i²Flex Articles - Ethos (Winter 2013)

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ETHOS WINTER 2013

A Digital Natives, Disruptive Schooling and other Brainteasers by Dr. Maria Avgerinou, Director of Educational Technology and e-Learning

s Bob Pearlman, one of the key leaders in U.S. educational reform points out (2010), a casual walk into any new brick-andmortar schools across the U.S., reveals that despite the elaborate architectural designs and the wiring for educational technology integration, classrooms remain designed for teachers to stand in front of the students, thus still reflecting schooling as invented in the 19th century. Since those bygone and distant past times however, the world has developed in such diverse directions and created new and particularly complex demands for citizenship, college and careers that it is no longer possible to be accommodated by old

learning environments associated with old learning paradigms. Indeed, “we are on the threshold of a tipping point in public education,” (Kay, 2010, xiii). The Partnership for the 21st Century Skills (2009) emphasizes that in addition to core subject knowledge, such skills as information and communication, inter-personal and self-directional, as well as being well versed with the technologies of this millennium, both from the consumer and the creator’s standpoints, are critical in order to prepare students as life-long learners to deal successfully with the demands of the ever changing world of the post-industrial era of information revolution. These learning outcomes not only necessitate schools to capitalize on the affordances of new technologies, but also to utilize more learner-centric pedagogies which focus on the newly emerged, idiosyncratic profile of the digital learner (Prensky, 2001). As a result, we have wit-

Current page Top: The skills of the 21st Century Learner Bottom: Faculty participating in an i2Flex instructional design consultation session at ACS Athens


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nessed the unprecedented growth and firm establishment of online and blended learning at all levels of education, including various forms of Virtual Schooling in the K-12 sector (Davis & Niederhauser, 2007; Rice, 2012; Watson, Murin, et al., 2010). Indeed, online (and blended) learning has been saluted as the disruptive force that can transform the factory-like structure of today’s educational institutions. Clayton Christensen, Harvard Business School Professor, who coined the term of art Disrupting Innovation, argues that by 2019 50% of all high school courses will be delivered online. This projection may seem less bizarre upon close inspection of current facts and figures pertaining to online and blended learning in the U.S.: ◉ the number of students taking at least one online course has now surpassed 6.7 million (sloanconsortium.org, 2013) ◉ by 2013 that number will increase to 18.65 million ◉ Half of the 4,500 b r i c k- a n d - m o r t a r

colleges in the U.S. offer their degree programs online 96% of traditional universities offer at least one class in an online-only format Open Course Ware offers 4,200 complete courses online for free 1,689 of which are classes from MIT (source Classes And Careers.com, 2013) According to a 2009 study from the Department of Education: “Students who took all or part of their class online performed better, on average, than those taking the same course through traditional face-to-face instruction.” Students who mix online learning with traditional coursework (i.e. blended learning) do even better (Internet Time Group Report, 2013).

i2Flex for Morfosis: A New Vehicle for a New Education Paradigm At ACS Athens, we have followed closely the aforementioned global effort for educational re-

form. We are cognizant of the fact that traditional schooling is not the only avenue for learning. How could it be, since the reality is that students learn in different ways, via different modalities and styles, at a different pace in environments immersed in new technologies? We are also strong supporters of the notion of complete alignment among school learning outcomes, university and market needs. As a result, we have generated our own education paradigm named Morfosis and defined within the 21st century framework

Aiming at developing higher order cognitive skills within a flexible learning design framework as a holistic, meaningful, and harmonious educational experience, guided by ethos. The vehicle to implement Morfosis, is the i2Flex, a non-formal education model of instruction organically developed by the ACS Athens community of

learners, that integrates internet-based delivery of content and instruction with student independent learning, and some control over time, pace, place, or mode, in combination with guided, face-to-face classroom instruction aiming at developing higher order cognitive skills within a flexible learning design framework. Grounded on the concept of Morfosis, this type of learning that draws on practice and research on blended learning and the concept of “flipped classroom” in K-12 across the U.S. and beyond, is learner-centered and ultimately aims at developing students’ 21st century skills, while also helping them successfully prepare for their higher education studies (where a good deal of them are already offered online), and their future careers. More specifically, this approach consists of a blend of face-to-face and web-based teaching and learning experiences. The web-based component may include both online synchronous and asynchronous teaching and learning experiences,

