Sometimes, I see new technology being integrated into the classroom, but the instructor is not really harnessing the power of the new technology.

Instructor A (adopts, but does not adapt): Began their math career writing out math problems using chalk on a chalkboard … then black markers on a whiteboard … they switch to writing out problems in black & white on an overhead projector … then later type the same problems in a powerpoint presentation (now all their text is in yellow) … and later later still they write out the same problems on a tablet PC.

Instructor B (adopts and adapts): Began writing problems on a chalkboard, immediately bought some colored chalk. Upgraded to a whiteboard … began projecting graphing grids, tables, and theorems onto the whiteboard, adding annotation in markers directly on the whiteboard space. Later integrated the chapter content into Powerpoints that included animations, and focused on using Powerpoint for the material written word for word in the textbook (like theorems), to free up class time for group work. How will this instructor adapt their content for a Tablet PC?

Personally, I always hope to be in the Adopt & Adapt category, however successfully I can do that. I did actually begin my teaching career in classrooms with old-fashioned chalkboards.

Now I have a tablet PC, so I’m rethinking the way that I “present” content again. What kinds of things can a tablet do that I didn’t have the capability to do before? I’ve been using it in the classroom for a week now… here’s what I’ve learned so far:


1) In Windows Journal (or any of the “tablet” programs I’m guessing) you have the ability to highlight using a variety of colors. I’ve always used underlining and circling in colors, but with the color highlighting , the substitutions simply “pop” out of the integrals. Here’s a video example of color highlighting using several comparison integrals using secant and tangent. Integration by parts using the color highlighting was WONDERFUL! And even my algebra class agreed that they understood the factor reduction in rational expressions better with each set of factors highlighted in a different color.


2) I am recording the example problems for my online class “live” during the on-campus class. Really the two courses live in a blended environment this semester, sharing their LMS space, online homework system, and message boards, so it seems appropriate to bring them together in the video lessons too. So I took a leap of faith last Tuesday, and projected the tablet screen on the whiteboard behind me, set up a headset, and recorded problems that we did in class using Camtasia. I made sure to repeat questions that on-campus students asked, and repeated their answers when they provided them, so that the online students would benefit from the conversation. Here’s an example from my algebra class “live” on factoring the sum or difference of cubes … and here’s my first “live” recording from my Calc II class … our first problem on integration by parts.

Technical notes: I stopped recording and saved between examples (worried about computer crashes). During the slight lag time between examples, I had students begin thinking about the strategy for the next problem. One of the reasons I recorded each problem separately was that I wanted them to post as separate links in the LMS… see picture below of live links.

Then I realized that I could use markers in Camtasia to place “bookmarks” in my recordings of the places that I wanted to split up the files for production. Now I’m up to 3-4 examples in each recording without getting nervous. There is a 5-minute training video on markers in the Visual Lounge on the TechSmith website.

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