1. Gerald Kulm
  2. http://directory.cehd.tamu.edu/view.epl?nid=gkulm
  3. Senior Professor
  4. KATE Project
  5. http://kate.tamu.edu
  6. Texas A&M University
  1. Trina Davis
  2. http://people.cehd.tamu.edu/~tdavis/index.html
  3. Associate Professor
  4. KATE Project
  5. http://kate.tamu.edu
  6. Texas A&M University
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 10:04 a.m.

    This is really fascinating and will hopefully prove effective in helping preservice teachers become more sensitive to cultural/ethnic diversity issues long before they get to the classroom! I’m wondering if there is evidence that student misconceptions about math cluster along cultural/ethnic lines and, if so, are the simulations programmed to provide preservice teachers with awareness of these cultural biases around mathematical concepts and the tools to deal with them? Or is the diversity awareness more about different styles of communication, interaction, etc.???

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 02:36 p.m.

    The “live” avatars (grad students) deliberately exhibited misconceptions to allow preservice teachers a chance to respond both to math questions and to some “cultural” questions such as not being familiar with the context of the problem. We didn’t find evidence of teacher bias in the way they responded to these questions, other than for the cultural questions or comments, they tended to ignore or not address them directly. We did provide many examples and tools to deal with misconception and cultural questions in class and homework exercises prior to the Second Life experience which occurred at the end of the course. For us, diversity awareness is connected with teaching and learning mathematics and how diverse students approach that task.

  • Icon for: Meixia Ding

    Meixia Ding

    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2015 | 03:21 p.m.

    Hi Dr. Kulm, This is really a creative path to teach preservice teachers! Are those misconceptions deliberately exhibited by the avatars (grad students) similar to the actual ones held by the middle grade students? How is the virtual classroom experience used for preservice teachers’ lesson planning?

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 03:31 p.m.

    Yes, part of the work was seminars for grad students to review literature and learn about student misconceptions in algebra. Preservice teachers developed lesson plans and got feedback before they taught. The grad students used the teachers’ lesson plans to decide the misconceptions they would role play and the questions to ask.

  • Icon for: Meixia Ding

    Meixia Ding

    Associate Professor
    May 11, 2015 | 04:34 p.m.

    The involvement of both preservice teachers and graduate students , especially the connection between their roles, is really innovative!

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Facilitator
    May 11, 2015 | 03:57 p.m.

    Really enjoyed watching this. Made me wonder how this experience would compare to actually being in a setting with 15 diverse students? Wondered how the teacher experience and reactions would differ? Have you done any such comparisons? At any rate, really interesting presentation. Thanks!

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 04:20 p.m.

    Joni, no we haven’t done those comparisons. The preservice teachers say that this helps them think about what they would do in a real classroom. Some complain that it isn’t realistic, but most like the idea of practicing with avatars before their student teaching experience. The problem with real diverse classrooms is that it is hard to “control” the kinds of questions that will be asked, or to expect that kids would actually ask the questions rather than just being silent while the teacher lectures. We don’t let that happen – our avatars plan to ask specific questions about specific misconceptions that they role play.

  • Icon for: Gregory Moore

    Gregory Moore

    Doctoral student
    May 12, 2015 | 08:27 p.m.

    In line with this, I was wondering why you decided to use Second Life? You used live graduate students to control the avatars, so why not set up a face to face classroom simulation where the graduate students acted as middle school students? What advantages does Second Life have?

    This is cool and interesting work with a lot of potential benefits. I’m just unclear as to why Second Life is useful.

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 10:35 p.m.

    We thought that a face-to-face with a grad student, or even a peer would not give the impression that they were actually teaching a middle grade student. The avatars provide a virtual student that could look and act like a kid. Also, we wanted to make the students reflect diversity in terms of their ethnicity, gender, abilities, etc. I think our grad students were more comfortable in their avatar roles than they would have been in real life pretending to be a middle grade student.

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    Mary Capraro

    Guest
    May 11, 2015 | 09:22 p.m.

    I really find it important that these preservice teachers were able to respond to misconceptions. It is so important for them to be able to address these issues in a “real avatar situation” so that when they are in front of their classroom of middle school students they are able to recognize and help their students so that their misconceptions can be ameliorated rather than engrained.

