Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Math and Tech: Tues

Previously: Monday

Tuesday Morning
Clickers/Classroom Response Systems: with Derek Bruff.  Worthwhile even if you're not using clickers, because of the focus on pedagogy and student activity.
  • Near riot as we discussed: where does most of the mass of a tree come from: a) soil b) air c) water d) sunlight.  "Right answer"= (b) because of carbon.  (I dissent: 
  • Best clicker questions will provoke discussion.  Had a nice teacher move flowchart.
  • Many traditional systems.  Also polleverywhere.com, and ResponseWare's smartphone/web solutions.
  • Math questions like: You were once exactly 3 feet tall.  T/F
  • Can ask with confidence rating.  i.e. Yes - High Confidence, Yes - Low Confidence, No - Low Confidence, No - High Confidence.
  • Conceptual vs. Procedural questions - Both work.  Key question: do answers allow students to work backwards from answers?  (OK if that's intentional.) Can give them steps in the procedure and ask to find the error.
  • http://derekbruff.com/teachingwithcrs/ - article on CRS are active and valuable assessment.
  • http://mathquest.carroll.edu/resources.html - Sample clicker question bank.
  • Create Time for Telling: make moments that create curiosity and the responses of peers matter to each student.  Then they want you to tell them why or how.  Motivationally they are ready.  Often comes when most of the students are wrong.
  • Can use for peer assessment.  Students are hesitant to publically evaluate someone.
  • Used for quizzes turns assessment into learning ops.
Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age: Projects - Maria Anderson, MindMap
Framework: Pride-Teach
  • Practicing or repeating
  • Reading
  • Internet
  • Discussing
  • Experiencing
  • Thinking or reflecting
  • Experimenting
  • Academic
  • Created
  • Hearing or watching
  • How do you learn?  Evaluate 5 things you've learned recently with these standards.  What do you notice?
  • Started using projects to align how we expect our students to learn with how we learn.
  • Cf. Marias el ed class: http://teachingcollegemath.com/?p=1632 
  • Cf. student presentations. Maria records feedback in Jing and gives video feedback.  By the rubric that students have up front.
  • These projects had beneficial effects on student performance on other assessments, and definitely addressed 21st century skills.
Tuesday Afternoon
Mathematica - PlotFest - Deb Wood

We experimented with controls in the plotting functions of Mathematica.  Hard for me to attend to because its use is beyond many of my students tech skills, and the classes where it would be appropriate, we use Maple.  Some people are exploring Geogebra instead.  (Obviously, I'm down with that.)

  • Demonstrations from Wolfram, a huge collection of Mathematica Notebooks.  These can be "played" using the free Mathematica player.
  • Training videos that show some of the basic and advanced how-tos.
  • Video of Deb talking about Mathematica
Peripheral Tablet/Tablet PC
  • Works well with Windows Journal or OneNote or Jarnal.  (Jarnal's free and open source.)  If you have a tablet PC you might want WinPenPal.
  •  Can use with Jing for helping students on WebAssign or MyMathXL, etc. because...
  • Allows you to quickly write or jot math.  One instructor at the session uses it to give notes, and then just posts the files online. 
  • It is easy to just drag images from wolfram-alpha, the web, or TI-Smartview to include in your handwritten notes.
Second Life - Evert VanderBerg

  • Free to create your avatar.
  • Download the Second Life viewer.
  • Set the rating of your account: General, Moderate, Mature, Adult.  (Choose wisely.)  Have to live 30 days before you can change more extreme than moderate, or by verifying with a credit card.
  • Avatar names are unique.  Common first names might be used up.
  • Second Life Wiki
  • Evert uses 2ndLife for discussions with people from all over.  Better discussions with sense of close location.  This can change with weird or distracting avatars, so ask your students to 
  • SlideShare pres on Math Ed in 2ndLife
  • Search for freebies or swapmeet, teaching to find free gestures, like pointing.
  • Can upload images, for ten Linden each.  (Cheap but not zero.)
  • Some of the math involved seems just to be in the design and manufacture of the sims.  See this site for example.  There's a free Math Sculptor.
  • Any given moment there are 50-100K users; 2 million active accounts.
  • Sounds like we should look up Janita Collins.


  1. I just looked at the mathquest link. There's nothing at beginning algebra level. If this technique works as well for others as it does for Mazur, I'd like to work on developing a bank of questions for lower level courses.

  2. Sue, the sequel to Project Math Quest is Project Math Vote, and it includes the development of a healthy set of clicker questions for algebra! More info.

  3. I also think water is the answer for a live tree; the use I saw of this question, where the correct answer was air, was walking around holding a piece of dry wood and asking where it got most of its mass from.