Linking high quality teaching with the collaborative, networked, information-rich environments structured for individual and collaborative interaction and guided by the teacher, as well as independent experiential and web-based learning, initiated and implemented by the student. From a theoretical perspective, i2Flex is a form of blend-


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ed learning which so far tends to gravitate toward six models, namely, face-to-face driver, rotation, flex, online lab, selfblend, and online driver (Hopper & Seaman, 2011). Each of these models comes with its own set of characteristics, but they all fall under the following umbrella definition for Blended Learning in the K-12: “Blended learning is any time a student learns at least in part at a supervised brick- and-mortar location away from home and at least in part through online delivery with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace. (Clayton Christensen Institute, The Rise of K-12 Blended Learning: Profiles of Emerging Models, 2011, p. 5). Where i2Flex significantly diverts from the blended learning definition is at the component of independent inquiry. According to the i2Flex independent inquiry, albeit scaffolded and guided by faculty, is a required component of the learning experience. Another major point of our approach, refers to the superb learning opportunities for the development of Bloom’s Taxonomy highest cognitive skills (analysis, evaluation, and creation), that can be created by the integration of web-based activities where the student in preparation for face-to-face class meetings can interact with the content, the technology, peers and the teacher toward advancing the less demanding cognitive skills of knowledge acquisition, comprehension, and application. Beginning from this Fall, many i2Flex classes are being piloted at the ACS Middle School and Academy, representing a rich variety of course subjects, teaching styles, and age

groups, while at the same time reflecting different degrees of complexity regarding instructional design and technology integration. We are deeply aware that this form of learning that we are striving to implement requires substantial change in our school’s culture while at the same time generating shifts in teachers’, administrators’, and students’ roles. As a result, i2Flex pilot teachers participate in a series of individual consultations with the Director for Educational Technology and eLearning, in order to review their courses against the Quality Matters® research-based, national benchmarks for online course design, examine models and discuss issues of instructional design as they specifically apply to their class, and how the latter can be transformed into a successful technology enhanced and/or web-supported learning community. In turn, our faculty educates the students hands-on about the uses and benefits of technology for learningas opposed to using technology for information, communication or entertainment per the digital natives’ daily routine outside the classroom! Our administrators also have the opportunity to participate in formal and informal professional development sessions regarding the design, and implementation of i2Flex, while receiving frequent reports on the progress of the pilot classes. Moving from the pilot to the next phase of this initiative, the vision of ACS Athens is to have all of our Middle School and Academy classes i2Flex-ed. We thrive on the tremendous possibilities that this new educationparadigm can offer to

our learning community. Davis et al. (2007) illustrate, among others, the development of new distribution methods to enable equity and access for all students; the provision of high quality content for all students; and, the fact that management structures can begin to shift to support performance-based approaches through data-driven decision-making. Therefore, if applied in a systematic, pedagogically sound way, i2Flex can serve as the vehicle for disruptive education in our school, can become the bridge between the four-walled, brick-and-mortar classroom and 21st century education. It can empower our students to transform the world as architects of their own learning by linking high quality teaching and high quality courses with the collaborative, networked, information-rich environments that are a hallmark of the information age (Davis, et al. 2007). ■


ETHOS WINTER 213 References Allen, J.E., & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten year of tracking online education in the United States. Sloan Consortium, Babson Survey Research Group, & Pearson Learning Solutions. Retrieved November 11, 2013 from http://sloanconsortium.org/ publications/survey/changing_course_2012 Christensen, Cl., Horn, M. B., & Johnson, C.W. (2011). Disrupting class: How disruptive innovation will change the way the world learns. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Clayton Christensen Institute (2011). The rise of K-12 blended learning: Profiles of emerging models. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from http://www. christenseninstitute.org/?publications=the-rise-of-k-12blended-learning-profiles-ofemerging-models Davis, N.E. & Niederhauser, D.S. (2007, April). New roles and responsibilities for distance education in K-12 education. Learning and Leading. Davis, N., Roblyer, M. D., Charania, A., Ferdig, R., Harms, C., Compton, L. K. L., et al. (2007). Illustrating the “virtual” in virtual schooling: Challenges and strategies for creating real tools to prepare virtual teachers. Internet and Higher Education, 10(1), 27-39. Hopper, J., & Seaman, J. (2011). Transforming schools for the 21st century. Retrieved November 6, 203 from http:// www.designshare.com/index. php/ar ticles/transformingschools-for-the-21st-century/ Kay, K. (2010). Foreword: 21st Century skills: Why they matter, what they are, and how we get there. In J. Bellanca & R. Brandt (Eds.) 21st Century skills: Rethinking how students learn (pp. xiii-xxxi). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). Framework for 21st century learning. Retrieved November 7, 2013 from http:// w w w. p 2 1 . o r g / a b o u t - u s / p21-framework Pearlman, B. (2010). Designing new learning environments to support 21st century skills. In J.

