As a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, teachers across the world switched from in-person to virtual teaching. Several teachers in New York needed to accelerate their expertise in using web-based platforms to connect with students, continue providing high-quality instruction to meet the academic needs of their students. To address this unprecedented situation, the PDRC designed and implemented a series of webinars to offered mathematics webinars during May 2020.
These mathematics webinars, offered by Dr. Joseph Ferantelli, a Math coach and an Instructor at Hunter College, presented actionable and realistic strategies for designing mathematics lessons and activities in the virtual environment. The content of the webinars included; technical, organizational, and pedagogical approaches to equip teachers with preparing interactive lessons to engage students in collaborative classwork, higher-order thinking, hands-on experiences, and solving real-world problems.
During the interactive webinars, most teachers shared that their fist experience using web-based conferencing platforms to deliver instruction was March 2020, where they have to accelerate their learning process. Teachers also indicated that they became proficient at using the basic features of the web-based conferencing platform, but most were not aware of the advanced features.
Teachers had opportunities to solve real-world math problems, shared their strategies to find the solution, and discussed using different virtual tools to engage students in math activities such as a whole group, small group, and one-on-one sessions.
Teachers shared that they will try to use the breakout rooms feature in Zoom so students will be able to explore and discover mathematical concepts and strategies by themselves to promote collaboration and facilitating small group discussions. Another teacher will redefine her approach for questioning, aiming to engage students in activities that require students to participate in higher-order thinking tasks.
Furthermore, teachers shared their takeaways from the webinar:
Moving forward, teachers their immediate next steps to implement in their virtual lessons:
It is praiseworthy to share with the school community of the New York Religious and Independent schools the levels of commitment, professionalism, and enthusiasm displayed by the teachers attending the mathematics webinar series. Teachers' eagerly contributed their technological and pedagogical expertise. This level of teachers’ participation promoted a collegial approach to learning among attendees, which will benefit increasing teaching practices, hence, improve student achievement.