WolframAlpha Facebook Report

This is a delightful exercise that everyone seems to love. WolframAlpha will provide you with an extremely detailed analysis of your own Facebook data including visualizations, world clouds, graphs, and more.

Graph of Facebook Activity over time

 

 

 

Here’s how:

  1. Go to WolframAlpha.com.
  2. Type “Facebook Report” and execute the search.
  3. Allow WolframAlpha to have access to your Facebook account by clicking on “Analyze my Facebook Data” and following the directions.
  4. Wait while the data is analyzed.

Note: Sometimes the report seems to stall after 100% of the data is analyzed. If this happens, simply repeat steps 1-3. The second time, the report seems to load just fine.

Enjoy!

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Data Sleuthing

Khan Academy Idaho is a grant-funded initiative to help K-12 teachers in Idaho integrate digital devices and the Khan Academy program into their math classrooms. Yesterday I gave a keynote there called “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” about (1) the challenges facing math educators and (2) Data Sleuthing, a way to encourage math curiosity and data literacy in students.

Resources from this presentation:

Homework from the Presentation

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Level Up: Video Games for Learning Algebra

Last week I gave a presentation at AMATYC about video games for learning algebra. As usual, Mat Moore did a fantastic illustration for the prezi.

It was staged in five levels:

  • Level 1: Why use games?
  • Level 2: What is a game? (manipulatives, puzzles, and games)
  • Level 3: Become a Math Game Critic
  • Level 4: Play GOOD Games
  • Level 5: Good Algebra Video Games?

You can click through the Prezi below.

 

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Coming out of the Closet: I’m a Game Designer!

I don’t even really know how to begin here. For the last three years I’ve been working on a secret little project that I wasn’t allowed to talk about in public (NDA). I’ve been designing digital games for learning algebra in my (ha ha) free time. The last couple months have been an absolutely insane flurry of activity as we approached the launch date and as a result, I haven’t posted much. Finally I can tell you that I’m no longer a wannabe game designer. I’ve designed four game apps that are now out in the iPad App store! I’m out of the closet and able to talk about it!

There are three years of stories to tell here about the development process, but I’m still recovering from launch week. So if you’re dying to see, here are the apps:

  • Algeboats Lite is a taste of our resource management game for learning how to evaluate expressions. [Note: Full version is not yet available.]
  • Algeburst: Topics in Algebra is a classic match-3 game for simplifying expressions, solving simple equations and inequalities, and using exponent rules.
  • Algeburst: Topics in Arithmetic is a classic match-3 game for pre-algebra arithmetic, including signed numbers, fractions, decimals, and order of operations.
  • Algeburst Lite will give you 12 free levels to try out the game (6 levels of arithmetic, 6 levels of algebra).

To see videos and screenshots from the games, please head on over to the Facebook pages: Algeburst or Algeboats and give us a LIKE!

 

 

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Video Code Easter Eggs

I have this sneaky trick I use to tell which students watch online videos and which don’t.  I hide “secret codes” in the videos (like the programmer’s Easter Eggs).  When a student finds one of my “Easter Egg codes” they can submit it for 1 point towards participation.  Sometimes the codes are numbers I generate at random (Ex: 40234) and sometimes it’s a word, phrase, or story (my cat is chasing a fly in front of my computer).

I don’t tell the students where the codes are. I don’t tell them HOW I’ve shared the code or what kind of code it is.  Some videos have codes, and many don’t.  Because of the random distribution of codes in videos, and my “loose” way of collecting them for points, I can always add or remove videos with codes, and it won’t affect the overall point system.

Here's an example of a video code inserted as a callout bubble. Click on image to enlarge.

Let me explain. Students are not required to watch particular videos and there are two other ways to earn participation points.  Participation for each unit is counted out of 10 points, but 5 extra credit points may also be earned.  Thus, there is a cap on the total number of points I will count.

Participation points can be earned by:

  1. Participating in a live online chat. (2 points)
  2. Posting something substantive in a Discussion. (1 point)
  3. Turning in a video code. (1 point)

Here are various ways that I hide the codes in videos:

  • In callout bubbles I add post-recording and pre-production
  • On calculator screens (sneaky, huh?)
  • In something I say out loud
  • In something I write on the journaling screen
  • In something I say and write on the journaling screen
  • In the text of a math equation
  • Underlining a particular word or phrase on the screen from a lesson
  • An action to take (call my office phone and sing the quotient rule to me)

Collecting the codes is the real trick.  Some years I’ve used a Google Spreadsheet or Doc for the collection.  This year, I’m using the comment field of the Canvas Graded Discussions.  I set up one Discussion for each unit, worth 10 points.  When a student participates in an online chat, I go to the gradebook for this Discussion and add a comment “Chat 7/9/12 = 2 points” for that student.  When the student submits a video code, I go to the gradebook for this Discussion and add the comment “Video Code 40234 = 1 point”.  Then when I go to grade the assignment, I see not only all the students’ discussion posts, but also all their collected codes and chat points (see image).

Canvas Discussions grading screen with comments. Click on image to enlarge.

It’s really interesting to see which students find and submit the codes and which students never submit a single code. This helps me to track the progression of students through a particular unit.  Pessimistically, it helps me to “catch” those students who claim they are watching videos when, in fact they aren’t.  But optimistically, I can also tell who consistently watches all the videos by seeing their collected codes pile up.  While I haven’t always enjoyed keeping lists of students and codes, the “Easter Egg” method has worked well over the years to keep track of video-watching as a way to participate in online courses.

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