Technology v2014

I plan on testing out a bunch of technology tools this year.  Over the years, I have experimented with a number of different technologies to support me in teaching math.  First was the hardware, I decided to go with Apple.  While I had a variety of personal reasons, the education reason is that from what I have seen, Apple has better education software.

My decisions so far…

Keynote – I tested Smart Notebook software for a couple of years and found that it was solid.  My one quibble with it was that the Adobe Flash timer crashed my Macbook once a day when I switch rooms for teaching.  When I switched to Keynote and got a quicktime timer from iPresentee, I found a stable simple and featured presentation software.

Omni Graph Sketcher – This is a quick graph design software that I can create everything from graph paper to lines to parabolas in a format that is easily copied to to jpeg or png format.  It is available by just searching for it on the internet.  I do not think new versions will be created. 😦

Evernote – As part of my job, I observe other teachers.  To capture and organize the information, I set up a notebook for each teacher and record a note titled with the date and time for each observation.  It is quick and easy.

Schoology – Last year I transitioned from Edmodo to Schoology because I wanted a system that had a more robust assessment engine.  After a bit of work, I ported all of the Geometry NY State Regents questions to schoology and organized them by standard.  While porting them over, I took advantage of the “Fill in the Blank” question type by taking many of the multiple choice questions and converting them over to “Fill in the Blank”.

Technology that I am going to try…

Evernote/Skitch (definitely) – Throughout the course of the year, I plan on building a shared notebook stack with taking a an Omni Graph Sketch or a PDF as a starting point. (Students will get a print out to annotate as we do it as a class.)  I will then annotate it with Skitch with the class.  I will then put each in notebook for each class.  This Evernote notebook will serve as a note source for any student that is absent.

Remind (definitely) – Too many people keep telling me how good this is.  I will set up a class assignment schedule and based on the interest from the parents/students, I will continue running it.  I will schedule all assignments and tests dates to be texted and of course parent teacher nights.

Ten Marks (should be) – This website seems gray for fluency practice so that students will not be surprised by the traditional exams at the end of the year and hopefully will provide some feedback on what they do know.

Three Rings (Should be) – Portfolios have been a dream of mine for a couple of years. I see Three Rings as an easy way for students to collect and share evidence of work in the class.  If I can get a good approach to a rubric, I will roll this out in the second or third unit. If anyone has recommendations on how to successfully use portfolios in math class, I am all ears.

I just hope that I am not taking on too much…

A slow return

So I have been debating whether or not to return to the blogging world.  Last year, I found building a 180 blog the first time that I did Geometry to be draining for a number of reasons.  The daily slog of a teacher is tough enough without recording it.  And… when you are recording with your own critical eye, it becomes numbing after a while.  I found that while I was recording a bunch of things, not much of it was ready for prime time nor up to my standards.  I read all of these blogs of amazing things happening in classrooms across the country and realize that it requires an amazing amount of effort and time.  I am all for the effort, but my time is parsed between family and work.  I am trying my hardest to keep that balance on the right side of the scale.  I do not know where the journey is going to take me this year, but I have made a couple of decisions.

1. I want to get back to blogging, but not at a daily pace.
2. I will keep a diary to record my successes and failures, but want to start by sharing things that work or ideas that seem cool to me that I want to try.
3. I want to be a more active member in the community of MBToS for the sharing, knowledge and to give back where I can.
4. I want to be a better teacher.  If any of the first three prevent that from happening, I will cut back on them.  However, I believe that they are necessary for it to happen.

I also want to spend more time editing blogs before sending them out.  Most of my posts from last year were undercooked and needed more time in the oven.  

I am excited to be back and will be sharing some of my ideas on how I am going to start my year shortly.