Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tool #9

Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

  1. I think it is important to tie the technology to the class objectives so that students see the technology as a tool for learning rather than as an end to itself. I think the technology objective should suport the content objective, just like the language objective suports the content objective.
  2. I think we always want to keep students accountable for what they're doing in class. One classroom teacher cannot monitor five stations and handle trouble shooting questions well. If students have to summarize what they've found or list the web sites that they visited teachers can quickly check to see that they were on task.  Also I think students are more likely to participate in station activities when they know what the final product with look like. 
  3. I really like the Interactive web site: I've used their Tessellation activity in my class before, but I didn't realize what a wide variety of math activities they have available. I also like the Infinity web site: It has a great list of interactive web sites for high school math. Many of the sites are from the Illumination series from NCTM. Their activities always include great follow up questions. I could see asking students to visit the sites and then answer the follow-up question in a Google Doc quiz. When I've done the tessellation activity in the past I asked a few students create tessellations on the active board. With the net books I could let each student create a tessellation and then save it as a screen shot.  
  4. I am really looking forward to being able to use iPad apps like Show Me, Screen Chomp, and Educreation's White Board Ap. Last year, some of my students created tutorial videos using flip cameras with paper and markers. We only have a limited supply of flip camera's for the school and students have a difficult time holding the camera at a good angle so I think the these iPad apps will make that process much smother. Students can create videos explaining how to do some of their assigned problems or they can watch a video created by another student. I would also like to use the calculation app, WolframAlpha. It's not a free app, but I think it's only $3.00. 
  5. I would also like to use the iPads as a way for students to explore YouTube videos on constructions. Constructions are difficult for students and I think it would be helpful for students to be able to pause the video or replay a step they didn't understand. I was hoping to use the iPads to let students log into the Holt web site that goes with our textbook, but much of what's available for students require Flash technology. I'll have to save those activities for the net books. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Tool #8

Classroom Devices

What I've learned abou the classroom devices:

  1. The devices will come with a charging cabinet. I hadn't realized this. I guess I assumed that I would be locking up the devices in my closet everyday. I much prefer the cabinet option. I think that will make classroom management of the devices easier. The cabinet should also make it easier to keep track of the charging cords. 
  2. I knew that the netbooks would use Wi-Fi to connect to the school network, but I had not thought that I would have to pug them into network at night for push updates. I'm glad this option exists. I don't want to spend 10 minutes of 1st period updating the software. 
  3. I knew that the iPads would come with a video and still camera, but I hadn't realized that netbooks would have web cams. I don't how I might use them in my classroom, but it is something to consider. 
Classroom Management:

For me, I think the most import concept when using these devices is to give students clear directions. Years ago we had a math computer lab with mac computers that the  Geometers' Sketchpad program. I remember taking students to the lab and asking them to follow along with my verbal directions. I was exhausted making sure that everyone was caught up and ready to go onto the next step. I'm also sure that the students who were following the directions were frustrated waiting for the students who weren't. Now I'm much more likely to hand students typed out directions so that they can work through the activity at their own pace. I'd much rather give them an idea of how to get started and what their finished product should demonstrate.

I also think that students need a clear set of explanations about how to use the technology; are they exploring or looking up specific information. They also need guidance on when they can use it, when they need to set it aside, and when they need to put it away. In most of my graduate school classes professors expected us to use our laptops. Some didn't mind if students were off task, but others had very clear expectations for how students should be using laptops in class. I like the idea from one of the web pages that suggested that students close the screen when they would stop for class discussion. 

Tool #7

Reaching Outside the Classroom

I would like to try a project with other geometry classes where we create a library of helpful web sites and geometry tutorial. I could start by asking my students from different classes to work together to find video resources that are on the web. Students could coordinate through an Edmodo group or use TodaysMeet. I like the idea of students evaluating other sources of information before trying to create their own videos.

Later students could work in groups to create their own videos. Groups work together to come up with a plan for to present, but each student could film their own video using a flip camera, the ShowMe app, or maybe one of the on-line photo/video options.

We could work with other classes in our school, our district, or even on line to create a set of tutorials that we could use for instruction or for test review. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Tool #6

Web Tools that Promote Discussion:

  • I set up an Edmodo account this summer. I am looking forward to using the program this school year. I was worried that students would not check into their accounts regularly unless several of their teachers were using the program, but students can set the program to send emails or text messages to notify them of activity. I had thought I would set up a teacher Facebook page for this year, but I like the security features of Edmodo better. 
  • Last week I went to a large GT training that used TodaysMeet as a backchannel. Instead of sharing out ideas by raising our hands we had discussions at our table and then one person would post our ideas to TodaysMeet. There were 300 people at the training. Without the technology of the web site only a very small percentage of the audience would have been able to participate. I think I could do something similar in my classroom. I set up a practice "room" today. This is a warm up example using vocabulary words. Setting up the room was extremely easy.  

