Friday, October 20, 2017

Teach 180: Dynamic & Crowdsourced Learning w/ Desmos (Day 33)

Today I put the finishing touches on my presentation for the Careers in Mathematics Conference that will be at Millersville University tomorrow.  (Even as I am blogging, I am making a few more changes to my presentation slides!)  I am hoping it goes well, but I always get nervous when it comes to presenting.  Although I had put the finishing touches on my presentation last night, I still did more work on it at school today.  A 50-minute session with time for reflection and hands-on learning on the part of the participants is very challenging.  I have a co-presenter with me, Bob Lochel, and I am very grateful that he will be there for back-up.  What's planned for the presentation?  Quite a bit.  Reflecting on the role or purpose of technology in math class.  Crowdsourcing some data to make some predictions with the help of desmos.  Letting participants see Desmos Activity Builder from a student and teacher perspective.  And finally, encouraging participants to take steps to incorporate desmos into their teaching.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Teach 180: The Dollar Store Tip (Day 32)

I have purchased large gridded chart paper from Staples in the past.  It's not cheap at $1 per page!  I use it from time to time, but sparingly because it is so expensive.  Yesterday a colleague and friend, Marilyn, said that she thought rolled wrapping paper might work, because it has the grid lines that we would need.  I said perhaps, but I would be concerned about the waxy-ness of the paper.  Would the marker rub off or smudge when writing on it?

If you use Sharpie markers, the answer is no.  Here you can see the graph she drew and the fact that it is on the backside of some colorful wrapping paper.  The roll of wrapping paper cost her $1 at the local dollar store. I am guessing the approximate cost for her to use this with her math students is 5 or 10 cents per page.  And the bonus?  She can still use it to wrap her presents when the unit on parent functions and transformations is done!

Teach 180: Sub Plans Thwarted (Day 31)

It was 11:50 AM and I had just finished putting together my sub plans for the next day.  It was a task that took two hours.  I had recorded a 30 minute screencast using screencast-o-matic and posted the video to my youtube channel.  The screencast was an introduction to normal distributions and using the table for a standard normal distribution.  This was not something I was going to expect my sub (a former history teacher) to be able to do.  My other classes had work to review concepts from previous classes.  Then, I saw the text shown at the right from our technology coordinator. 

Initially, I was upset.  Should I redo my plans and do something different tomorrow?  It was then that I remembered that I would be missing about 10 students in total due to a field trip.  For those students, the screencast would allow them to stay caught up.  Maybe it wasn't so bad that I did the screencast after all.

Note: I highly recommend screencast-o-matic for doing screencasting.  Screencast-o-matic is free for the 15 minute version.  If you want to make screencasts longer than 15 minutes and you want to be able to use the cool editing features (like splicing and annotating), it is worth it to pay the extra $30 per year fee.