Using Groupworthy Tasks to Increase Student Engagement

There has been an ongoing call in mathematics education for students to be engaging in problem solving and collaborative groupwork.  Although, many instructors find that when they put students in groups, some students seem disengaged and we may start to worry that groupwork is not nearly as motivating or interesting to students as we might expect.  A natural response at this point is to blame the student for their lack of engagement.  But, as Alfie Kohn, an author who writes extensively about education and student motivation, often states, “When students are off task, our first response should be to ask: What’s the task?”  Indeed, this is one of the key elements to engaging students in the mathematics classroom; we need to design a good task.

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Up to Date Blog Content for JMM 2017

Looking for blog content about the 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings? Check out the JMM 2017 Blog where you can catch up on yesterday’s main events and keep up with some of the main events during the meeting. I really enjoyed reading Profession, State of since I couldn’t attend the full panel discussion but I can still hear the ideas for increasing diversity in the professions from the awesome set of panelists.

Some of the posts are done live so attendees can jump in on events while they happen. Other posts are done after the event which allows the authors to give more of an overview of everything that occurred.


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A Hidden Gem for the JMM

The start of the new year comes with the hustle and bustle of thousands of mathematicians converging this week on the city of Atlanta for the 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings. With so many talks, panels, poster sessions, exhibits, and other engagements, deciding what to do during the conference can be a daunting task. Even once you sift through all of the choices, it’s no small feat to keep everything straight.

Anytime we have a problem, what do we do? We use an app! Here to save you at JMM is the 2017 JMM Mobile App! You can search for events, personalize your schedule (which can add things to your calendar!), and even give updates/announcements about the conference. The app also has a networking feature that can help you connect to others attending JMM.

Okay, so maybe it’s not a “hidden gem” since it’s the first links on the JMM website and there’s a description in the registration packet but I’m still excited to check it out and take some of the bookkeeping out of my brain and onto my phone.  I didn’t get a chance to utilize the app last year so if you give it a shot or have any tips or tricks, let us know!

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See, Accept, Affirm

The mathematical community is one, which—while not as diverse as it could/should be—counts as members individuals from all backgrounds and of all identities. These individualities are something we as a community should cherish and support.

One outlet for such support that I recently had the opportunity to help implement here at the UW–Madison (sorry for the humblebrag), is a statement of community commitment to, and value of, inclusivity. Based on this experience, I would like to talk about what such a statement is, why I think they are meaningful, and to (not so) secretly encourage others to do similar things within their own departments.

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What is a Manifold? (4/6)

After our luxurious treatment of 1-d manifolds, we turn to 2-d manifolds.

My story of surfaces starts in a beautifully weird morning when I got up to realize that life in the usual Euclidean plane had changed dramatically. Vectors had shortened, areas had shrunk, and infinity was just a few feet away!

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