Math department offers resources for inverted classrooms
Back in 2011, we profiled Dr. John Golden, and his novel work with a blog, YouTube, and Twitter in his interactions with future teachers. In the three years hence, our department has expanded its use of these technologies, especially a much greater use of YouTube by department faculty.
YouTube videos often play a major role in the “inverted classroom,” a style of teaching that puts the vast majority of information delivery outside of class meeting time, and focuses meeting time on active learning rather than passive listening, with a primary emphasis on collaborative work among students to solve challenging problems. The inverted classroom is gaining increased attention in universities throughout the United States and is seeing considerably more use by faculty at Grand Valley. Dr. Robert Talbert, who joined the GVSU math faculty in fall 2011, is a nationally recognized leader in understanding and using this approach to teaching; he writes frequently about the topic on his Casting Out Nines blog, both regarding its use in calculus and in Math 210, Communicating in Mathematics.
Because the inverted classroom requires that the majority of lecture-type delivery be moved outside of class meeting time, online videos are an essential resource in this approach. As such, many department faculty have learned to produce and share such videos. In addition, through Dr. Talbert’s leadership, our department now has a dedicated YouTube channel (link to https://www.youtube.com/user/GVSUmath), and with it playlists for various courses. For instance, we now have a collection of screencasts for Math 201, Calculus I, that coincide with Dr. Matt Boelkins’ free, open-source calculus text, as well as a set of screencasts for Math 210, Communicating in Mathematics, which correspond to Dr. Ted Sundstrom’s freely-available text, Mathematical Reasoning. These particular sets of screencasts have been created through efforts by various department faculty to engage students in class settings that follow an inverted style of management. In addition, many other instructors are using videos to supplement their instruction – some for use prior to class, some for review following class – for classes such as Math 110, Math 122, and Math 123. Additional supporting resources for students include videos on how to use LaTeX (a mathematical typesetting program), Geogebra (a geometry and graphing program), and more.
These resources are not only a valuable tool for current GVSU students, but also an important resource for people outside of Grand Valley in the teaching and learning of mathematics. Whether students taking courses themselves at other schools, professors seeking supplementary resources or ideas for sharing with their own students, or learners interested in refreshing ideas encountered long ago, these videos offer interested parties access to the expertise of GVSU faculty at their own convenience. All of these efforts contribute to helping students learn independently, learn continuously, and learn for the rest of their lives. We hope that you’ll take some time to investigate some of the many offerings at https://www.youtube.com/user/GVSUmath.