Tuesday, May 1, 2012

GOOD, Many Eyes, and Reflection

I spent some time checking out both GOOD Labs and Many Eyes this afternoon. While GOOD Labs is incredibly easy to use, it obviously is just a rough tool. I tried using it for it's pie graphing feature, but as a mathematics teacher I wouldn't really be able to use it much in class due to it's lack of mathematical techniques in developing the chart. However, I do think this site would be helpful when making venn diagrams or when making a presentation where you just need to show the relationship between two categories of data. Many Eyes is definitely a tool I could see myself using in the classroom. I love how there are so many tools on the site to use to display data and all of the different graphing options the site has. I look forward to playing with it more in the future. Overall, I think 14 Things to Tame introduced me to some sites and tools that I will implement in my classroom, and some that I probably will not. In particular, I now use RSS Feed (Google Reader) almost daily, and have used Glogster and Creative Commons in my classroom. I also plan to use both Screencasting and Voice Thread next year as a tool. More importantly, I think participating in 14 Things to Tame has inspired me to be more adventerous in my teaching. I think this program has served as a catalyst for change. Our students do not respond well to tedious lessons taught in the same format daily. I think these tools will help me to liven up my classes and result in more engagement from my students. I look forward to continuing to play with these resources when time becomes more plentiful and using them to help me be a more effective teacher. Thanks Sara!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Prezi

Prezi looks like a cool tool to use as an alternative to Power Point, but it seems to have many more capabilities. I use Power Points in both my PreAlgebra and Calculus classes to present new material on occasion. What I like about Prezi is that like my Power Points, once you develop a Prezi, you can put it into your toolbox as a teacher and use it again in the future making modifications as needed. Another thing I really like about it is how you can easily pull together multiple sources from the web or your computer into one presentation. One reason I don't see myself implementing this into my classroom this year is because I just don't have enough time to play with the tool. However, I could see it being very useful in the future and once I get a little more time to sit down and play with it. I also could see myself asking students to use this tool to present material in the classroom. Often times to see how students understand the material, I have them teach it to the class. This may be a good tool to introduce them to which will make their presentations more interactive and exciting.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Voice Thread

I very much enjoyed learning about VoiceThread. It was easy to use, and I think it would be an effective way for students to interact with each other, their teacher, and other students outside of the classroom. I could see this tool being very useful for many different classes, but I did not really find its applications in mathematics incredibly helpful. The examples on the website were mediocre.

After considering how I could use this tool in my class, I thought that it might be an effective way to test students knowledge of the sequential nature of certain mathematical processes. For example, when my Calculus I and II students graph a polynomial without a calculator there is a series of steps (at least 6) which they must follow. I could post a problem and require students to post different steps to the problem to develop a solution. This would require them to understand the material well enough to explain it to their peers and also force them to join the problems at different steps in the process.

While I do find many of the other tools of 14 Things to Tame more useful for my class, it is possible that I may use this one in my classes as well.

Check out the sample VoiceThread above, and explore some of the VoiceThread in Education examples
Sign up for a VoiceThread account
Add at least two comments to the VoiceThread I created, one of which must be an audio or video comment.
Write a blog post about your experience using VoiceThread, and how you might use it with students.

Creative Commons

As a math teacher, I never really considered copyright infringement (is that even what it's called?) as a problem. Most of my classes integrate technology through iPad applications for practice and as a resource for me to show the students new processes and skills. However, I do sometimes make PowerPoint presentations to present material to my classes, and I use pictures that I stumble upon online. I never really considered the fact that the way I was going about this may not be entirely legal. However, looking through creativecommons.org and at the blog you shared on 14 Things to Tame, I think I have a few resources to pull from for my presentations.

I also have my Mathematics in Athletics students create presentations on different sports involving statistics, physics, and other mechanics. It would be interesting for me to share the information I learned with them about citing the material and the pictures they choose for their presentations. It never really occurred to me before that the pictures on their cover pages or in their presentations belong to someone else. I think introducing them to this site will be helpful for the students and will be a useful tool for them to have at their finger tips as the move on to college next year.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thing 10 - Glogster

Glogster seems like a pretty straight forward and easy to use tool. While it is not a tool that I think I will use often to teach, I think it is something that I may have my students use to present information on a topic they are studying. Specifically in my Mathematics In Athletics site, I think it is a great way for them to bring together videos of the sport they are researching, links to specific statistics of that sport, and display graphs and data for a presentation to the class. Glogster also may be effective in teaching my PreAlgebra students a new topic. I could include a Khan Academy video, and links to helpful websites on the Glog. It would be a good point of reference to ground my students in unit and I could link practice problems and quizzes to the Glog.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thing Link



After watching the short video on 14 Things to Tame, using Thing-Link is straight forward. I had no problem editing your picture and adding it to my blog after viewing the tutorial.

I think Thing-Link is a really cool tool to use as a history teacher when trying to talk to a piece or event in history. I'm not quite sure how I would use it as a mathematics teacher besides maybe tagging a picture with different websites where students can play math games for practice. I look forward to looking for ways to use this tool in my class or for my students

Friday, February 24, 2012

Screencasting

So I have always wondered how our librarian came up with her presentations with her voice in the back round showing exactly what she was doing on the computer screen.  I thought it was cool, but wasn't sure if I would ever have a use for it. After reading our current "assignment" I struggled to think of how I could use screen casting for my classes or as a teacher. 

