representations, like the building of their own sextants to know the height of different buildings or checking the accessibility for the disabled of ramps around them, as well as compliance with the regulations, helped students learn details about their surroundings. They also discovered the number of steps between their homes and the school, they investigated about the symmetry around us, they impersonated Eratosthenes in their calculations about the dimensions of the Earth and worked on other creative problems that ensure an entertaining and interesting review of the project.
Team work and the reality shown in each and every activity made GOAL! Go outside and learn an excellent method to achieve significant learning in students. This way, not only did they discover the sense of Maths, but also it will be difficult for them to forget it. This can be seen in the actual assessment that students made of their work using a comprehensive questionnaire created with mySurveyLab. For this last stage of the project, they also wanted to use the functions of current questionnaire software. According to the results, a large percentage of the students have changed their opinion about the subject and it shows a high level of satisfaction with the work done. It is quite an achievement if we bear in mind Maths is one of the subjects that students dislike most.
Celia Bao Rivas, a student from the Spanish group, explained that "I felt different things throughout the project. When our teacher suggested this idea I thought it would be interesting to see how Maths could be used outside the classroom and to speak to people from other countries about some aspects of Maths. When the project started, we split into groups and this sometimes made me feel desperation or anger when we didn't seem to agree, but finally when managed to do the work within the deadline, and that was satisfactory. Working on this project was fun, having to measure ramps or go up them on a wheelchair (for example). The most exciting part of the project was to speak with people from other European countries, in our case with Poland and France. With Poland we had to speak in English and with France in French, so we had to practise the languages we learned at school. To sum up, I would love to have this experience again because it was a really positive one".
On a professional level, José Benito Búa Ares said: "GOAL! has meant many things to me as a Maths teacher, but the most important one - regarding didactic and methodological aspects - can be seen in the assessment. It poses doubts about a popular topic amongst educational administrations: the use of ICTs as a motivating element and tool of the greatest pedagogical value these days. There is a certain obsession regarding the use of ICTs, without having to analyse their advantages and disadvantages closely. It is said that everything linked to the use of ICTs is motivating and innovative, and that it contributes to improving the teaching-learning process. I don't agree with this idea and that's why I took part in this project in particular. The excessive use of ICTs leads sometimes, especially in the teaching of Maths, to a distancing from a "real" reality that is replaced by a more "virtual" reality, which is something that GOAL! tries and - I believe - manages to avoid. This doesn't mean that ICTs are not present in GOAL! In fact, from my point of view, the greatest success of GOAL! is the use of ICTs as something supplementary and not as an objective. Should the path followed by GOAL! be explored or should we explore other less realistic paths that pay closer attention to ICTs and their tools? This is definitely something to be discussed".
TwinSpace is a reflection of what has been achieved regarding the integration of ICTs in the classroom. All the materials created, which have clearly been made available and organised, have offered a simple and pleasant view to discover the work done, from beginning to end. Also organised in the same way, the Google Sites space created for the project provide access to all the products created by teachers and students. In addition, photos, videos and presentations have been compiled in Flickr, YouTube and Issuu accounts. And the project diary, with frequent publications from partners, has become the perfect chronicle of this educational adventure. All in all, a detailed series of windows from which you can browse through GOAL! Go outside and learn.
The project was completed with its presentation at different conferences and educational events in the countries involved. Various local papers also spoke about its quality, but perhaps the greatest acknowledgement was the eTwinning award won at three national ceremonies already: Poland, France and Spain. Congratulations!
This is the presentation of the project shown at the eTwinning National Award ceremony 2012:
Project Diary: http://twinblog.etwinning.net/24877/
Materials are stored in:
Issuu store: http://issuu.com/goal-eu/docs
YouTube store: http://www.youtube.com/user/goal11eu
Flickr store: http://www.flickr.com/photos/61207406@N02/sets/
Flickr store: http://www.flickr.com/photos/62803499@N08/sets/
eTwinning Awards 2012
- Carpe Nuntium: voilà nuestra "FrItalianza" and learn Spanish
- Make full use of the Internet but "don't get caught in the net"
- Water is the star in Waterpedia - The elixir of life
- The hole puncher: VET learning and practice
- Family Lab, teaching and learning values
- Nos encontramos en el camino - We'll meet on the road
- Annual eTwinning Conference 2012: European award ceremony
- Entrega de Premios nacionales eTwinning 2012
- Live Broadcast National Awards eTwinning 2012 and European Annual Conference
- A Taste of Maths (ATOM), who says no to a sweet?
- The challenge of reading. Europe:Reading is also the future
- Study, practise and teach ICTs with ICT4U
- GOAL! Go outside and learn, real Maths
- Travelling creativity in 'Art on the Move'
- Ganadores de los Premios Nacionales eTwinning 2012