Reflection

At the start of this course I could only think of two aims:

Photo Credit: johnb/Derbys/UK. via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: johnb/Derbys/UK. via Compfight cc

  • Connect with like minded professionals who have constructive ideas and thoughts.
  • Discover ways to develop my teaching and share experiences within the role of IT.

On reflection…

I think I’ve certainly managed to achieve both but come out of this course with so much more.

My main thought about this course is how I’ve actually been able to create a lot of the resources I’m so used to using or coming across on a daily basis. Using twitter, youtube, garage band and producing a pecha kucha has really enlightened my stance on teaching and learning and how to make it more beneficial for my students.

What I’ve also really enjoyed is learning about other forms of technology from my colleagues. Their blogs really inspired me to try new ideas and forms of technology, some of which I may never have ever thought about using in the classroom. Some of the blogs I really enjoyed were from Carmel, Eamonn, Jen, Sandra and Karoli.

I’m leaving this course with a new outlook on what I want my lessons to really be about and how I can make my students become better learners with the tasks I set them.

A few concepts I’m going to try more often are using screencast a lot more in liaison with trialling the flipped classroom and encouraging homework to be the initial learning stage before the students come my classroom rather than homework being the final stage.

Screencast

I’ve always been a fan of using video tutorials on youtube especially when it comes to students revising and telling me some of the great videos they have seen. I’ve attempted to make video tutorial before using a webcam and strategically placing it in the correct position…it became tedious. Learning about screencast made me realise this is quite an easy and effective learning tool.

One topic I love teaching is circle theorems and finding the geometric properties circles have. Geometers Sketchpad(GSP) is a great software program that allows investigations into these mathematical theorems easily rather than looking at the image on a board or textbook and the students are relatively competent to use this software without much instruction.

 

So I thought I’d use my first screencast to demonstrate some of the tools on GSP and look at one of the theorems in particular to see how it would work…

Once I got my head around rehearsing the script and timings etc it was relatively easy to use and the best part about it is students can use it as tutorials with the ease of pausing and playing when they wish.

After watching Salman Khan talk about the efficacy of the flipped classroom I’m beginning to see the benefits and starting to think how can I make my time more effective in the classroom and make homework more beneficial rather than a chore for students.

I will eventually try and use TedEd also as this focuses mainly on educational videos.

Math talk

Photo Credit: OllyHart via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: OllyHart via Compfight cc

Our task this weekend was to create a podcast.

After reading some background into podcasts for teachers and educational podcasts, it seems that they can be used quite easily in the classroom. I’ve only ever came across podcasts from radio stations that I enjoy listening to and thought that this would be a great place to start.

Using GarageBand was always on my to do list so when Sandra and Karoli wanted to do this too it made sense to buddy up. We came up with lots of ideas for what we could make a podcast about…learning times tables using song, informing parents about class content, advising other teachers. We eventually decided to go with the latter and create a podcast that would provide information for new teachers about some of the aspects that work well in our classrooms.

Math TalkWe came up with Math Talk, a 6 minute discussion about what makes for a good math lesson. After brainstorming ideas for what to talk about we shared out the discussion points and tried to make it as natural as possible. Using GarageBand was pretty easy. After watching a few youtube tutorials and a bit of trial and error we managed to come up with a decent podcast.

It’s a great way to share knowledge and get information when we don’t necessarily have the time to sift through the internet for ideas. I will certainly try to download some more educational podcasts in the future.

Pinterest

After reading Jen’s blog Using Pinterest in the classroom I wanted to try and use this in my lessons this week. I’m teaching solving equations to my Grade 8 classes and as well as being able to understand the written methods I wanted them to understand the modelling process as well.

photoSo I asked my students to solve equations and take pictures of the stages when modelling using manipulatives. It was a great group work exercise and I received some great photos. So I uploaded these onto a Pinterest page solving linear equations which was easy to set up and posted their pictures on there.  I’ve been able to use these pictures again in the week to reinforce learning and was great to use their own work as the examples in class.

Pinterest is great for getting inspiration and teaching ideas on math or any subject.

