This week, we were charged with the task of evaluating an OER (open education resource) and I chose the American Institute of Mathematics since I have been teaching Calculus for the first time this year! I wanted to check it out and see if there are any resources or lessons that could help me on my way to building my curriculum. I was slightly disappointed by what I found. To begin, the homepage is wordy and heavy texted. There are limited pictures and seems more like a mathematician’s website than a teacher resource (which is what I was hoping for)!
I did watch a pretty cool video about how mathematicians are working with strawberry farmers to create an optimal profit which could be used to supplement a lesson of sorts, but there weren’t really any teacher resources on the homepage.
I began checking out some of the other pages and links and although easy to navigate, there aren’t a lot of resources for middle years or high school students. There is a whole page dedicated to Workshops and a Problems List, however the problems are far above my students’ head as well as my own. It’s definitely a well-organized site but more for a higher level of education than what I currently teach, and as I moved on, I found what I was looking for: the Online Textbook Initiative!
Our Calculus textbook was brand new when I was in high school (8 years ago) and it is STILL being used. A new resource would be awesome for my students so I checked them out and was pleasantly surprised. There is an evaluation criteria and it even gives information about the textbook: exercises, solutions, etc. There is a plethora of textbooks to choose from for a variety of different courses and material and although I didn’t look at every one, they do seem to be of high-quality and focused on university course material. This is again, above my level of teaching but might be a good place to check out for my AP course next semester!
So although it is a high-quality website with a TON of resources, workshops, and problems, it is mainly a university website which is too bad because I was really excited to find some new resources for my students. I’m sure if I weed through some of it enough, I’ll be able to some examples, and problems for my students to use. But, I was disappointed in the text heavy layout of the website and pages as it makes it much more difficult to read and decipher. The language is definitely for those who understand mathematics and teach it at a much higher level than me. For high school or lower, it would not be very user friendly if you do not “get” the math language! I’m sure it would be a useful website for mathematicians, and university students, especially in terms of finding some free textbooks to use instead of paying the big bucks for them!