Bellanca & R. Brandt (Eds.) 21st Century skills: Rethinking how students learn (pp. 117-147). Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives; Digital immigrants. Retrieved November 11, 2013, from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20 -%20Digital%20Natives,%20 Digital%20Immigrants%20 -%20Part1.pdf Rice, J.K. (2012). Review of “The costs of online learning.”Boulder, CO: National Education Policy Center.Retrieved June 1, 2013, from http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/reviewcost-of-online/ Watson, J., Murin, A., Vashaw, L., Gemin, B., & Rapp, C. (2010). Keeping pace with K-12 online learning: An annual review of state-level policy and practice. Vienna, VA: North American Council for Online Learning. Retrieved from http://www.kpk12.com/ wp-content/uploads/KeepingPaceK12_2010.pdf


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our higher self and express our uniqueness. It is the act that keeps us feeling fulfilled as people and gives our living purpose. To nurture this way of being in the world is to nurture a deep interaction with our changing world, appreciate it it is, and be able to recognize how we can innovate upon it. Asking Beautiful Questions

Walking in Wonder: Nurturing an Artful and Architectural Way in the World by Ginger Carlson, Elementary School Assistant Principal

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t the heart of our school vision lies the making of our own meaning in this world. This is a magnificent and honored journey, one that calls upon our deepest senses of patience and mindfulness. It is an art in itself. As we approach the journey in a way that honors both the art in our lives as well as the way our children can profoundly and uniquely express themselves through it, we make the profound shift from simply doing, to living in an artful and architectural way.

Nurturing Creativity To nurture an architect of one’s own learning and way in the world is to nurture the creative mind. In order to be able to nurture this mindset and way of being in the world, it helps to understand the way creativity works. What we know about creativity is this: creativity, the listening that produces the act of creating and engagement with knowledge in any form, is an individual journey that feeds the soul and its drive in the world. To create is to be at one with

At the heart of truly exploring the world and connecting with it in a truly creative way that nurtures building meaning, are the wonderings that build upon a child’s natural inclinations and inquisitiveness about how the world works. Through our intentional and thoughtful use of questions we can help children tap into their creativity by allowing them to have a truly inquiry-based learning experience, driven by their own interests, observations and predictions. By altering the way we approach ideas for what a child will create, the materials they use, how they will choose to approach their projects, what unique idea they can bring to it, and if they will even end up with a final product, they are then given freedom and license to experiment, stretch themselves, and grow in their own unique ways.

sciences goes beyond the simple learning experience that is often associated with childhood. To really learn to look is to bring the world closer to the human experience, to connect with it on a deeper level. In turn, children bring a vocabulary for observing and critiquing the world around them to the very real learning they themselves create. From this place, they develop a deeper understanding of the potential and power of their own architectural experience, the building of their own learning. Mimicking Nature

Making Artful Observations

When we look at the science of biomimicry, it is no surprise that the research shows that children who are given the opportunity to learn, play, and create in natural environments, do so more creatively. From the study of birds to enable human flight to the mimicking of a butterfly’s reflective wings to enhance display technology, we are not only surrounded by examples of natural creativity and art, but also very real solutions based on those natural phenomena. All our forms and functions, all our inventions and innovations are connected to something much wider than our conscious minds can even fathom. If nature is our model, measure, and mentor, then there is nothing we are not connected to and no problem we cannot solve.