  • I've also set up a teacher account with Poll Everywhere. Since I have a set of ActivExpressions I didn't think I would have a reason to use Poll Everywhere, but I think it would be a good option for the computer lab or another situation where I'm not in my own classroom.  In this example students have to respond to a warm up question about their previous assignment. 

Tool #5

Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

I created a video on making a tessellation using Screenflix. I didn't realize that I couldn't export the video. I can see using this tool to save an instructional video to a class wiki or my teacher web page.That way if students wanted to go through the instructions again, they could watch the video as many times as they needed to. I can also see asking students to make a video of images of vocabulary words they found on the internet.

This is a cartoon I made using MakeBeliefsComix. It's an old joke. Students could write their own comic strips to illustrate a definition or to answer a frequently asked question.

Finally, here is a picture of a word cloud that I made using Wordle. It's a list of geometry vocabulary words form the first chapter of our textbook. I can think of many ways to incorporate word clouds into my class. Student could match word clouds listing the properties of a geometric figure to the names of the figures.If we used Google Docs to create a class review for a test we could create a word cloud from the text of the review. It might give a slightly different picture of what students need to review than the text document.

Tool #4

Google Docs
I created a short "quiz" using Google Forms for the beginning of the school year. I aks students to tell me where they took algebra I and what they liked about the class. I aslo asked students to tell me how they prefer to work through difficult math problems: on their own, in a group, with a partner, etc. I like the idea of asking students to think about the way they prefer to learn, and I think I could use the data from the form to make decisions about how to set up my classes.

I also think that I could use a Google Doc to complete classwork on vocabulary or to create a class study guide for an up coming test. For a vocabulary assignment, instead of asking students to look up every word on a vocabulary list, the students could each type in two or three definitions to create one master list for the class. For a review assignment, groups of students to work to create a study guide for a different topic from the unit. Students would then have access to the entire study guide.

I haven't yet shared one of these forms with a colleague. I will probably wait until we get closer to the start of school to do so. I do like the idea of working with a Google Doc as a collaboration tool rather than sending endless emails with attachments back and forth.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tool #3

  1. For this assignment I looked at TeacherTube, SchoolTube, and YouTube for videos that I might use in class. I think YouTube is by far the easiest to use. I like the ability to browse categories in YouTube. SchoolTube does have a search by school option so that might be helpful.     
  2. I've included two videos from YouTube below. Adding a video clip in Blogger is incredibly easy. Copying the HTML code is not difficult. I've used that method to post video onto a WikiSpace page. The little "insert video" button on Blogger is even easier. 
  3. I had no idea that the first copyright laws only lasted for 14 years. When I posted the video for the Flatland trailer I thought that maybe I would buy a copy of the movie for my classroom. On the movie website though, they are very specific that the regular DVD is only for "personal home use". If you want a DVD to show in your classroom, you have to buy an educational copy which is much more expensive. It was a reminder to me that just because I can find a copy of something doesn't mean that I have the right to use it in my classroom. 
  4. I have a DropBox account. I've already used it to move a video from my teacher laptop to my iPad. When school starts in August I think I will create a new account  use that to move videos and photos on and off my classroom devices. 

This is a short demonstration of the formula for the area of a circle. It's only one and a half minutes long, but it's not an activity we could easily duplicate in class. I think the video could lead to a good class discussion.

This is the trailer for the movie 2007 Flatland based on the book by Edwin A. Abbott. It's only an introduction to the movie, but I think it would be a good introduction to discussions about two dimensional space.

Tool #2

  1. I set up a Diigo account to start storing my bookmarks. Since all of my bookmarks are teaching or math related I've made them public. I like the fact that that I can set up both public and private lists. I also like being able to access the bookmarks from any computer with any browser. I tried to subscribe to a blog using google reader, but I got an error message. I was able to add it to my Yahoo homepage though. 
  2. For me, I think it's more difficult to add comments to a web page then to participate in a face to face discussion with colleagues. It's similar to those situations where it might take you 30 seconds to walk down the hall to ask a question, but it will take you 10 minutes to compose an email to ask the same question. The advantage to on-line learning communities, however, is that we can have those discussions with colleagues outside our building, our district, or even the country. 
  3. There are two blogs which I think I will follow in the future. One created by a high school math teacher is are I like her examples of class projects she has tried and her running commentary about how well they worked in her classroom. I also found a blog on using the freeware Google Sketchup at It's a 3-D imaging software. I have no experience with it, but it looks like something I might want to try next spring. I'm hoping that reading the posts and comments on the blog will give me some ideas and warnings about how to best use it with students. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tool #1

Setting up the blog was easy. I liked being able to choose a background. I may grow tiered of the orange swirls, but I can always change that later. Setting up the voki was easy because Holly walked me through the steps.