Another dot in the blogosphere?

Emoji-covered broccoli

Posted on: November 16, 2019

I applaud the effort to try something different. I critique it for not being different enough to be pedagogically relevant and powerful.

Why use emojis? Possibly because “it’s the rage” among “kids these days”. That answer is not good enough because what is cool changes quickly and does not guarantee effectiveness.

Dig deeper than that and you might justify the move cognitively — it is a sly way of bringing in the symbolism of algebra in a less threatening manner. Ramping up is a valid strategy provided students are actually supposed to learn algebraic representation.

Trying to disguise the topic might be based on the assumption that it is too difficult, unpleasant, or seemingly irrelevant. The problem with the approach is replacing chocolate-covered broccoli with emoji-covered broccoli.

Relying on emoji-covered broccoli ensures that the medium changes while the method does not. If the method is to change, the teacher might consider introducing the relevance and authenticity of algebra instead.

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