Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Time to look at something new...

I was watching TV the other day when a commercial completely halted the work that I was trying to get done. First off, Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bell-Air was the “star” of the commercial, and that makes everything better. Secondly, the commercial seemed like something that could have been used to advertise for the program we are a part of. Education needs to catch up the technology and teachers need to be able to adjust to using the technology in the learning process.

On a completely separate note, after spending more time blog hopping I came across 2¢ Worth, which caught my eye if only for the title, and then drew me in for a post on matrix codes. It’s the math geek in me that looks at stuff like this and gets interested for the math reference. From what I read in the article matrix codes are 2-D scan codes, similar to but more complex than a bar code. The author of the article commented on the current uses of the matrix codes, but was unsure how to use the codes educationally. I’m not sure if I would be any better at finding educational uses for the matrix codes, but it was interesting to see what might be coming down the technology pipeline.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Online Math Help Sites...

While looking for sites this week to share, I meandered into this collection of math help sites. While I know not everyone will be able to use this information, I figure pretty much every subject area probably has some kind of help sites online. For the couple of us who may use the site for ourselves or our students, use and enjoy. (Memo to me: Abstract Algebra is not the class that I have taught for 11 years. Oh man, have I lost a lot of my upper level math skills.)

So within the math help sites I found a site that gives a tutorial for finding online resources for any number of different subject areas. I've worked through part of the math tutorial and I've found a few sites that are worth a second look, even though I'm not in college or teaching a college course.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Online learning resources...

One of the great things about meeting each day with one of the math teams is that we can discuss things that are coming up and how we are going to tackle them. One of the major issues for my school right now is the impending laptop rollout. We were discussing how we were each planning on integrating the laptops and technology into our classes. Most of us are stumped because while all of the freshmen will have their laptops, most of us do not have freshmen only classes. So how does one use a 1:1 laptop rollout when over half of the class does not have laptops? (I am looking for suggestion, if you happen to have any…)

One of my colleagues shared a website that gives tips on how to use technology in the classroom. The website seems like it might have been originally designed for long distance college courses. But it goes through and list out ways to use technology that appeal to the different learning styles students have. Even though all of my students don’t have laptops, I’m very interested in seeing how I could use different technologies to reach my students in each learning style.

And in a completely separate note one of my colleagues shared a website where a math professor from Cornell University is going back and trying to give math lessons for adults. It’s an interesting article and I’m looking forward to reading the follow up math lessons to see if there are ways of explaining concepts that would be helpful for my students.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Technology PLC

So as I was looking for a resource for this week’s readings I stumbled onto a Laptop Learning Community in Ning. It’s an online learning community that seems to support teachers who are currently teaching in a laptop environment or teachers who are interested in finding more information about laptop learning. Being a teacher that will soon be working in a 1:1 laptop I am very interested in seeing how other teachers are able to handle the situation. I would like to be able to look at what other people are doing and even have the possibility of staring a conversation on the site for specific things I would like to look at.

Through the site I found an article about how one school district was able to do a successful laptop rollout. I appreciate that much of what the author of the article said in terms of the laptops being a tool and not the focus of the classroom. I believe that I will be able to gain a lot of insight from this laptop learning community and I hope that my school is eventually as successful with the laptops as this school district seems to be.

Ok I have to soap box for a moment...

I’m in the need for a small rant, and I’m going to try my hardest to rant quickly and then be done.

So here goes…
When did it become ok for people to be bad at math? People, professional people, will laughingly joke about how they can barely balance their checkbooks to anybody who will listen. Parents walk into conferences and make the comment, “Oh, I was never good at math either,” as if math ability is somehow a genetic trait. Teachers and administrators wrinkle up their noses when they hear that I’m a math teacher and will say how much they disliked math in school. I wonder how many of these same people would be just as happy to let the world know that they have trouble reading or never learned to read at all.

I would like people to realize just how much their attitudes are picked up by the people around them. I found this great article about how female elementary teachers really influence their female students’ attitudes about math and the young girls’ math abilities. When I read this I considered how I portray myself as a female math teacher, but also the side comments that I make about other subject areas. I hope that I have not negatively influenced my students about other classes and I’m going to try to be more conscience of what I say in the future.

Rant’s officially over, thanks for reading.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Math stuff...

Show of hands, who wants to meander around the internet reading blogs rather than grading papers? That would be me right now! I realize now how people can lose so much time just wandering around the net. So I started on this great math blog that someone else had posted, from there I just started blog jumping until I got to another site that was math teachers at play. While I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this information in my class I figure if I keep looking at different blogs including this one I’ll be able to get some great ideas to use in my classroom. And since I try to be a nice person to the people I work with I figure I can share what I’m finding with my colleagues.

Friday, January 22, 2010

PLC tools for all

After leaving class on Thursday night I felt really optimistic about this course. I really liked what we did in class and I was even able to see a few ways that I might be able to use something like bookmarks and tags, things I had previously dismissed as less than useful for my classroom.

While searching around the web, I remembered a web site I had heard about at a PLC conference called all things PLC. I wandered around the website and was looking through the articles and research section when I came across this one article that seemed like it was something that might be in one of our syllabi for this program. It’s a great article talking about the need to get information into our schools in a different way. Learning needs to be more engaging for both students and teachers. One way to do this would be to use blogs and wikis in classrooms.

Have another great week!