Observation and critique are truly significant ways for children to explore ways of being, learning and examples of creativity around them. Learning to really look at the world and all that is in it, be it sculpture, a piece of literature, a math problem, or a recent finding in the

Being an artful and architectural parent and educator, impacting children who have the opportunity to build their own learning and experience, is as easy (and as hard) as it sounds. It is picking up a paintbrush more often. It is allowing yourself and



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Fifth Grade Architects by Helen Sarantes, Elementary Technology K-5

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hen the new vision for ACS was presented to the faculty: i2Flex; twenty five years of teaching technology was summarized in this vision and in a project that I assigned to my fifth grade students. This project encompassed the different facets of, i2Flex which included: ◉ Face to face learning ◉ Online learning ◉ Independent learning The fifth grade students were introduced to Google SketchUp. Google SketchUp is a 3D modeling program for architects and many other professions. The program was introduced in the computer lab with an initial explanation of the tools available in Google SketchUp and the modeling window or “canvas”

that they would be using. This explanation was the “face to face learning” that took place. The next phase students were shown a YouTube video with step by step instructions on how to make a simple house. The children were asked to open two tabs to work simultaneously with their “canvas” and with the online tutorial. This helped them to use the tools which were initially explained “face to face” to actually draw a simple house with the help of “online learning”. The final phase of using Google SketchUp was to draw their own building and this is where imagination, conceptualization, and finally creation, occurred. In order to accomplish this task a different type of learning took place, “independent learning”.


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Before embarking on this journey, students were given a little tip. They were asked to reflect on the initial online tutorial and to question if there were more online tutorials to help with other skills needed to use Google SketchUp. My students returned to class with such enthusiasm as they explained to me how they figured out “how to” draw the building that they had envisioned. Some students wanted to draw the interior of their building so they used an online tutorial to help them with that. Other students labeled their buildings with letters that they constructed themselves. Finally one student said with excitement and a sense of accomplishment, “Miss Helen, I downloaded the program and made the most beautiful house. I wanted to put furniture inside the rooms but I didn’t like the ones that were available so I drew them myself!!” This is in my opinion, the definition and ultimate goal of at the, i2Flex elementary school level: ◉ Face to face learning ◉ Online learning ◉ Independent learning. ■

Opposite page: Fifth grade students at work in elementary technology lab

Stretching and i2Flex-ing with the Digital Native by Labrini Rontogiannis, Middle School Faculty

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bstract: The Digital Native is experiencing education during a very unique time. Learning with the help of technology and the Internet, becoming Independent and flexible learners, will only build on the skills they need to face a rapidly changing world and truly become architects of their own learning. Facebook, Twitter, Ning, LinkedIn, Evernote and Google. No, these are not the latest boy bands in pop music, but a new language: the language of the digital native. The digital native, as coined by educational technology and gaming expert Marc Prensky, was born in a world of cell phones, iPods, the Internet and laptops as thin as paper. Smartphones and tablets, social networking sites and other Web 2.0 (3.0) tools are the remote controls and videocas-

settes of the next generation. So what role does this play in education? It is sometimes hard to understand why children need technology to learn “better”. After all, we, the Digital Immigrants, the BGs (Before Google) successfully completed our entire education without Internet, or Google or tablet apps. What is so different with today’s student? Digital natives were born in a digital world acquiring digital skills at a young age. According to a research report by Common Sense Media, 72% of children aged 0-8 have been exposed to some sort of mobile device. Think about the first time you held a mobile phone in your hand. Is it not therefore only natural that they will also learn more effectively using technology? Cognitively, digital natives require a

different form of stimulation than is provided by traditional teaching methods. Today’s students need to be stimulated using the very thing that makes them different from learners of previous generations: technology. This is what they have been exposed to and this is their language of communication. And, whether we like it or not, the world is transforming itself based on the abilities and needs of these digital learners. Do we, the digital immigrants, like it? Maybe not. Do we have to get used to it? Definitely yes! Having a Facebook account is not nearly enough to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. Technology in the 21st century classroom is no longer an option, but a necessity, and it can take many


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forms. Every educator in their discipline can use a variety of different tools to cater to the students and the content needs, creating unique and rewarding experiences. Video lessons can be created and used to present material. Discussion boards

Digital natives require a different form of stimulation than is provided by traditional teaching methods and online asynchronous mediums can be used to open extensive discussions giving all students the opportunity to participate. Videos, virtual simulations and virtual labs can expose students to activities that may not have otherwise been possible. Digital Storytelling can enhance the presentation of information, but also be used by students to build their own knowledge visually. Virtual 3D platforms such as Quest Atlantis can motivate students into independently searching and building on the answers to real life problems. Cloud applications can be used to create collaborative environments between students in and out of school. The use of technology can also free up class time where teachers can then be moderators and tutors within the classroom, helping students master and use their new knowledge to analyze, evaluate and create. As a parent and teacher, your instinct is to frown upon the very thing that often causes you frustration. Long hours spent in front of a screen can seem time consuming,

