Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Online Learning: Effective Thinking Through Mathematics

Readers on this blog know that I am an online education advocate, having been an online instructor and a MOOC student for several years now. I have been asked to review a website that helps you learn languages in an easy and entertaining manner, so keep an eye out for that post.


Writers are constantly re-writing, reviewing, reassessing their work. Several months ago I found myself stuck on a particular piece of writing, not sure if I was obsessively reviewing and not advancing becauase of it.  A step back and new perspective was needed, I had to look at my work from a new light.  It just so happened that around the same time an email from edx.org featuring new courses caught my eye.  I read the description of one of the courses,  EffectiveThinking Through Mathematics and thought that was just what I needed.  I signed up and several weeks later the Professor, the quirky and constantly jovial, Michael Starbird, introduced himself in a Youtube video.  Professor Starbird began by presenting the elements of effective thinking.  According to Starbird, there are five elements of effective thinking. First you must understand deeply, second, you must be willing to make mistakes, third raise questions, ask yourself ‘what’s missing?’, the fourth element of effective thinking is to follow the flow of ideas, while having a perspective on your life, and finally, the fifth element is to change, to become a different person.

This course, as it turns out, did not have a direct impact on my writing, but rather in how I approach problems in my daily life.  I have started to take a step back and look at different problems in my life using effective thinking strategies.  And as it so happens, it also has helped me with my sixth grader´s math homework.  We can sit down together and work through problems using the elements of effective thinking!  When we do this, I have to say that the element of effective thinking that I appreciate the most, is the second element, because when making mistakes is ok, we can learn more effectively from them. And where parenting is concerned, learning from mistakes is a given. So it turns out, that my need for perspective on my writing has lead me to a new perspective on parenting. 

For more information on Professor Starbird or edx.org courses, please visit edx.org

No comments:

Post a Comment