Category: Classroom Life

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: Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the trees Group Exploration in Math Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Write an Operating System for Your Brain The Four Processors: A Neogeneralist...

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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: Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the trees Reimagining Calculus Keynote Group Exploration in Math Adjuncts shouldn’t have to fix a broken system Financial Aid, WGU, and...

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Even better than the “live” version?

When I left class on Tuesday – I just didn’t feel like I had gotten class “right” that morning. I had tried to use the commenting tools in Word, but with the recording software running, the screen kept flickering. I walked into class thinking that the worksheets I was about to use were tied directly to the animations I wanted to show, but I mis-recalled which set of problems were correlated. Although it was certainly a respecatble day of class, it wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. Here’s where the real beauty of the digital age comes in. Last night I sat down to edit and produce the videos from the “live” class for the online class, and it gave me the opportunity to tweak class and include everything I wished I had done. What’s interesting to me, is that the final product of my “so-so” day of class may actually be better than most of the intentional videos I have set out to create. Because I felt so unorganized while I made the videos live in the classroom, I spent extra time on the editing. On a whim I began adding callouts to indicate student questions. These are not normally picked up on my headset, and I make sure to repeat or rephrase each question out loud, but then I liked the “effect” of the callouts...

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