Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Tech Tools

I have found two new tech tools that I am really happy with. The first is the whole reason I wanted the iPad from school - a great app called Educreations. Educreations is a screencasting app. It lets me import image files (which I can create from my SMART Notebook files) straight from Dropbox very easily and I can create screencasts for my students. It uploads to their website (here's my profile page) and as long as I leave the screencast as viewable to the public, I can link to it from my website at school. Students can go view them at their leisure. About the only down side to it at the moment is there is no eraser, but the support staff has been very responsive and I hope they incorporate it in the next update. I do like this app a lot.

The second is a great, free website called Quizlet. Quizlet lets you create flashcards in many languages (including math!) and students can review them like normal flashcards, be quizzed on them by the computer, create their own quizzes (they can be printed to take offline or can be taken online) , or play a couple of games that are provided. In addition, students can import flashcard sets to one of several mobile apps (more information here). I stumbled on this because A+ Flashcards Pro is free (it went free right after Christmas) and it said you could import flashcards from Quizlet. I have created several sets - mainly centered around factoring because that's where we are right now. Here's my user page.

I also recently learned about linking to pages in SMART Notebook. I was recently at our SMART Bugs (SMART Board Users Group) and the facilitator (Bret Gensburg) showed us a file he had helped someone set up that was a game. I took the ideas he used in the game and created my own factoring game. The link goes to my Dropbox and you are welcome to adapt it as you would like. It is a SMART Notebook file, so if you don't have SMART Notebook, it isn't going to work. **Updated the file on January 26th - there was one bad link and I increased font size on the game pages.**

**Update: I did the factoring game in my Algebra 2 classes today. Two of my three classes it went well in. Students were engaged and enjoyed it. One class I had four students who pretty much ruined it. They weren't taking it seriously and would copy answers when it was their turn. I instituted the rule that I could ask you to explain where your answer came from for your team to get the point. Not quite totally sure how to work with this. On the one hand, I do like that students are talking to each other about the math as they are comparing answers. On the other hand, I don't like that they copy the answer without really understanding it. So at the moment, the best work around I have is to not only give the answer, but they have to explain it. I am thinking of making each question worth two points - one for the correct answer and one for the correct explanation. If the person has the correct answer but cannot explain it, their team will get the point for the answer and the other team can steal the point for the explanation. Thoughts?**

I hope you found something you can use. I'd love to hear of other useful tech stuff you're using.

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