The General Idea

My whole reason to go to Morocco is to understand more about a new way of teaching mathematics in their middle schools. This is, generally speaking, what it is and what I’ll be doing.

Al Akhawayn University

The Center of IT Innovation for Human Development (CITI) at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane has developed and implemented a new website to explore how technology can help the development of teaching middle school students Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Life and Earth Sciences. It contains great features like lesson plans for teachers and interactive lessons, worksheets and practice tests for students. You can check it out at http://citi.aui.ma though it is, of course, in Arabic.

I am interested in exploring how this software has impacted girls in the mathematics classroom. It is my aim to study the implementation and content of this new technology in the classroom and its effect, if any, on the performance and attitude of girls.

In the Moroccan education system, after successful completion of the first nine years of schooling from the age of six to 15, students choose one of two tracks: either the general track, which is geared toward classes in the humanities or the technical track, which prepares students in the fields of engineering, economics and mathematics. Clearly, the development of a strong mathematics curriculum at the middle school level will benefit all students, not just girls, before this crossroad.

CITI conducts research in the classroom by comparing students’ grades in an experimental group (where the software is used) to a control group. CITI has been kind enough to let me know I can use their data to gather data on girls’ performance. In order to understand how the technology has impacted the attitude of girls toward mathematics, I will use surveys and more informal group discussions.

Thats the general idea, anyway. I’m still working on the details.

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About Laura McAdams

Laura McAdams is a Master’s student at University of Pennsylvania studying International Educational Development. Her experience in the MENA region includes 15 months as a Fulbright student researcher to Fez and Ifrane, Morocco in 2010 and 2011. Her project was interested in understanding the disconnect between the policies of technology usage in education and the reality of how these policies unfold in the classroom. Summer 2012 she returned to the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco to work with a women’s weaving cooperative. She is excited to learn more about other countries in the MENA region and issues involving education policy and reform, technology usage in curriculums and gender equality in education. One of Laura’s lifelong goals is to one day be able to sit down and leisurely read a newspaper in Arabic.
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