New Math Labs Honor Retired Professors Ryoti, King

Photo of Don Ryoti and Amy King

A new mathematics education technology classroom at Eastern Kentucky University will further the University’s efforts to advance math education throughout the region.

The technology-rich mathematics lab – actually split between two rooms in the University’s Wallace Building – is designed to be used not only for on-campus classes but to be taken as a mobile unit to schools to assist with on-site professional development and EKU’s ongoing efforts to prepare high school and middle school students for college mathematics courses.

The two rooms in the Wallace Building, rooms 349 and 434, have been named for retired EKU mathematics professors Dr. Don Ryoti and Dr. Amy King, respectively. Faculty can employ mini-laptops with content specific software (one for each student) as well as handheld devices, smartboard, dual projection multimedia equipment that allows for the display of a computer on one screen and a document or DVD on another, and various manipulatives. 

“The intention is to be completely mobile,” said Dr. Cheryll Crowe, assistant professor and math education coordinator. “Anything we teach here, we can also take into the schools. The next phase of our mathematics transition initiative is to work with K-12 teachers on technology. We want to provide a model for what smart classrooms look like.”

Under the direction of Dr. Robert Thomas, members of the EKU mathematics faculty are working with dozens of school districts throughout the region to ultimately reduce the number of students who must enroll in developmental math courses at the college level. A transitional algebra course targets high school seniors, while a separate K-9 math transitions initiative is aimed at improving high school readiness.

The undergraduate and graduate students who attend classes in the EKU labs are K-12 math educators.

“With the new core standards, including an emphasis on math and technology, our students will be well prepared,” said Nancy Blue Williams, a lecturer who’s working on a grant made available by Dr. Bill Phillips, dean of EKU’s College of Education, to support the research, development and implementation of the transitions initiatives. “This classroom is what our students will see in future K-12 classrooms.”

Williams also emphasized that the enhanced technology allows students to learn mathematics more conceptually. “The students are engaged in technology and learning instead of watching someone work at the chalkboard.”

Both Foundation Professor Emeriti of Mathematics, Ryoti and King were central figures in mathematics education at EKU until their retirement. King taught at EKU from 1972 until 1998, Ryoti from 1977 to 2006.

Ryoti played a key role in the design and development of most of the curricula for the elementary, middle school and secondary mathematics teaching courses and programs at Eastern and served on numerous state committees related to mathematics and computer literacy.

King was recognized many times for classroom excellence, including the first award for Distinguished College or University Teaching of Mathematics, conferred by the Kentucky Section of the Mathematical Association of America.

Ryoti and King, each recipients of the MESA Award from the Kentucky Council of Teachers of Mathematics, continue to be actively involved with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Published on February 18, 2011

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