Thursday, August 12, 2010

Math and Tech: Thor's Day

Why do we have Norse-named days anyway?  I want a cartoon here of Thor's screwdriver and pliers.

Thursday Morning

Wolfram|Alpha - Maria Anderson
  • Start playing with Wolfram Alpha.  Enter line (1,2) (5,5).  Wow.  Notice what extra information there is.  Maria set us the problem of how to graph a line with a point and a slope.  (Took some work.)
  • How to have students share: best in a chat room, where students can chat the cool entries that they find.  Otherwise can use a discussion board.  An interesting post is that the URL with your result will always bring up that exact same page you saw. Well, with the proviso...
  • Wolfram|Alpha is updated weekly.  If it can't do it now, try next week.
  • Maria's favorite Wolfram Alpha posts.
  • See the data available on a specific topic: here's my town - Grand Haven, nutrition, etymology of a word (Even shows rhymes! But not for orange.)
  • Try comparisons: cities, companies, species (took some clicking on options to get this result), publications, ...
  • Notice or beware that this works on smartphones.  (Goodbye TI)
  • Is W|A skynet?
Specific Uses
  • Have students use Skynet W|A to factor.  What do they notice? Connections with graphs? Can they generalize?
  • Careful: log(x) means natural log to W|A.  lg(x) means log_10 (x)
  • Find data they are interested in for applications, display, etc.
  • Replace graphing calculators.
  • On assessments, give them the graph or info they would have gotten from W|A.  Now what can they do with it.
Consider the uses for this.  Maria's example was: you go into a hospital.  A nurse, one of your former students, is calculating a dose.  Do you want her going by memory of what you taught, or using the W|A on her smartphone?   What if the nurses you've taught are at about 70% on average?

Thursday Afternoon

Synchronous learning - Jill Mueller

  • Free.  Do need to sign up.  Anyone can be a teacher.  Classes have whiteboard (with tools), audio, chat, ...
  • Teacher turns on permissions for students: whiteboard, microphone, etc.
  • Has some basic math symbols in the whiteboard typing.
  • Compare to Elluminate
  • Teacher can turn on screen sharing to show what's on for them.  Very handy with MathXL or ... anything.  Can't chat while sharing a screen.
  • Non-teachers can share screen, but it shows up as a non-resizable window.
  • Can monitor wiziq window and your screen share simultaneously.

  • Many similar features
  • Create a lobby, and then you link students to there.  Vs. creating a new link with each session in Wiziq.
  • Don't have to register, you can just join.
  • Teacher can set status of participants.
  • There's a screen sharing tab, and it doesn't obscure the chat.  (Not sure how the teacher will see the chat without switching back to the vyew window, which will then show itself, infinity, boom. )
One of the participants recommended DimDim, saying that it integrates well with Moodle.

My gut reaction is that I'd use  wiziq for one time or infrequent sessions, vyew for a regular gig.  Students could bookmark your lobby, and make it dead easy to connect.

Open Session

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