ITEC083001-S14R: PowerPoint Pen

PowerPoint Pen
by Gregory Reese – Saturday, 15 March 2014, 3:02 PM

This is an example of how PowerPoint Pen might be used as a whole group activity in a high school algebra classroom.

The objective here would be for the students to be sitting in groups of 4 and every group have a bamboo pen at their table so they could use it to write on the big screen up on the  wall without leaving their seat.

Although it is useful for students to do individual work, practicing problems for themselves, it is very important that students be exposed to the logic, the tools and the tricks that are available to them to solve a problem. Of course, one way to get ideas for solving a problem is for the students to read their textbook individually. Whole group problem solving is another way for students to get ideas about how to solve a problem.

It is both more entertaining and often more comprehensible if a student leads the discussion about how to solve a problem. Often, talented students are funnier and better public speakers than the teacher. Also, the teenager’s natural inclination to rebel is not set off by a fellow student the way that it is when they receive instruction from a teacher. Finally, kids use the language of kids when they explain something. As teachers, we try to be cool and use our students’ language to make our lessons more comprehensible to our students, but we can never really talk kid-talk as well as a kid, so, although the teacher may have a deeper understanding of the math, the teacher cannot communicate and reach the students as well as another student can.

Although this utilization of technology is exactly like the old paper and pencil classwork, it has a much greater value because it allows the whole room to share in what is being done and the reasoning employed; also, participating in the creative process is much more interesting and informative that just looking at a solution in a book and not knowing the reasoning that went into the solution. Of course, also, the opportunity to participate in the solution is available to everyone in the room because the problem is being solved in real time and the student solving the problem is discussing their reasoning as it is occurring so everyone in the room is involved and responsible for the outcome.

Finally, by enabling students to work at their seats and share what they are doing with the whole room, the students are freed from the embarrassment and bother of standing at the board. Also, students are narrating their solution,in real time, not explaining in retrospect as they would do if they had copied a solution onto a chalk board and then were asked to present it.

PowerPoint Pen is therefore a rarely used classroom technology that can and should be employed everyday in the high school math class.

ITEC083001-S14R: Prezi to teach math

Masters Degree in Mathematics
Prezi to teach math
by Gregory Reese – Wednesday, 26 February 2014, 9:05 PM

Why are presentation tools good for teaching. For one thing it is inefficient and inconsiderate to make students wait while the teacher writes on the board. If the slides are prepared in advance then the class can go as fast as they can absorb the knowledge. Second, a well prepared lecture reflects the teacher at their best, well prepared and as creative as possible. Finally, school kids are in rebellion mode. That is not a bad thing, challenging the old ways has brought the human race out of the caves and made us masters of our planet. But rebellion can be very disruptive to a lesson plan. If the classroom is ruled by a slide show activity, not by a person, then there is just less to rebel against, especially if the activity is fun and interesting.

Masters Degree in Mathematics
Re: Prezi to teach math
by Gregory Reese – Thursday, 27 February 2014, 7:26 AM

updated prezi

ITEC083001-S14R: interactive whole group classroom activity

interactive whole group classroom activity
by Gregory Reese – Saturday, 15 February 2014, 10:13 PM

Hi everyone, I am most interested in interactive whole group activities for the high school math classroom. I can’t believe how little is available out there for whole group activities. There are tons of YouTube instructional videos like Khan Academy. There are whole curriculums written around small group activates like the Algebra Connections / Geometry Connections series by CPM. There are tons of individual work worksheets and problem sets and lots of materials for the teacher to make direct lectures, however, the most important and effective teaching tool there is seems to be totally ignored by math curriculum developers. I think the Socratic method is the best way to teach and learn math and I want to see how technological gizmos can make Socratic math teaching better.

Masters Degree in Mathematics
Re: interactive whole group classroom activity
by Gregory Reese – Saturday, 5 April 2014, 11:32 PM

Well I talked to Dr. Donahue and I am changing my class project. I am going to design a homework blog for my high school math classes. As a masters degree student at Sonoma State University, I had the opportunity to participate in several homework blogs that my professors set up on moodle, the Sonoma State flavor of ILearn. I was very impressed by how much harder I worked on assignments because I knew that they were going to be read by my classmates and discussed. I was also impressed by how much useful feedback I received. A single teacher just doesn’t have the time to comment extensively on a whole classroom full of students. I also realized that my classmates were all real experts on the subject mater of the class, after all we were all spending many hours studying the same material and so I found their comments to be very knowledgeable and helpful. I was recently reminded of how much I like homework blogs when our ITec830 class commented on each others TNT#2 assignment, I really enjoyed chatting with everyone about our projects and philosophies. I plan to research the nuts and bolts of setting up a blog with the safeguards and limits appropriate for a class of high school kids and investigating the blog statistical packages available that will help me monitor the students’ contributions and assess their performance. Sorry for making this late change of plans.

ITEC083001-S14R: Windows 7 Math Input Panel

Windows 7 Math Input Panel
by Gregory Reese – Monday, 10 February 2014, 5:47 PM

Well if no one here has used it before and if you all deem it to be useful then I would conclude that it qualifies as an emerging technology.

Anyone who watches my video can testify that this technology is new to me cause I obviously don’t know what I am doing, so by that definition, it is an emerging technology to me.

In the past I have created all my math classroom activities by hunting and pecking through the Microsoft Office Equation editor, a collection of about 300 math symbols that are listed in random order so, as you are writing your document, you just have to keep looking though the list til you find a symbol that you need, then you click on it, then you place it into your document. It is very slow and hard to use and alot of the important symbols are missing.

Although Windows 7 Math Input Panel is far from perfect, it is a huge step up from microsoft equation editor.