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Icon for: Dr. Jason Silverman


Drexel University School of Ed

EnCoMPASS - Emerging Communities for Mathematical Practices and Assessment

NSF Awards: 1222355

2015 (see original presentation & discussion)

Grades K-6, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12

Through an innovative professional development model, the EnCoMPASS project aims to cultivate a community of teachers by providing online resources and virtual spaces to foster teacher discussion around teacher noticing, formative assessment and productive feedback. In particular, this project seeks to develop an enhanced online environment designed to support teachers’ to closely examine their own and other teachers’ student work on open-middle problems as a means of supporting the community to embody norms and practices that are inherent to productive disposition and high leverage practices for mathematics education. In this video presentation, we discuss both the process and product of the community-supported development of the software with a particular focus on how the software focuses on the teacher practice of Professional Noticing: attending to students work, interpreting student understandings and deciding how to respond (Jacobs, Lamb, & Philipp, 2010). In addition, we discuss how the online nature of community cultivation leads to affordances and constraints with regards to software development and teacher learning.


Jacobs, V. R., Lamb, L. L., & Philipp, R. A. (2010). Professional noticing of children’s mathematical thinking. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 169-202.

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Discussion from the 2015 Teaching & Learning Video Showcase (12 posts)
  • Icon for: Amie Patchen

    Amie Patchen

    May 11, 2015 | 10:53 a.m.

    Interesting project, I like the idea of collaborative reflection on teacher work. I have two question about the project. The first is logistical— do the students complete the math assignments digitally, or is there a way for teachers to upload paper or handwritten assignments? Second, is the teacher discussion primarily through comments or is there a discussion forum? I’d be curious to hear some of the topics teachers discuss on the forum, if you can share them?

  • Jason Silverman

    May 13, 2015 | 09:57 p.m.

    Hi, Amie. Great questions. With regards to student submissions, they are all electronic, however there are options to upload scanned or photos of student work. The student-teacher interaction takes place via email or online using the Problems of the Week environment. We are exploring additional collaborative opportunities for teachers — including discussions — but this iteration is focused on sharing the teachers work and discussions and conversations took place outside in a variety of mediums (most recently, google hangouts).

  • Icon for: Beth Sanzenbacher

    Beth Sanzenbacher

    Middle Science Instructional Leader
    May 12, 2015 | 12:36 a.m.

    Meaningful and useful teacher professional development is difficult to create and it is great to see a project tackle that. In this video there are several photos of teachers in a space together using the software. I am wondering if you have done any research or have any thoughts on the importance of real-world contact with digitally-based PD. Do you think it is essential to begin use of the software or is it necessary at certain points throughout the year to keep project momentum? Or is real-world contact even necessary? Could this be PD be only digital?

  • Icon for: Dr. Jason Silverman

    Dr. Jason Silverman

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor; Director of Mathematics Learning and Teaching
    May 13, 2015 | 10:58 p.m.

    While we don’t have a specific answer to this question, we are actually exploring that question. Specifically, based on our prior work, we do have conjectures about online community cultivation. Primarily, we have found that leaders are important for the cultivation and sustainability of online community and, while it may be possible to cultivate leaders online, our primary successes have been developing leaders onsite. However, as the project has progressed, we have begun to (a) create hybrid environments where leaders can continue activity and (b) use the leaders to “seed” the wholly online community cultivation activities. We are beginning (b) this summer and should have preliminary data by the fall.

  • Icon for: Tammy Pirmann

    Tammy Pirmann

    K-12 Coordinator
    May 12, 2015 | 02:09 p.m.

    The Math Forum is a well respected resource for math teachers, did you pull a subset of math forum users to create the enCompass PD group?

  • Icon for: Dr. Jason Silverman

    Dr. Jason Silverman

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor; Director of Mathematics Learning and Teaching
    May 13, 2015 | 11:00 p.m.

    Our participants were drawn from a wide array of backgrounds and connections — some with previous connections to the Math Forum, others with more broad connections to other, more amorphous online math communities, and others that responded to our solicitation for participants online and at NCTM. We are currently exploring differences between these groups.

  • Icon for: David Carraher

    David Carraher

    Senior Scientist
    May 14, 2015 | 10:13 a.m.

    Hi Jason,
    Nice presentation. I’d love to learn more about how teachers interact. Are your activities associated with online courses or with district professional development? Perhaps this information is on Math Forum. I’ll take a look.


  • Icon for: Dr. Jason Silverman

    Dr. Jason Silverman

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor; Director of Mathematics Learning and Teaching
    May 15, 2015 | 10:20 a.m.

    Hi, David.

    We’ve had a number of different settings that they interact — primarily online courses (for credit) and free non-credit workshops offered by the Math Forum. Each has provided different affordances and constraints. We are also in the process of coordinating PD with a few districts to start next year. Glad to talk more about any of these…

    - Jason

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    May 14, 2015 | 12:37 p.m.

    Hi Jason and Wes, Very clear and informative video. You write that some teachers use this individually and some collaboratively. Is it being used by school or professional development programs, or mostly by individuals or groups of teachers who come to this on their own? If the latter, what motivates them to get started – for example to download their students work? How do you recruit? I’d love to hear more.
    Hope “EnCoMPASS” is not case sensitive (just joking :)
    Did you ever think of using a video- discussion platform such as this one? If so, let me know!

  • Icon for: Dr. Jason Silverman

    Dr. Jason Silverman

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor; Director of Mathematics Learning and Teaching
    May 15, 2015 | 10:32 a.m.

    Hi, Joni. Aw would be expected, we have much lower persistence with individuals or groups of teachers — for obvious reasons we are able to get at least 10-14 weeks of persistence with students who participate as part of an online (for-credit) course. We have two approaches towards motivation and recruitment: First, based on previous work, we seek to leverage “high achievers” and our students as seeds for broader community engagement and cultivation – these folks are able to develop more personal relationships with participants and this seems to support (continued) engagement and persistence. Second, part of our design is to work closely with teachers to design and re-design the environment to not only serve our intended purposes (specific professional development, teacher learning, and community cultivation), but to be recognized by the participants as meaningful activity. This is not trivial and we have found subtle adjustments — like language and introductory “tone” can make a huge difference.

    On another note, I think this video discussion platform is quite well done and do have some thoughts about how it might fit a need we have in some of our online work. I’d love to touch base with you offline of that’s ok.

  • Icon for: Michelle Wilkerson-Jerde

    Michelle Wilkerson-Jerde

    May 15, 2015 | 10:21 a.m.

    I love this project and the centering of student work as the focus of PD. Given the emphasis on computational tools and computer-mediated student work, I wonder: Is any of the student work that teachers are engaging with heavily technology mediated in ways that might broaden their perspectives of how mathematics can be done and learnt? For example, do any work samples illustrate how students might be making sense of or solving problems using technology-mediated tools like dynamic geometry or CAS?

  • Icon for: Dr. Jason Silverman

    Dr. Jason Silverman

    Lead Presenter
    Associate Professor; Director of Mathematics Learning and Teaching
    May 15, 2015 | 10:34 a.m.

    At this point, no. But we are actively exploring a new project that would do exactly that – bring a dynamic geometry environment together with EnCoMPASS to scaffold meaningful talk, engagement, and feedback for students and teachers. If you’re interested, perhaps we should talk .

  • Further posting is closed as the event has ended.