Moving Towards Web 2.0 – Algebra Exam Review

March 4, 2010 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

Wednesday I started a review session with my elementary algebra class on graphing linear equations.Developmental math students, as a group, are unsure how to review for an exam. To me, what students need to focus on is looking at problems and developing a strategy for solving them rather than just working through hundreds of problems.

I used a strategy that I love to use in developmental classes. I numbered my students from 1 to 9 and had all of the “1’s” get together, all of the “2’s”, and so on. I have around 40 students, so the group sizes were 4-5 students each. I gave two problems to each group with the following directions.

  • Solve each problem, making sure each person understands.
  • Write 3 to 5 statements about each problem that are crucial for solving the problem.

Each group worked for approximately 15 minutes. I then started asking groups for their solutions, as well as their statements they were asked to write. I had to do a lot of prompting for their statements, and I wasn’t really surprised by this. Developmental math students do not enjoy being vocal in class, and for the most part I think it’s due to their lack of confidence and high anxiety.

We were able to get through 1 problem for each group. I then asked each group to email me their solutions, as well as their 3 to 5 statements, and I would post them on our MyMathLab course site. They seemed to be much more at ease communicating their ideas electronically. I assembled their emails and notified the class when they were all posted. The final assignment was to look over each others work before class on Thursday.

On Thursday I started putting problems on the board and asked students how they would solve them. It was amazing! So many students participate, volunteering their strategy. I feel it was one of the most successful review sessions I had ever hosted.

How Does Web 2.0 Tie In?

I started to think about how I could use Web 2.0 tools to serve the same purpose as copying and pasting emails into a single document. Here’s a few I thought of.

Facebook Group

If my students were in a Facebook group, they could all post their solutions and statements on the Facebook page. Students could also scan their solution and post them to the page. Perhaps they could even make a quick video that they could post.


If my students were all Twitter users, they could all post their solutions and statements using a common hash tag. They could use a program such as Jing to share their solutions. A video link could be shared in the same way.


It struck me that this assignment might work best by creating a wiki. I have no experience putting one together, but it seems like a natural.

What Do You Think?

Do you prefer one strategy over the others? I think I am still leaning towards Facebook simply because most of my students already have accounts. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you have other ideas that could be used?

If you’d like to share your thoughts in more depth, please leave your comment or you can reach me through the contact page on my website .


I am a mathematics instructor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA. I have decided to add technology related articles to my Thursday blog lineup. Let me know if there are other topics you’d like me to cover. You can reach me through the contact page on my website.


Entry filed under: Math, Potpourri, technology. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Statistics – My New Approach Continues MyMathLab – Posting Your Own Materials

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