Archive for Technology

Collecting Dust – an overview of my favorite teaching technology, part 1

    It has been over 2 years now since I retired from teaching.  I taught math for 29 years with a passion for utilizing the newest and most effective technology. I bought most of the technology I used in my classrooms (and outside of them) with my own money so I could always be on the forefront, and could use it every day in my classes.  Waiting until my college or district could check out the technology, then approve it for me, took too long for my taste. I actually had a side job to earn money just for this purpose!

Well, my home office is now FULL of that technology.  All of it is in excellent condition, but most of it is not getting used, which is quite sad!   I now do a lot of consulting from my home office, so I use some of it,  but the items that were perfect for inside the classroom are just sitting around collecting dust.  I have decided it is time to “clean house” and try to get those items into the hands of folks who will use them again.  I am going to start a series of blog posts about some of the items I have available and how I used them to help my students. If you are interested, please email me and I will give you more details.

For many years I was an avid user of eInstruction’s mobile interactive white boards – MOBIs (and I still am).  I have a classroom set of 6 Mobis that my students would use to share their group work with the class from.  While they are not brand new, they are still in great condition.  The students really enjoyed being able to participate from their desks.  I placed a color tab on the edge so I could refer to a group by color.  The photo above shows the “purple” Mobi.  Many students admitted that they preferred being able to participate from their desk and not have to go to the board.   The screen I was projecting their work to could be split up so I was able to show one group’s work, or all 6 at once.

These Mobis can also be used to teach from, as well.  I disliked being stuck at the front of the classroom at the board, so instead, I would connect a MOBI to the my computer and then I was free to teach from anywhere in the room.   This was especially helpful when students were in groups, as I could walk around helping and also writing something helpful for all students on the projected board from anywhere.

I did prefer to use an eInstruction MOBIVIEW to teach from, instead.

The main difference between the learner MOBI and the MOBIVIEW is that the MOBIVIEW has a large touchscreen that can be used to run student clickers as well as their learner MOBIs…a little taste of my next blog post.  Stay tuned!!



Learning about 360 Photos and Videos

I am just beginning to learn about creating, posting and viewing 360 photos and videos.   I am a strong believer that 360 can be a game changer in education!   It is an amazing tool to capture the world around you, rather than just one slice.   I will try to write more about my experience as I learn to use my Samsung Gear 360, but for now, shown above is a 360 photo of my current workspace 🙂  Click on the photo and drag it around to see all the way around the inside of the salon.  As you can see, life is pretty tough on a sailboat!


Using Doceri to Replace Smartpen Pencasts

Since Livescribe took down the Echo community site where I had over 500 pencasts stored, I have completely quit using their product.  Instead, I now use a much better product, which is a free app on my iPad called Doceri.

Doceri allows you to use colors (any color and any size), highlighters, graphics, and the best part is you can edit your writing!

I had created a work-around using my smartpen to place the test below the pencast to write test keys, but that was cumbersome and is no longer possible.

Here is a video where I took a screenshot to answer a student’s question and then wrote over the document using Doceri on my iPad to create an animation/video to answer their question.


If you don’t want to add sound, then Doceri automatically creates an animation from your writing.   However, I strongly recommend adding audio.  Once you add audio you can upload the video to YouTube to share with your students.  In the near future I will try to find some time to write a How – To post on using Doceri to write test keys.


Graphing Calculator Emulator

I just purchased a newer version of the TI graphing calculator emulator, the TI SmartView CE for the TI-84 family.  Wow, it is really nice!  It has 3 versions of the calculator:  The traditional black/white TI-84 Plus version,  the new TI-84 Plus C, and TI-84 Plus CE, which are both in color!


The calculator shows up well on the screen, with choices of using a light, dark or having just an outline for the calculator body style.


I have always liked the fact that the emulator will allow the user to make the calculator screen larger.  This helps considerably when showing the students live during a class or taking screenshots of the output.


With the added benefit of color, it will help students see the difference more quickly when graphing more than one graph or plot at a time.   They have a free 90 day trial if you have not already tried out the new emulator, I would highly suggest it!

I plan on using the new emulator to create tutorials that include the graphing calculator for On Demand Curriculum.


Back in the game

Things have been crazy busy since I retired last May from teaching at Mesa Community College!   I sailed in the Virgin Islands for 3 weeks, then had several projects waiting for me when I returned.   Life has been very good.  But I have not had time to do any more research on technologies for the classroom.