pointless and detrimental to children. We cannot eliminate the use of technology especially for this generation, but learn to use it positively in our lives. Technology provides endless opportunities and unique experiences, bridging gaps, removing time and space barriers that exist, bringing educators, students and institutions together from all around the world. Parents, teachers and administrators must embrace technology, cultivate it and use it to mold students into life long learners who will carry with them the skills needed for the 21st century; skills that will prepare them for an unknown future where the jobs they will acquire, do not yet exist! Learning with the help of technology and the Internet, becoming independent and flexible learners, will only build on the skills they need to face this uncertainty and truly become architects of their own learning. ■

Empowering Individuals to Transform the World as Architects of their Own Learning by Dora Andrikopoulos, Mathematics Coordinator

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ne of the most brilliant thinkers of modern times, Albert Einstein, once remarked that his first inkling of a new idea often came to him by intuition. “The really valuable thing is intuition,” Einstein said. “A thought comes and I may try to express it in words afterwards.” Man’s highest achievements seem to stem from the successful integration of both left-brain intellect and right-brain intuition. “An Architect does much more than build. An Architect thinks, imagines, conceptualizes and finally

creates something that is, first of all, beautiful.” Without the right brain, there would be no idea. Without the left brain, the idea could not be explained. Knowledge is retained longer, if children connect orally, physically and emotionally to the material presented to them. With these thoughts in mind, my desire and commitment to my mission as a teacher, gave me the strength and confidence to create a series of math books titled, “Mathematics A Thematic Approach”


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to help students consolidate, use, apply and extend their thinking in mathematics. Through many lessons, examples, exercises, problem-solving, activities, investigations, games, and extended projects, students are given the opportunity to breathe life into their own creations and designs and to go beyond the walls of the classroom, enriching their knowledge and feeling emotionally complete and satisfied.

permanent than theirs, it is because they are made with ideas. The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s, must be beautiful; the ideas like the colors or the words must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test; there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.” Mathematical ciency

Profi-

We need citizens who can

coming life-long learners and successful citizens in a global market place. Therefore, students must develop a deep understanding of mathematical concepts and possess a strong foundation of number sense in order to become proficient in mathematics. Every teacher of mathematics has an individual goal to provide students with the knowledge and understanding of the mathematics necessary to function in a world very dependent upon the application of mathematics. Instructionally, this goal translates into three components: conceptual understanding; procedural fluency; problem solving. Conceptual understanding involves the understanding of mathematical ideas and procedures and includes the knowledge

definitions and compare and contrast related concepts. Procedural fluency is the skill in carrying out procedures flexibly, accurately, efficiently and appropriately. It includes algorithms (the step-by step routines needed to perform arithmetic operations). The word procedural also refers to being fluent with procedures from other branches of mathematics, such as measuring the size of an angle using a protractor. Accuracy and efficiency with procedures are important, but they should be developed through understanding. When students learn procedures through understanding, they are more likely to remember the procedures and less likely to make common computational errors. Problem solving is the ability to formulate, represent, and solve mathematical problems. Problems generally fall into three types: ◉◉ one-step problems ◉◉ multi-step problems ◉◉ process problems

G. H. Hardy (1877-1947) said, “A mathematician, like a painter or a poet, is a maker of patterns. If his patterns are more

problem solve and think critically to compete in an ever-changing technological and global society. We must produce students who are capable of be-

of basic arithmetic facts. Students use conceptual understanding of mathematics when they identify and apply principles, know and apply facts and

Mathematics instruction must include the teaching of many strategies to empower all students to become successful problem solvers. A concept or procedure in itself is not useful in problem solving unless one recognizes when and where to use it as well as when and where it does not apply. Students need to be able to have a general understanding of how to analyze a problem and how to choose the most useful information. Educators at all levels should seek to develop “processes and proficien-


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cies” in their students. “Mathematics A Thematic Approach” enables students to work independently as the lessons and instructions are explicitly outlined. Through problem solving students are given the opportunity to ◉ Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them ◉ Reason abstractly and quantitatively ◉ Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others ◉ Model with mathematics ◉ Use appropriate tools strategically ◉ Attend to precision ◉ Look for and make use of structure In a balanced curriculum Depth of Knowledge Levels (DOK) should be used in assessments. Level 1: Recall- facts, definitions Level 2: Skill/Conceptual Understanding - applying skills Level 3: Strategic Reasoning Level 4: Extended Reasoning i Flex (Internet, Independent, Flexible) learning is a methodology in our school that is and will continue to be a tool for attaining the ultimate goal of flexibility and personalization of education through the use of technology. 2

