This past weekend at CMC North I was fortunate to not only be very engaged in social media work with CMC, but present as well! It was my first time presenting at CMC North so I was very excited. Specifically, my talk was on Math Practice 3- Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. I wanted my talk to start off with showing teachers how to get information into their kids in equitable ways so that the students would have the knowledge needed to construct said arguments – and then I would give them tools to create those arguments.
Things started off well enough but once I started trying to show some of the internet tools, too many people were online and the internet shut off. I lost about 1/4 of the audience due to that, which was understandable – next time I’ll make short screencasts of each tool in order to carry on with the presentation. It’s funny – I used to do that before presentations but didn’t this time because, “it’s never actually happened.”
However I wanted to take a few minutes of your time here to highlight some of the tools that people loved and why I think they’d be great for any classroom:
OpenEd: Formative assessment tool that provides targeted feedback and learning resources based on questions missed. Aside from the fact that it’s my day job, it’s nice to be reminded what a cool thing we have going. We have learning resources (videos, games) aligned to standards of all types (CCSS Math, ELA, NGSS, Social Studies, and fine-grained standards as well now that will be public soon.) that actually get judged over time based on how well students do on an assessment after interacting with the resource. For example, a kid watches a Khan academy video on adding unlike fractions, then takes and assessment on that standard). If they get 100%, the efficacy of the video increases. If they get a 0, it decreases. This leads to a library of resources that intentionally isn’t the largest out there, but is curated and we think is the best. Plus, our formative assessments do more than just test, they help teach.
H5p: I’ve written about H5p before, but it’s an interesting suite of assessment and interactive tools written in HTML5 so thus platform-agnostic. The tools I was showing off this weekend were the text tools that let students fill in the blanks – great for developing sentence frames for geometry examples, proofs or other areas where helping scaffold student understanding can come from text-based. Putting an image up on my screen for example and then allowing students to discuss/define the attributes of that shape or even move further along in a proof. Another great way that I’ve used tools like it before would be for the Interactive Video type – have students create a screencast describing how they solved a problem etc, and insert questions addressed to other students to help them along as well. I would grade the students questions ask to their peers as well as the content itself – we can often learn much more about what a student understands by the questions they ask then the answers they give.
Recap: When I was doing work with Fresno Unified’s Teaching Channel initiative, I became a big fan of the Swivl Company for their hardware and software to make capturing teachers teaching easier. So it’s only natural that their student-focused software is interesting as well. Essentially it makes it easy for teachers to ask questions, students to respond via a 30 second video, and the teacher can then comment further if desired. I haven’t had an actual class to try it in is the problem, but my students (who are teachers) at Fresno Pacific have loved it as I’ve introduced it to them. What i think I like most is the capturing of student voice when possible – no barriers really to get kids at least talking and then the mathematics discussion will come. If someone from Recap reads this – please reach out about an API agreement!
We had a great time of practice – some teachers already made sample H5p elements for their classrooms for the following week! My reviews pointed out some flaws in how I presented – I should have had portions pre-recorded for example so if the internet went out I’d have a backup – I was happy that people were honest as well. What I want to do next year is come up with a new presentation for next year that is focused on one particular math problem/three act task and then shows a variety of methods of assessment around it!