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 09:55 p.m.

    Yes, we have found the work with misconceptions very valuable in many ways. One of our findings was that addressing misconceptions was a key predictor of PCK. Our preservice teachers showed better engagement in responding than the comparison group who mainly showed the correct procedure. Still a long way to go but we made some headway.

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    Ferdi Serim

    Guest
    May 12, 2015 | 06:18 p.m.

    What a creative and inspirational use of digital learning to address key “real world” problems. I hope the lessons are widely shared and provide a foundation for further explorations in areas demanding deeper understandings.

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    Joey Serim

    Guest
    May 12, 2015 | 06:34 p.m.

    Algebra, as it was taught when I was in school and is still taught in most schools, has little immediate applicability for students, and is far too abstract. KATE makes a huge difference by making algebra relevant by teaching students greater cultural awareness and appreciation of diversity through problem solving. And it’s an age and grade appropriate version of hands-on learning. Years ago, I participated in the SEED program, which taught teachers to use literature to teach about cultural diversity, and the results were excellent!

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 07:31 p.m.

    Joey, thanks for the comment. Moving preservice teachers from typical textbook word problems to problems that were relevant to students’ lives and cultures is a challenge. We used a framework, having them learn about cultural relevance, situated hands-on contexts, and critical pedagogy in an attempt to have them think more deeply about the context of problems.

  • Icon for: Trina Davis

    Trina Davis

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 06:54 p.m.

    Ferdi, thanks so much for your post. We found that our preservice teachers had few experiences prior to the grant problem solving course addressing considerations related teaching math for equity. The approach of designing lessons around culturally relevant, or critical pedagogy frameworks, for example, was quite new to most of the students. Thanks for your comment.

  • Icon for: Deborah Kariuki

    Deborah Kariuki

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 01:39 a.m.

    KATE is a timely tool of teaching preservice teachers about culturally responsive relevant material and teaching for equity. This is an area that many teachers would be served well in understanding that for students to appreciate and learn the material must be culturally relevant to them. I see the advantage of using the avatar as they can be preprogrammed to deal with difficult cultural occurrences. My question is at the moment this appears to be very theoretical have you put it into practice for teachers who are now in the field and what are the results are after they have participated in KATE. How have teachers responded when they were faced by all this culturally significant questions? Has the training helped?

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 08:12 a.m.

    Thanks for the comment and question, Deborah. The goal for this project was to provide experiences and raise awareness of preservice teachers. We are doing some follow-up interviews with them after they begin teaching but don’t yet have those results. Obviously, this is only one 3-hour course in their preparation, so even if we find they are doing well, it is difficult to say KATE is the main reason – of course we ask them if that is the case. Your question is the one we ask about anything we do in preservice education. Sad to say but my experience is that the pressures of teaching and the attitudes of their colleagues often erase or diminish experiences had during preservice preparation. We hope that KATE is impactful enough to survive into their real practice.

  • Icon for: Deborah Kariuki

    Deborah Kariuki

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2015 | 06:15 a.m.

    Thanks for the respond. With the changing demographics it is clear that teachers do need to rethink how the material they are teaching is culturally relevant so as to keep the students engaged by asking that very relevant question “what is in it for me to spend all this time learning this material”. I want to believe that preservice teachers should continue to be exposed to program like this that you have created in guiding them to understand that understanding the experiences their students bring to the classroom is foremost important if they are going to learn and believe that the teacher cares and understand them. Looking forward to seeing data as you continue to keep track of the teachers who have been exposed to your system.

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    Ke Wang

    Guest
    May 13, 2015 | 12:24 p.m.

    KATE is a creative project to help preservice teachers to realize diversity. I hope to know how to measure the change of preservice teachers’ awareness of equity and diversity.

  • Icon for: Gerald Kulm

    Gerald Kulm

    Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 02:24 p.m.

    We are using two measures of change: a pre-post Likert questionnaire that we adapted (Cultural Awareness and Beliefs Inventory), and pre-post interview with samples of students. On the questionnaire, the participants have exhibited increased levels of awareness and beliefs. You can read some of our research results – refer to the website for references to papers and articles. kate.tamu.edu

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.