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VITAL Project Has Potential to Help Teach Math to Young Children

A $2.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation may help TC students in the early childhood program acquire best practices for teaching math to pre-school children.  The Video Interactions for Teaching and Learning (VITAL) project will enable this by allowing students to incorporate their observational analyses of videotaped interviews and interactions with young children into their course papers.  "They write a paper and snip those pieces of video into the paper, and then I watch what they really did," professor of psychology and education Herbert Ginsburg said. "I might comment, 'That's pretty good--and here's another interpretation.'"  He further added, "It puts students of early childhood education really closely in touch with the kids."

VITAL will be developed in collaboration with The Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL) as a way to help teachers look at their early childhood students' individual learning needs, particularly in mathematics.   Professor Frank Moretti is director of the Center and principal investigator of the project.  "The focus is on the one child. The goal is to have teachers become more aware that children already have natural creative ways of solving mathematical problems," he commented. The NSF funds will help to enhance VITAL technology and to pilot it in universities across the county.

The article, entitled "$2.3 Million Grant to Help TC Students Technologically Teach Early Math," appeared in the November 5 edition of the Columbia Specatator.

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