In this issue, UnBoxed enters the realm of multimedia, allowing readers to peruse the journal while simultaneously viewing video and linking to websites, all with the use of your smartphones. To get started, simply download the free Microsoft Tag application on your phone. Then, wherever you see a “tag” or icon (like above), open the application and scan it with your phone’s camera. A website, video, or document will appear. The above tag takes you to the UnBoxed website, where you can access all our journal content, view videos from our UnBoxed Speaker Series, and learn more about upcoming events.
At UnBoxed we have avoided themed issues, preferring to hear students, educators, and other thinkers address a range of issues. However, in light of national debates about what math education looks like now and what it should look like in the future, we devote significant space in this issue to explorations of math curriculum and pedagogy: Ben Daley advocates a vision for math instruction; Dan Thoene describes his “judo” approach to math; Marc Shulman reflects on a construction project with middle school students; Kristin Komatsubara discusses ways to involve families in math; and Allison Cuttler considers the merits and challenges of writing in math class. In our first UnBoxed book review, Jean Kluver responds to Paul Lockhart’s A Mathematician’s Lament (2009). In our photo essay, we look at math-laden samples of student-designed “autobots”—autonomous robots that can fly, avoid obstacles, and accomplish complex tasks under water.
A second theme emerges in this issue, with several articles focused on student voice and engagement. Spencer Pforsich reports on an action research study, where he explored how students talked about race and ethnicity in an integrated school. David Price, from Learning Futures in the UK, shares reflections and findings on student engagement: what it is, where it may be found, and how it may be assessed. In our guest interview, Michael Horn, co-author of Disrupting Class, discusses recent developments in online schooling and implications for how we design learning environments. Sara Morgan muses about how middle school students come up with big ideas, and Janna Steffan describes how literature circles have affected the engagement of her third graders. In a broader look at teacher development, three teachers share journal excerpts from a summer adventure in Uganda, where they provided professional development and consultation, and learned much in the process.
As always, our UnBoxed cards offer quick, concrete glimpses of student and teacher work at High Tech High. They are intended as tools and bits of inspiration, to be posted and shared among colleagues and community members. Each card refers the reader to a web address where further information is available and includes a Microsoft tag linked to that address for immediate viewing.