Yesterday I posted a summary of David Dockterman’s NCTM Denver presentation titled “Developing a Growth Mindset in Struggling Math Learners“. The post ended with this:
During the session, I tweeted quite a bit, finding many of the points Dockterman made were statements that resonated with me. I always pause to check out any recommended apps, websites, resources after sessions are over to see if they are worthwhile for my district. It is this after-the-session exploration that led me to become a bit frustrated and rethink my opinion of the session. I will reserve opinion comments for a separate contemplative blog post, however I will highlight that both the “Math 180” program/site and the “MindsetWorks” program/site highlighted in his session are (in my mind) cost prohibitive.
Despite (and to some extent because of) after-the-fact frustration, the session provided me with opportunity to think critically on pedagogy and resources.
While tweeting, I was reminded by someone in the Twitterverse that Dockterman’s background is in the humanities, not mathematics. I responded that this fact does not preclude him having good ideas applicable in mathematics.
Dockterman highlighted the work of Carol Dweck (see picture below), and walked us through a quiz he said was available through the MindsetWorks website. In truth, it is available – but only if you purchase access to the materials.
And then I went to the Math180 website, for which he is one of four lead authors. Math180 has an “organizational partnership” with MindsetWorks.
I have always struggled with the relationship between business and public education. As an author of curriculum support documents myself, I have always participated in projects where the final product created would be distributed freely to all schools (public or private). In an economic climate where education funding is continually in the spotlight, I continue to struggle with projects such as MindsetWorks and Math180 that are touted as “solutions” all schools should consider. If they are truly that valuable, why not have them accessible freely to all?
Questions I ponder, knowing that creating resources involves necessary funding from “somewhere”:
1. How can we provide quality resources free to all? (Desmos is, I believe, a great example of a free high-quality resource. Mathalicious is, I believe, a great example of a creative way to provide flexibility to “purchase”);
2. How can we ensure that, as educators, we aren’t “selling out” to publishers who want easy to mass-produce products and not necessarily high quality educational value?
What are your thoughts, readers? Do we shake hands with industry and accept the negatives that automatically come with the positives of that relationship? Do we find creative ways of providing high quality resources free to all (like Desmos and Mathalicious)?
When is public education truly freely accessible?