Tag Archive for Geometry

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 tech4mathed.sg@gmail.com 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 tech4mathed.sg@gmail.com.

Sue

 

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!

http://education.ti.com/calculators/products/US/home/

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)!

http://education.ti.com/calculators/products/US/navigator/

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!

CALCULATOR SCREEN SHOTS

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).

POLLING STUDENTS

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.

 

Summer Projects for Visual and Interactive Math

Visual Interactive Learning
I have been sitting here staring at my computer for the past week since I got back from an amazing time with a room full of extremely innovative teachers in San Francisco as part of the Livescribe Educational Advisory Board.

I keep staring at it not being able to decide where to start!  I have so many new ideas that I want to implement for the Fall, and now I have even more resourceful people to guide me when I get stuck!

Some of the big ones on my list I have already started working with, but I want to dig deeper and create projects for my students to interact with, and also projects for them to create:

Hyperstudio5 (Roger Wagner will be at ISTE this summer, so that will be fun!)
GeoGebra
Camtasia
Livescribe (new cool stuff coming next week!!)

The newest application I want to learn:

I have been playing with WolframAlpha for the past year, but I recently purchased Mathematica and I am excited to see what I can create with it! My goal is to create visual and interactive materials for Algebra and Geometry.    I will post as soon as I start building!  I am still watching the video tutorials for now.   I want to look further into the following links as well:

Wolfram Research STEM Initiative

Wolfram Faculty Program

Lastly, I NEED to learn Photoshop.   My oldest son currently creates all of my artwork for my projects, but in a few years he will be off to college and won’t be around to help me!

Hopefully between spending time with my family and attending ISTE and HI-TEC this summer, I will be able to dig deeper and create some projects for next Fall using some of these great interactive applications!

 

I Made My First Interactive GeoGebra Applet!

Logo taken from the GeoGebra website – holiday version!

I have met several people in the past year (some only virtually) who have convinced me that learning GeoGebra would be a great addition to my tech tools for teaching mathematics. Since GeoGebra is FREE, it makes it an even better resource as a teacher and tech ed consultant, and also for student projects as well! Geometry is one of my favorite subjects to teach;  in the past I used Geometer’s Sketchpad, but in the future I plan on using GeoGebra!

I believe WordPress is not allowing me to directly embed the <applet> Javascript code for my first GeoGebra applet, so I created a new set of webpages on my Tech4MathEd site where I will be posting all of the GeoGebra applets I create.   I am just learning, so there is only 1 there now 🙂

To see my first interactive GeoGebra applet, which helps students understand graphing a line using the slope-intercept form of the line by interacting with the graph, go to  Slope Intercept GeoGebra Applet.

I am really looking forward to using GeoGebra, not only to create interactive applets for my Algebra students, but also to help my Math For Elementary Teacher classes learn more about Geometry!

To download  and start playing with GeoGebra, go to:  download GeoGebra

Image of my interactive applet:

 

Fun creating a Flash Animation for a 3D image in 3D!



Today I spent quite a few hours building “blocks” (cubes) from scratch in Flash and placing them into
3 dimensional space to fill a rectangular prism!

It was a visually interesting problem to try to figure out which cubes to put in first, and
which ones had to be on a higher layer in Flash then the other ones!

Plus I had to try to get them to “fit” into a geometric rectangular prism. (OK, I gave up, they didn’t fit exactly!)

The end product wasn’t too bad though! (this is a JING video taken of just part of the Flash animation)

 

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