I am working steadily from home (and the sailboat) now, and love having the time to do more research on technology in education.  If you have a product or application you would like me to review, please email me at and I will do some research and write a blog post about my findings.

For many years I have had companies wanting to sponsor me and have me, in turn, place a link to their website on my blog.   I resisted in the past since I had a full time teaching position and wanted to do the research for my own students.  Now that I no longer have students, I have decided to accept sponsors to help fund my research on the best technology for teaching math.  If you are a company, or know someone who would like to sponsor my blog, please reach out at



On Demand Curriculum – My Latest Adventure

Blog Post Header On Demand Curriculum

I have been very busy these past few years trying to build up my contract business with textbook companies.  I have created videos, PowerPoints, and other types of lessons for several large companies.

I was teaching full time and doing these contract jobs, trying to build up my business enough to retire from teaching in the classroom….well, that time finally came.   I retired in May 2015 from teaching at Mesa Community College, and have spent the past few weeks building a new business website so I will be able to share my experience with students, teachers, parents, home school businesses, along with other curriculum creation companies.

I am starting On Demand Curriculum by building up the first area, On Demand Math.  My goal is to make personalized math lessons and tutorials for students, based on their learning style, on demand.   In my experience, students who asked me a question during office hours tended to forget what they learned more quickly than students who asked me a question through email and receive a tutorial that I built just for them that they can watch as many times as they need to.  I want to take that concept and expand it so that more students across the globe can receive help, based on their individual needs.

I also realize that there are many parents out there struggling to help their child with their math homework.  I want to be there for them as well.   A quick tutorial, based on the question they are trying to help their child with, might make a real difference in the child starting to enjoy math (and the parents).

Please help me spread the word that I am now available to help everyone succeed in all levels of math!

You can follow On Demand Curriculum on the following social media sites:

Twitter as @OnDemandMath
Pinterest as OnDemandMath
Instagram as @OnDemandCurriculum
Facebook as On Demand Curriculum

Find out more information at


Doceri Workshop at ICTCM 2014

Here is a link to the workshop I did at ICTCM 2014  in San Antonio this year.
Presenting lessons and creating videos using Doceri on the iPad.


New Tech to Try!

I apologize for not writing more posts this semester, but I have been swamped with work and play 🙂

I just received the new wi-fi Livescribe smartpen called SKY today and I promise to write a blog post soon about the features and how I plan on using it.  Wi-fi opens the potential of the smartpen to be even smarter!! I can’t wait!

I have been using Doceri 2.0 along with the Mobi 360 w/ clickers in my math classes and plan on updating all of you on how well that is going (it is going REALLY well, by the way)  and how I have used them with my students.

Stay tuned….


Working on iPads in a Flipped Math Class

This is the 2nd semester I am flipping my Intermediate Algebra classes.   The students are required to access the online ebook and take notes BEFORE coming to class.  I have Livescribe pencast examples available for them to view on the course calendar as well.  For more information on how I am flipping my classes, see the article I wrote for eCampus News.

Flipping the class frees me up to have the students do group work and activities during class to reinforce the topics from the lesson.  I can more easily work individually with students having difficulty, while the rest of the students are helping one another.

I was awarded a chance to teach in the iPad classroom this semster, so I have been looking for ways to have my students create and share on the iPad, rather than just use it as a calculator or to search the internet.

Today my students  were working in groups on a handout.   After completing the page, each group was assigned 1 of the problems and required to write their solution or graph on an iPad to share with the class.    The application we are using on the iPad is called Doceri 2.0 (previous blog post about the app).  It enables students to show their solution as an animation or video.   Students can even edit their work before exporting it as a video.   Since the classroom can get pretty loud, I had them record the animation, while picking up the sounds from the classroom (then I deleted all sound before uploading the following videos to YouTube, to protect the students’ privacy).

To present their animation, each group had one member connect their iPad to the Apple TV that is in the room and then “play” their animation.   We discussed the group’s solution or graph and answered any questions before the next group presented to the class.   I was really pleased with how well it worked!

I was able to get permission from a few students to share their work.

This first video is a student’s graph from today’s flipped Algebra class.   They were to graph the linear equation by plotting points.   The student chose to have graph paper as their background for their animation.

The second video shown here is another graph done by a different group/student.   This student found the x-and y-intercept of the linear equation and then graphed the line.

The third video was created by a student who  was given a problem to solve a formula for a given variable.

The students seem to be enjoying the experience!