“Mathematics A Thematic Approach “ is designed with lessons that can be used by students online and with assessments that can be submitted electronically. Assessments include all levels of depth (DOK), thus giving students the opportunity to apply themselves and use high-

er order skills. Students can work independently, assess their work and research extensively. Bertrand Russell (18721969) said, “Mathematics possesses not only truth but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture, without any appeal to our weaker nature…sublimely pure and capable of stern perfection such as only the greatest art can show.” Examples from “Mathematics A Thematic Approach Books 1 and 2” Example: Write the fraction ⁹⁄₄₅ as a percent Simplify the fraction ⁹⁄₄₅ = ¹⁄₅ Convert to a percent = ¹⁄₅ = ⁄₁₀₀ Equivalent Fraction ²⁰⁄₁₀₀ ²⁰⁄₁₀₀ = 20% We can always change a fraction to a percent by multiplying by 100 Example: Find the missing length of the leg a. Express your answer in radical form.

a

12 9

Use the Pythagorean Theorem. Substitute 9 for b and 12 for c. Solution:

a2 + b2 = c2 a2 + 92 = 122 a2 + 81 – 81 = 144 – 81 a2 = 63 a = √63

Problem Solving Challenge Yourself The total cost of a model car and a model plane is $9. The total cost of 3 model cars and 2 model planes is $22. Find the cost of α) a model car β) a model plane

Extend Your Thinking ◉ David is 5 times older than his sister Maggy. In 2 years from now,he will be 3 times older. In 4 years from now, he will be only twice older. When will they be the same age? ◉ The area of a rectangular garden is 48 square meters.

The length of each side is a whole number. What is the least perimeter the garden could have? ◉ An electrician’s hourly wage is 5 times that of his helper’s. They were paid a total of $135 for a job on which the electrician worked 8 hours and the helper worked 5 hours. Find the hourly wage of the helper.


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TANGRAM ANIMALS (puzzle) Use tangrams to make other animals. Be sure to use all the pieces for each design. Challenge other teams to solve the puzzles.

◉ There were 36 heads and 104 legs in a group of riders and horses. How many riders and horses were in the group? ◉ A clock has marks indicating 5-minute intervals without numbers. It’s reflection in the mirror reads 5:20. What is the real time? Some of the games, projects, investigations, designs, and creations included in “Mathematics A Thematic Approach book 3 “are mentioned below: DESIGN A SPACE STATION Living in outer space may seem like science fiction to most of us, but it is just another day at work for the astronauts orbiting space station. Design your own space station for a crew of 4 astronauts GAME: DOES IT ADD TO 3? Players: 2 teams of 4 players each Materials: 2 beanbags, masking tape fraction cards:

½ ⅔ ¾ ⁴⁄₅ ⁵⁄₆ ⁷⁄₆ ⅞ ⁸⁄₉ ⁹⁄₁₀ Object The object of the game is to add team scores to get a total as close to 3 as possible SOLVE THE RIDDLE Can you solve this riddle? What do you get if you mix of chick, ⅔ of a cat, and ½ of a goat? Answer: Chicago Can you make your own critter riddle? Try to make 3 riddles!

GEOMETRY IN OUR WORLD - Investigating (Extended Research) When we become sensitive to nature ex. sea shells, spider-webs, honeycombs, stars, architecture, sculpture, art and interesting designs, we begin to see that geometric forms and structure permeate the universe and that man was immersed in a geometrical setting from the beginning. It remains for him to notice it to appreciate it, to abstract ideas from it and to use it. Choose two examples from each aspect of Geometry to write about. Refer to the following: ◉ Its relationship to Geometry ◉ The nature of its shape (what it looks like to the naked eye) ◉ Its structure (what it’s composed of) ◉ The arrangement of its patterns ◉ Known theorems of its construction ◉ Other related information. ◉ Illustrate your work using color. ◉ Summarize in your own words: “How can we develop an appreciation of geometry through the qualities of art , sculpture, architecture, nature, astronomy/astrology, designs and patterns?” MAKE A QUILT (Designing-Creating) African Americans have been making quilts since the late eighteenth century. Many quilts like the one shown are based on African designs. Draw a pattern and enlarge it so that you could use it to make a quilt