Padlet

 

discussion  This week my grade 8 students have been working on problem solving questions. The idea of problem solving is to try and get them to use their math skills to answer functional math problems. My main aim was to get them to collaborate and discuss their answers with each other and they were given time to do that in class, but I wanted them to do this outside the classroom too as part of their independent study.

Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 11.39.41 AM

I came across Padlet, previously known as Wallwisher.

It ‘s an excellent tool to get instant feedback from students for example at the end of the lesson to use an exit ticket or to gauge what to cover in the upcoming lesson if there were any questions from the students. So I decided this week to maybe use Padlet as an open conversational space for students to discuss their problem solving task.

So here is what the problem solving padlet looked like yesterday. I was actually quite surprised some of the students started to use this but I need to think how to make it more effective and more students involved. I was pleased that one student knew the answer to the question but wanted to find out how to get to the answer. I’d like more ways for discussion and ‘conversation’ to be made more prominent on padlet, so looked into some other padlet ideas on #math using padlet and came across Mr G Online. I liked the use of pictures which I never knew you could do and the reflective aspect of it.

What have you found was a really eye catching padlet about stem cells which I’m also taking inspiration from so will try and make it more appealing and beneficial for all students.

42

Over this week I’ve been thinking about the role of the teacher in the classroom.

old teacher

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I started reflecting on this after watching New Learners of the 21st Century. An amazing school that allows students to learn via gaming and embracing change in a society where technology is forever changing.  A great idea but I started to question what has actually happened to the role of the teacher over time and what will become of it.

42

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Reading an article this week about a school in Paris, France called 42 with an enrollment of 60 000 applicants but no teachers really intrigued me. These students are teaching themselves computer programming and the main reason this school exists is because of the low employment rate in France at the  moment. Their aim is to make students proficient problem solvers so they resolve issues independently. My question is then…how do we make students good problem solvers?

I was interested to learn more about how gaming can promote learning as games are in theory strategic and social. The main stigma with games is that it defers from the actual learning where in fact it defers from rote learning. I realised that students actually learn more from collaborative learning especially for struggling students who may be disruptive, all in all a great teaching tool. But how can we justify gaming with exam results?

Photo Credit: lastquest via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: lastquest via Compfight cc

Dr James Gee discusses the benefits of gaming but makes a inquisitive comment about how gaming can be used with assessment which is my concern teaching mathematics. How do I teach algebraic reasoning using gaming? I’m struggling to find a starting point so any ideas are welcome, then I came across blended learning. Not necessarily concerning gaming but looking at computers as a way of reinforcing concepts and allowing students to take responsibility for their learning.

Reading Carmel Lim Torres’s blog on gamification got me onto the idea of the teachers role in the future and I’m pondering a thought… what will be the future definition of a teacher.

Working smarter not harder

So…to sum up my week…technology overload!

I can’t believe how much I’ve learnt since taking this course and what I’ve missed out on over my 6 year teaching career. I’ve always wanted to get on board with technology; uploading lessons and documents onto the portal, even creating my own math video tutorials but never really knew what to do with the content. So I was overwhelmed with how much there actually is out there.

So I have managed to set up this blog, make posts, comment on posts, set up a twitter account, follow and be followed and even get to grips with Pecha Kucha.

On reflection of my week the following phrase came to me… ‘Am I working smarter not harder?’ 

Reading some colleagues posts on facebook this weekend from my previous school in Birmingham, they all seem to be moaning, I mean commenting, on the marking overload at the moment and they’re only in their second week of the year!! I posted to one of them ‘What happened to working smarter not harder?’ and I began to realise that technology in education can facilitate this. I know we’re not focusing on marking but the amount of time we put into our lesson planning surely can be reduced with a few smarter ways of thinking and I think my view on education has changed in such a short amount of time.

So my thoughts for the week ahead…

How can I get my students more involved in my lessons using technology? I’m attempting to trial Padlet (wall wisher) to encourage problem solving discussions outside of my lessons and across my classes.

I also want to look into Google Ninja, to my understanding this is a bit like class Dojo? I’m not sure, so any feedback is welcomed. I want to reward pupils for their success in overcoming obstacles in mathematics but I’m not sure what there is available.

Finally…a personal one… I want to find out how to make the ultimate tweet where followers actually tweet back!