December 6, 2014

Useful Tech

Over the summer I found out someone had written a grant for iPads and an Apple TV, but then got a district position so I would be receiving the tech. I spent some time researching, then learned I wouldn't be getting anything until October. I wanted to make a plan for the year where I wouldn't be "making do" until the tech arrived (good thing since we're still sorting out issues in December!).

I realized I had a document camera that I never used because it misaligned the smart board every time I switched between them, so I wanted to create an alternative to the document camera that didn't depend on the Apple TV. 

My current flow, which works great:
I have a google drive account specifically for school. One of the folders is titled classroom photos. That folder exists on my phone and my computer. Whenever I want to project something, I take a photo on my phone, wait two seconds for it to sync with the computer and then drag the image from the folder onto the slide I'm projecting. 

For this to work well you need: 
Good service or wifi in your classroom.
Drive installed on your computer (otherwise you would have to open drive in your browser, download the file, then insert it. Doable, but several extra clicks).

Ways I've used this flow:
I do out the PreCalc homework, take a photo of my solutions and have them in the slides before class starts. 

Projecting problems from a textbook. I use GeniusScan+ (Apple, Android) to scan and send it to the drive folder. It does really well with typed material (but it's not a significant improvement with handwritten material). 

Yesterday I was expecting to have each algebra student put up a homework problem on one of the boards (simultaneously), but then most of the class hadn't done the assignment so it made more sense to do a few as a class (one at a time). Rather than me having to draw all those balance problems ( I took a photo of the workbook page and projected it. 

When I'm grading I take photos of good student work to show the class what a clearly explained solution looks like. 

Every student in PreCalc made a triangle with a hypotenuse of 4 inches and I arranged them to build a unit circle. Putting the photo up meant everyone could see and I could annotate the image with their observations. 

What I would like to do:
Take more photos of student work during class and post them immediately for students to discuss. I think there are two reasons why I don't do this. First, my classes are small and kids work at different paces so I tend to frontload the discussions (notice and wonder), then talk to students/groups individually without a wrap up discussion. Second, if it is something worthy of a class discussion I don't want to put the whole solution up at once. I remember being really excited about comparing student work at PCMI, but I somehow haven't fit it into my classroom routine. Suggestions?

To note:
This tech is useful because it lets me teach. It's not the focus of my lesson but it helps me speed up the boring parts (students don't have to watch me draw a diagram, I don't have to recreate something that exists) and gives everyone access (work is visible to the whole class and saved for reference later). I'm not sure I'll use the Apple TV other than to occasionally have kids share a Desmos graph because it's not my job to make something work in my classroom just because I have it (in fact I gave away my document camera so I'd stop feeling guilty about not using it). It's my job to teach my students math, using appropriate tools strategically.

1 comment:

  1. Mercy. You sound happy here, Tina, but to me it sounds like you're bending over backwards for the technology. This has gotta get easier.