³⁄₅

RAIN GAUGE (Creating) Rain gauges are used to measure the amount of rainfall in a given period. Make your own rain gauge. ■


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What Makes Us Human? by Kathleen Jasonides, Janet Karvouniaris and Amalia Zavacopoulou, Academy Faculty

hat makes us human? Is it our creativity, our intelligence, our dreams? Or is it our ability to directly influence and shape our future? Focusing on this essential question, the Honors Humanities course encourages students to exercise their critical thinking skills as they tackle complex ideas through an interdisciplinary approach. Emphasis is placed on independent learning tasks, innovative assignments and creative use of 21st century technology. As this instructional model has much in common with the innovative web-facilitated i2Flex design, it comes as no surprise that Honors Humanities is one of the first i2Flex courses being offered at ACS Athens. A “modern classic,� the Honors Humanities pro-

gram was created 40 years ago as an innovative, interdisciplinary, team-taught course that examines essential questions through literature, visual and performing arts, philosophy and history. From the beginning, Humanities field study trips in Greece and Europe have encouraged students to become independent learners, while also developing their critical thinking skills and cultural awareness. Visiting the museums and monuments, experiencing the artifacts up close and exploring the masterpieces studied in class, these experiences provide students with opportunities to think, imagine, conceptualize and create. Humanities students are guided by their teachers to develop the tools to envisage the future through the study of human civili-


21 Current page Top: Crossing the threshold into the Byzantine world of Osios Loukas. Bottom: i2Flex in action: independent, internetbased flexible time in the Computer Lab.

zation; the tools to build the future as “Architects of their own Learning.” From its inception the ACS Athens Honors Humanities program has developed and adapted without sacrificing the four attributes which made the prototype unique. Above all, it offers a student-centered, authentic,

a studentcentered, authentic, interdisciplinary and flexible educational experience

interdisciplinary and flexible educational experience to ACS Athens students. These attributes have contributed to a smooth transition in the journey from a traditional face-to-face course to the i2 Flex model. The diagram below shows how the integrity of the core attributes have been enhanced by the i2 Flex model.

Traditional Face to Face Humanities course

The i2Flex model

Student Centered – Students find their own way Independent investigation in flex-time gives students into the course. Assessment is diverse to address some control over time, place, pace and mode of learning. a variety of individual learning styles and each student brings a unique approach to the field study component. Authentic –The Honors Humanities course is an i2Flex is another authentic ACS innovation geared towards original ACS Athens course, which was designed improving teaching and learning. specifically for our international student body. Interdisciplinary –The team-taught and com- The i2Flex model opens up a wider range of multimedia pletely integrated interdisciplinary approach devel- resources across the disciplines and develops high-order ops high-order critical thinking skills. critical thinking in the online environment. Flexible – The Humanities program has not only evolved to meet the needs of 21st century learners, but also offers opportunities for greater personalization of the learning experiences.

Opposite page: The Roman Agora, bathed in early morning golden light, is the first stop before entering the Precinct of Apollo at Delphi.

The i2 Flex model provides a framework for continuous improvement of teaching and learning which includes an ongoing process of reflection and revision of the web-based flextime modules.


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Significant benchmarks on the journey toward the i2Flex model were the development of two on-line courses with field study components in Europe: “Classical Humanism in the Italian Renaissance” and “Classicism and Romanticism in French Art and Thought.” Another milestone will be the inauguration in February of a new on-line course, “Reason and Faith: Classical Humanism and Byzantine Spirituality.” This course aims to bring students from Greece and abroad together, first digitally through online activities, discussion forums and independent research, then in person through an extensive field-study trip within Greece, where students will visit sites of cultural and historical importance. At each stage of the journey, the goal has been to create and enhance courses that challenge students academically while utilizing the best existing resources and taking advantage of new technology. The i2Flex approach provides stu-

dents with the flexibility, skills and tools to tailor their future according to their needs, interests and skills. In the new i2Flex paradigm, Honors Humanities is becoming a “modern digital classic.” So, what is it that makes us human? Perhaps it’s our ability to imagine the possibilities of a better future and gain knowledge and skills to adapt to the unknown. Models like i2Flex enable teachers and students at ACS Athens to do just that. ■

Current page: Humanities students take a break after their first day of field study at the lower site of Delphi.