The Metamedia Mathematics Program
Graduate School of Education
George Mason University
Fairfax Virginia 22030
The Program has two components -- Academic Offerings and Research Activities.
In the Academic Offerings component, there are degree offerings at the Ph.D. and M.Ed. Levels in Mathematics (and Science) Educational Leadership. The current focus of the programs in mathematics are in preparing leaders in three areas:
(1) curriculum development, specifically the process of creating, developing and using physical manipulatives to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics (and science) for students in schools, grades k-12; and
(2) technology development, specifically the process of creating, developing and using technology products, particularly virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds, to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics (and science) for students in schools, grades k-12; and
(3) professional development, specifically the process of creating, developing and implementing courses and programs for the professional development of teachers of mathematics in schools particularly those programs required to update
(i) knowledge and skills in emerging national, state and local standards;
(ii) mathematics content;
(iii) the use of physical manipulatives; and
(iv) the use of technology -- virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds -- for instruction.
In the Research Activities component, faculty and students work together on two questions:
(1) How does one develop and disseminate curriculum materials -- specifically, physical manipulatives, print support materials, virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds -- for teachers and students that will have an important impact on the teaching and learning of school based mathematics?
(2) How does one create and implement professional development programs that provide meaningful, long term growth experiences for teachers and positive results in improving the teaching and learning of school based mathematics using physical manipulatives, virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds?
To answer question 1, there is considerable activity in the program engaging faculty and students in all aspects of the research and development necessary for the invention, creation, development and dissemination of physical manipulatives, virtual manipulatives, virtual worlds and the relevant print materials for the teaching of school based mathematics. Currently, the major research is on the Dr. Super's Virtual Math Manipulatives Project. This effort creates and develops curriculum materials and technology based products (virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds) for various, new physical manipulatives: Triango, Dr. Super's Triangles, Super Math, Trigram, Factor Blocks, Geoshapes, and GeoJunior. These new manipulatives, as well as their virtual versions, many of which are distributed by major publishers, are the inventions of Dr. Behrouz Aghevli (a.k.a Dr. Super) and were co-developed with Dr. Mark Spikell. Students working with these Metamedia Mathematics Program faculty members have first hand mentoring from two recognized authorities on the invention, creation and use of manipulatives and virtual manipulatives in the teaching of school based mathematics. Work on virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds is in collaboration with colleagues in the School of Information Technology and Engineering and students may have opportunities to work with others in that School.
But this is not the only project. Research efforts may be directed toward developing and commercializing real manipulatives or virtual manipulatives and support materials that are not the inventions or co-developed products of faculty in the program. There are over 20 important physical math manipulatives widely used in schools to teach mathematics such as Attribute Blocks, Tangrams, Pattern Blocks, Cuisenaire Rods, Base Ten Blocks, Linking Cubes, Algebra Lab Gear, etc. Students may work on the development and dissemination of support materials for these manipulatives or their virtual versions.
To answer question 2, there is considerable activity in the program engaging faculty and students in all aspects of the research and development for creating, publishing and disseminating actual professional development programs (workshops, institutes, courses of study, etc.) that promote the various national (National Council Teachers of Mathematics, NCTM) and state (Virginia Standards of Learning, SOL) standards, the use of physical manipulatives, and the use of virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds. Faculty and students will collaborate on developing in-service programs to promote
(i) the core NCTM standards of Problem Solving, Communication, Reasoning and Connections,
(ii) the Virginia SOLs on Patterns, Functions and Algebra, Data Analysis, and Geometry, and
(iii) the use of physical manipulatives, virtual manipulatives and virtual worlds. And, selected students are provided an opportunity to do research an internships related to preparing specifically for roles as university or school based teachers of teachers.
Additional information about the master (M.Ed.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degree offerings will be found at: http://mason.gmu.edu/~mspikell/ACADEMIC.HTM
Additional information about the Dr. Super's Math Manipulatives Project will be found at: http://mason.gmu.edu/~mspikell/PRODUC10.HTM
Information about the Metamedia Mathematics Program's first on-line workshop using mathematics manipulatives will be found at http://neptune.galaxy.gmu.edu/~drsuper/
Interested persons should contact (preferably by email):
Dr. Mark A. Spikell, Professor
Coordinator, Ph.D. and M.Ed. Leadership Programs in Mathematics and Science Education Graduate School of Education
MS4B3 George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
phone: 703-993-2042 fax: 703-993-2013