However, after thinking for a bit, I realized how much I struggled to explain my students homework assignment for tonight.  They are to complete a practice on the Khan Academy website.  So I created the following screen cast.

video

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Google

When I was in high school and college, I often used google to search for research, interesting web sites, and clues to help me with an assignment.  Since I have become a teacher, I have found myself exploring the site a little more. 

During Winterim 2 years ago, I explored Picassa as a way to share the pictures we were taking of students with their families.  We also started a blog so that the kids could upload their journal entries and parents could track where we needed to be.

I also use Google in other capacities now.  For the classroom, I use it to search for Power Points, PDFs, or Microsoft Word files using the advanced search feature at the bottom of the page.  A few weeks ago, I also discovered the conversion application which I used yesterday in my Math in Athletics class to convert kilometers to miles. 

For my personal life, I also used Google Docs to track my wedding list so that it was accessible to both my husband and myself.  It allowed us to quickly update addresses, track responses and food choices, and keep track of gifts making Thank You notes much easier to write.  I also use Google to blog as I am interested in baking and as of late I use the RSS Feed on Google to track both educational and other blogs and websites that interest me for updates.

Some things that I plan to dabble with in the classroom and to prepare for my classes after looking into the site a little deeper today are the graphing feature and using the many different techniques presented to refine my searches.  The graphing feature looks to be very useful when trying to project a graph to my classes (much nicer than the Texas Instrument graphs, and it has color!), and when trying to print out graphs for activities.  Also, refining my searches will help when looking for pictures for my Power Points, and research for my Mathematics in Athletics class.  It will also help me to make sure I am getting reliable information in my searches and it will save me time in weeding out the unreliable sites.

I look forward to continuing to explore all Google has to offer, and still plan to check out the site daily to see how they dress up their logo.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Evernote

I downloaded Evernote on my iPad when we had a workshop in the beginning of this school year, but I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I never had a chance to actually explore it.  So Task 6 from 14 Things to Tame had me revisiting the app.  I actually explored it a bit on my computer.

While I'm not sure how helpful this app will be for my students given that I teach math, they definitely would benefit from this app in other classes.  Evernote seems like it would be very beneficial in writing a research paper, organizing ideas, in English class, or when working on research for a project.

Personally, I can see myself actually using this website and the app on my iPad now that I have explored it a little bit.  My first thought was naturally organizing all of my recipes (not so much useful in the classroom).  But as I began to play with the website, I found it particularly helpful in organizing my PDF's that I use for homework assignments and keeping track of different websites I use in class.  While I have binders full of these assignments and Powerpoints, it will be much easier for me to organize them on Evernote and to access them from any computer.  I look forward to Sara teaching me how to do this!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Wikis

The only experience I have with wiki's is when we used them my first year at Forman to create our class webpages.  Honestly, I was not thrilled with my experience, as I found them difficult to format and I knew there was a better way of updating my classes as to the homework assignments, syllabus, and other important documents.  Thus, Whipple Hill was born.

However, I think wikis may be useful in other capacities.  It seemed to work well for winterim, when you have multiple people trying to post to one site or share ideas.  I'm sure it would be effective for a family trying to share information and/or pictures if they lived a distance away.  In terms of education, I think a wiki would be effective for certain projects or units taught in class.  While, I don't see myself using a wiki in the near future for my mathematics classes, I do see how it could be effective in terms of the book clubs over March Break.  It would be a great way for a group to discuss a book in an open forum. 

Diigo

This Diigo site seems to be pretty cool, but I'll need some more time to explore it.  To me, it seems to be a way of bookmarking interesting websites and articles so that not only you can refer to them later, but also your colleagues, friends, and other "followers."  As I explore the site deeper, I think the "lists" portion of the page will be most helpful in organizing all of the articles and/or websites I collect. 

I always seem to be able to find good articles, videos, and/or websites, but can never seem to track them down again later to share with the people that I think might be interested.  So the iPad app seems like a good option and I would like to explore that eventually (during my free time possibly?). 

Overall, I think this site would be a great resource for an educator to share information with both their colleagues and students rather than trying to find the time to print articles and crossing your fingers that the article somehow finds its way to its anticipated destination. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

RSS Feed

So my latest task was to create an RSS Feed.  Of course when trying to complete this task, I had no idea what RSS stood for (now I know Really Simple Syndication) or what the heck it meant.  So after struggling over it for about 5 priceless minutes of my day, I made the trek to the library to get some help from our trusty librarian (thanks Sara!).  She helped me to set up a Google Reader account and showed me how to subscribe to my colleagues blogs, other educational blogs, and blogs that interest me.

I think this application (is this what it's called?) will be very useful.  I made different folders so that I can check in on my teacher blogs when I'm want to find out what's going on in the education front or feeling so inclined to get new ideas for the classroom.  When I'm trying to relax or wind down I look at the blogs I track for enjoyment.  I really like how Google Reader makes it so easy to stay updated and on top of my game in all areas that I'm interested in.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Khan Academy... enhancing learning outside the classroom...

This is a great video about how Khan Academy creates an open learning atmosphere and allows students, and people everywhere to become more educated in a vast array of areas.  While we specifically use this program in our mathematics department, this video speaks to how the videos on Khan can enhance learning in multiple disciplines and inspire students to nurture their passions and learn, even outside of the traditional classroom.