Category: Classroom Life

Update on the Livescribe Pen

There are a few of you who have been anxiously awaiting my report on the LiveScribe pen. So, here is a brief report! I convinced one of my Calculus students, who wished to remain anonymous, to take notes during a small section of class. The lesson was on odd and even functions. I’ve uploaded the written file to my server showing the writing quality of the PDF file that is created by the Livescribe software. You can see it by clicking here, or look at the sample below: You can see the live Livescribe file (with audio) by going to this page. When you’re looking at the page that has live audio, it is just a thumbnail (a little fuzzy) of the actual page, so I think you would want to print the PDF of the file and then click at different parts of the lecture to use it effectively. The Livescribe “Community” appears to be a place to share files. This is really going to be interesting, because there are already a lot of folks upset about some websites (like ShareNotes) allowing students to make money by selling the notes they take in class. If lecture notes are property of the professor, and not the institution, then I think it is a serious copyright question that students are making money selling them (not that they are sharing them)....

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Laptops in the Classroom

Over at elearnspace, there was an interesting blog post called “Hey You, Pay Attention!” I tried to comment on it, but apparently you have to register to do that and I can’t figure out how. Nor could I find a place to email the blogger… so, I’m commenting here, because this is a common frustration that I hear from instructors. Laptops are an easy exit point from a lecture. A few years ago, I upset aseries of colleagues when I stated something to the effect of “if students aredistracted in your class, the issue is not with them, but with you as ateacher”. Apparently, they didn’t agree. I agree with this perspective. I think there is some truth to the quoted statement, although I would consider a rewording: “if students are distracted in your class, it is possible that the issue is not with them, but with their level of engagement in the class.” Sometimes, a class is very well designed for learning and a student is just not behaving appropriately. I’m sure we’ve all seen a student nod off in class or just put their head down and go to sleep during class. This is not appropriate behavior in class either. First, some thoughts on the laptop during class issue. Before you dismiss laptops and Internet use in the classroom as completely inappropriate, you have to think about...

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Big Red Cursors for your Tablet or Video Lessons

This is a video from Bill Myers that shows you how to install some big red cursors and pointers for making videos to make it easier to track the mouse. Here’s the link to the download for the cursors. I’m not sure he was thinking about this intent in the video, but it seems that these cursors would also work well for projecting from a tablet, when it can ALSO be difficult for students to track the mouse. I found this on the TechSmith Visual Lounge Blog, which always has some nice stuff. Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the...

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Typeset Math Easily on a Computer

Consider an English class prior to word processors. You wrote a sentence. You rewrote the sentence. You rewrote the sentence again. You did this for the whole paper until you had it right. The process looked something like this: Today, a student would use a word processor, adjusting the sentence with each change. That process would look something like this. English instructors have managed to adjust to not seeing every step of every revision – settling, in most cases, for one or two drafts before a final paper. A parallel situation for us in math might be a short recorded video of the procedures, layered on top of each other, or a few steps of a complicated problem, worked out on screen with a computer program. Now… TRUE … you can’t do this with LaTex. Sidenote: Why on earth is everyone trying to do this with LaTex? It would be like writing every email you send in HTML or doing all your word processing in DOS. In version 6 of MathType, you can export any equation to LaTex if you need it for a webpage, blog, or Journal article. Now let’s look at math. We’ve mostly stuck to the “write out every step method,” because we want to see HOW students are doing the problem from step to step … and I understand that. However, we can still see...

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Academia 2.0

I stumbled across this great video tonight – a follow-up to Michael Wesch’s A Vision of Students Today. The video is documentory/mashup-style and is suprisingly insightful – called Academia 2.0. Sit back and enjoy a thought-provoking 10 minutes. Is it a problem of attention-span and multi-tasking? Or is it a problem of relevance? Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses ESIL: A Learning Lens for the Digital Age Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the...

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