Some of you may have heard about the teacher, Dave Martin, from Red Deer, Alberta who has abolished marking students throughout a term and only assigns a grade based on the outcomes they have reached by the end of the course. This topic has been popular in the news lately and it was first brought to my attention in my Math Education course when we were shown the newspaper article online just over a month ago. This week we had the opportunity to Skype Dave into our university class, ask questions, and have him go over in more detail how he runs his classroom and how he is successful with his altered marking scheme.
After our conversation he invited us to keep in touch with him, and provided us with his twitter handle and blog if we need any help or resources in the future. As I was looking through his blog I came across a post about how he has incorporated the use of Facebook into his math classes. Martin created a class specific group to allow weekly math discussions to talk place outside of class, and made it a requirement to have the question/prompt answered online. The bonus to this FB group is that students ended up using it to ask for help on weekends, but if Martin could not answer soon enough other students were able to step up and help teach other, “My students were becoming teachers”, Martin stated.
The integration of social media had its precautions, but students monitored themselves and took this Facebook group seriously. It allowed for open discussion outside of class that normally wouldn’t exist, and students found themselves to be more creative, enjoying trying new things without worrying about losing marks. FB was also a means of catching up on missed content instead of having to wait until their next class.
I normally would have never thought of implementing Facebook of all social websites into my math class, however, Dave Martin has shown an incredibly beneficial example of how well it fits. I am extremely grateful to have been able to hear of his teaching and grading approach and would personally love to look into heading in that same direction in the future.