I have really enjoyed watching them work through the problem, as opposed to just looking at their final solution/graph.    If the classroom was quiet (but how much fun would that be??), I would have had them explain their steps in the video.

I will post more of their work as the students progress in their math ability and their ability to show their solutions on the iPad!  This is only the 2nd week of class, and they have progressed quite a bit already.  Many of them had never used an iPad before, and none of the students had ever used Docer 2.0.  I am really proud of how hard they are working to succeed in my class!



TI-nspire makes a GREAT math (or any subject) clicker!

I had given up on graphing calculators for a while, since I really wanted the students to engage more in class and use clickers. I found the perfect balance recently!

The calculators by themselves are pretty amazing, but there is a learning curve that made it too much for me to want to use them with my students.   However, I was recently introduced to the TI Navigator system, which turns this amazing calculator into an even more amazing clicker (student response system)!

That is worth trying out for me!   I have a loaner set I will use this Fall with my Algebra classes.

It is a bit bulky, but the case charges the calculators and allows me to send data to all of the calculators at once (if I don’t have the yellow Navigator caps on.  The case will not close with the Navigator caps on).

The calculator has a color screen, along with a mouse track pad and a full keyboard on the bottom.    Lots of handy math symbols are easy to get to directly from the keys as well.  (The calculator shown does NOT have the yellow Navigator cap on.)  But let’s get down to how to use this with the Navigator system!

I downloaded theTI-Nspire Navigator teacher software from their website and then set up a sample class with 5 students.   As you can see below, I named them Student 1, Student 2, Student 3, Student 4 and Student 5 (I am so creative!). You will create usernames for each student and then either create a password for them, or let them create their own.  You can also upload a CSV file into the system to automatically populate your class!


I am using the TI wireless network  access point  (it looks like a Verizon MiFi) to connect all the calculators to my computer, but you only have to set that up one time. Once you “Begin Class” (top right of the image above), then the students can log into ANY of the calculators (they don’t have to have the same one each time!) and make sure they are connected to the network you created.  It will tell them they are logged in, and they will show up on the teacher’s computer that way as well.

There are 2 main features I plan to use the calculators with the Navigator system for:  1. grabbing screen shots of all (or some) student calculators, and 2:  polling the students – asking them a question like using a clicker, but the question shows up on their calculator with the tools they need!


At any time during the class, I can grab live screen shots of all student calculators, or just one student’s calculator.   I think this will be very handy to “check in” on student progress to see where they are in solving the problem given or to see if they are even paying attention!

I can even “call on a student” to share their screen to see how they solved a problem (by making them the presenter).


The 2nd, and main use, of the Navigator system with the TI-nspire calculators for me is using them to “poll students” during class.

I was really amazed to see the variety of questions I can create and send to the students’ calculators!  Other clickers (student response systems) I have tried have a few of these options, but this is truly an incredible list for math!

In the above screen I chose the “Drop points” type of question, and typed in my question (see below).
I have a lot of math templates I can choose from as well, if I need to quickly type in a fraction or other math symbol.

I created a question for the students to drop a point on the graph where the ordered pair (3,-4) is located.  That would not be possible on any other clicker I know of!  To send the question to the calculators I just hit the “Start Poll” button at the top of the screen.  I can create questions ahead of time, or real time during class, to poll the students with.

The photo above shows what was sent to the calculators.   As you can see they have a split screen with the question and a set of axes to plot their point on.  The students use the track pad on their calculator to move the point to the desired location.


Once they have answered the question, they hit the “Doc” key and choose “submit” (they are submitting their document to my computer).  The teacher’s computer then shows that student has responded.

The teacher can hit “Stop Poll” at any time to stop the students from being able to answer the question any longer, and gather all the data.   The data is stored on the computer and the teacher can access it immediately, or look through individual student responses outside of class.

The system allows the teacher to set up questions where students can show steps, and the teacher can show multiple pieces of information in the question, like the question and a graph as seen below.


When the students submit their solution, the work is shown as you can see below (different question I was playing with).

The teacher can also look at the solutions of the class as a whole (another different question):

The question is always shown with the solutions given by the students., but this view is nice for the students to be able to see (anonymously) what the different answers looked like from the class.

If the teacher creates the question with a “correct answer”, then the solutions the students submit will be scored as correct or not (the teacher can even give more than one correct answer!).

I realize this is a lot of information at once, but I was hoping that some of you would be as excited as I am about using the TI-nspire CX with the TI Navigator system as a student response system (clickers) in class!

I will write more after I start using it in my Algebra classes and let you know how it is going.


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