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Summer Institute 2003

The first CPTM summer institute was conducted at the University of Georgia from June 2 to June 6, 2003. The institute focused on middle school teachers’ knowledge of middle school geometry. The primary working environment was the dynamic geometry software Geometer’s Sketchpad. Spreadsheets, graphing software, and the Fetch Internet utility were some of the additional technology components. For the institute syllabus and details on the course of which the institute was a part, see http://www.intermath-uga.gatech.edu/tweb/CPTM1/classdocs/cptm1_syllabus.htm

The institute was conducted by CPTM faculty and staff and involved two groups of participants: teachers and teacher educators. Of the 23 teachers participating in the institute, 18 came from the three CPTM partner districts Gwinnett County, Morgan County, and Social Circle City. The other 5 teachers joined the institute as part of their graduate programs. Overall, 13 teachers had either a graduate degree or were currently involved in graduate studies. Two of the teachers had made a career change, coming to education from other professions. Seven teachers were novices (less than 3 years experience), and four teachers were veteran teachers (more than 10 years experience). Of the 11 teacher educators (mathematicians and mathematics educators) participating in the institute, 5 came from research universities, 2 from junior colleges, and 4 from state universities. All but one teacher educator were at institutions that are part of the University System of Georgia. Three of the teacher educators had public school teaching experience.

Each day of the institute was divided into two parts. In the morning, all participants—teachers, teacher educators, faculty, and graduate students—assembled in the same room. Teachers and teacher educators were seated in groups of six, with four teachers and two teacher educators at each table. Each table was equipped with six Apple iBooks. James W. Wilson (CPTM Co-PI) was the instructor; other faculty and graduate students sat or stood at the sides and back of the room, taking notes and providing support as needed. All sessions were videotaped with two cameras, one fixed at the front and one roaming the room.

In the afternoon, the teachers and the teacher educators met in different rooms. The teachers stayed in the same classroom as before, performing extended explorations of technology and solving mathematical problems under the direction of James Wilson, who was assisted by graduate students. The teacher educators met in another room, where they were involved in various activities under the direction of Patricia Wilson (CPTM PI): whole- and small-group discussions, mathematical preparation for the next day, and devising prompts for the teachers’ reflections. Clint McCrory, from the University of Georgia department of mathematics led discussions of the mathematics considered each day and to be treated the next day. James Wilson came into the room at the end of each day so that the teacher educators could ask about what he had done in the morning class and what he planned to do next.

For the teachers, the one-week institute covered about two thirds of a graduate class (3 credits) or staff development class (5 staff development units [SDUs]). To receive credit, the teachers had to complete the class during Fall 2003 as they finished their investigations and lesson plans. Grades or SDU credits were awarded upon completion of all assignments. For the teacher educators, there were no further activities.