Mathematics and Mentoring

From L to R: Leal Rivanis (PSU), Jason Silverman and Ellen Clay (The Math Forum at Drexel), and Barbara Boschmans (PSU)

Plymouth State University was chosen two years ago to be a test site for the National Science Foundation’s Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Project. The project centers on the development and testing of online teacher education modules that form the Math Forum’s Virtual Fieldwork Sequence. The goal of the project is to capitalize on the accessibility of the online environment and the unique assets of the Math Forum to provide easy-to-integrate components that will strengthen the preparation of mathematics teachers through:

  • increased work experience with K-12 students,
  • enhanced pedagogical content knowledge, and
  • cultivating a productive disposition for mathematics.

Dr. Boschmans, mathematics department chair and associate professor, and Leal Rivanis, graduate fellow and MEd in Mathematics Education candidate, completed an online training program to assist PSU undergraduate childhood studies students with mentoring elementary school students from across the United States and Canada. PSU’s undergraduate students work through three rigorous online modules to prepare for the experience of mentoring the elementary school students.

Dr. Boschmans and Leal explained, “This is a very valuable tool for assessing students’ mathematical knowledge.” In March 2009, the pair led a roundtable discussion at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education’s 20th International Conference in Charleston, SC. Their paper Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Experience with The Math Forum’s Virtual Fieldwork Sequence in a Mathematics Methods Course was also accepted for publication in the conference proceedings.


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