Thursday, April 28, 2011

Woo hoo! Geogebra!

Thanks to Kate Nowak, and also to Guillermo Bautista, I was finally able to embed this geogebra worksheet! All the instructions for how to do this can be found at both their sites, which are both BRILLIANT!

I know I can probably get it to be a lot prettier, but for now here it is, and here's how you work it:

All you have to do is drag the point B around the circumference of the circle, and you will see something cool emerge, then drag the point D around, and another cool thing will emerge. You can also clean up between draggings with the reset button.


Sorry, the GeoGebra Applet could not be started. Please make sure that Java 1.4.2 (or later) is installed and active in your browser (Click here to install Java now)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Airbus-sized ego?

On Good Friday, my husband and I noticed a large crowd gathered at the corner of our street, all eyes focussed on the sky. By the way, we live across from a runway. We ventured into the crowd, and as it turned out, a ginormous airplane was about to land at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Airport. We got front-row seats of the landing! Here is one of the photos my quick-thinking husband took of the behemoth (the plane, not my hair):

Me and the Airbus!

As we were waiting for it to arrive, we met a nice couple, and as usually happens during the course of introductions, we all ended up saying what we do for a living. When I tell people that I teach online, there are two types of reactions: smile-and-nod, or wow.

Usually it's the first type of reaction, that says please don't say anymore, I really regret asking you what you do, I don't get it and it sounds way over my head so I'll just slowly back up. This comes from people who are, I think, intimidated by technology, or perhaps just plain bored by it and everyone who loves it. I don't expect everyone to be fascinated by me or what I do, I get it, not everyone gets how fabulous I am, or how awesome my job is. Cue Audrey, change the subject. Gee, maybe my ego is oversized, kind of like that airbus.

Fortunately, that didn't happen while we were waiting for the airbus to land. I got the wow one this time. These people actually wanted to know how it worked, who I taught, etc etc. Talk about Good Friday!
What happens when you tell someone you blog?

It's the same when I tell people that I blog. Does anyone else get this, or is it just me?

There's a congealed smile, and a look that says "Oh you're THAT type." It comes from the belief that people who blog are somehow self-centered and egotistical. I know that's what they are thinking, because that's how I used to feel. It probably came from the typical way bloggers are portrayed in pop culture, as morons who assume the world is fascinated by every minute detail of their lives, including when they go to the bathroom. People who tweet are portrayed the same way. The movie "Julie and Julia" went a long way to turn that around, but not everyone saw the movie, unfortunately.

I think bloggers blog because:
  • We have found something about which we are passionate. Hopefully, it is also something we are good at, as Sir Ken Robinson talks about here:
  • Ken Robinson on Passion from The School of Life on Vimeo.
  • We are compelled to express ourselves. I started blogging because it felt like my head was about to burst. I needed a place to put all these thoughts, questions, ideas, feelings that kept swirling around in my head. It felt like there were themes to it all, connections that I could make if I could only organize it somehow. And putting all of it down somewhere that only I had access to just didn't seem good enough, because then it would end there.
  • We love to write. And to read! And the two things go together just like teaching and learning - sometimes it's hard to distinguish one from the other. Reading inspires me to write, writing helps me figure out what I think, thinking points me toward what I want to learn next, then I'm back to reading.
  • We like being published. It's way easier to be published now than about 10 years ago. It definitely gives one a sense of empowerment, that with one click I can make myself known to people all over the world!
  • It is exciting to find out that someone in India, or Australia, or South Africa has read your post!
  • We need to connect with other people. Comments are the lifeblood of blogging, because that's how we connect. I think that's the part that those people simply won't get until they have experienced it.
Sometimes it feels like the posts write themselves. Like the ideas and turns-of-phrase are sort of floating around waiting for someone to pluck them down and give them substance.

Anyway, the airbus is supposed to land here every Friday afternoon now, so I and my ego and my hair will be there again. All else aside, it is just unbelievable how such huge things can fly!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Photo taken by my friend Lisa Woo, who teaches phys ed in Thailand. She was at a conference in Hyderabad last weekend and snapped this:

I would change a few:

B: blog
H: hyperlink
F: flipped class
O: online
V: vimeo, or voki
W: wimba

But this poster works too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Flipped Class Webinar

After attending this great webinar yesterday, which was hosted by Jonathan Bergman and Aaron Sams, I sat down and tried to organize my thoughts. First, some snippets of what I heard, to the best of my memory:
  • Jonathan, about the flipped model: "This is the magic bullet for differentiation."
  • Aaron said that in their first year, they had everyone more or less doing the same thing at the same time, then it evolved over the years into what it is today, mastery, self-paced, active
  • On a weekly basis, this is what happens: Monday the teacher gives the class the current week's benchmarks, then every Friday gives marks based on how much of the assigned tasks each student has satisfactorily completed. 
  • During the week, the teacher roams around the room and talks with each kid, informally, to assess their progress
  • How to monitor progress without collecting every single thing the students do: the teacher can tell during the daily walk-arounds who is copying, who is working, who is struggling, and can then redirect kids who need it when they need it, by saying ok by now you should be here so today you are doing this
  • Students take tests using Moodle, and if they get 75% or better, thay can move on to another unit
  • Noise can be an issue for kids taking tests - well it won't be in the virtual class!
  • Students can do an alternate assessment if they can't get 75% on test
  • moodle can generate a different test for each kid, even though it covers the same topics, which helps guard against cheating
  • Aaron said that there is some debate about whether or not each teacher should make their own videos, or use some kind of a "master" video
  • Katie (Jonathan's daughter and student) said that copying (cheating) still happens, like in any class, but she still thinks this is a better way to learn
  • Anyone who goes to this June's conference gets a free copy of Camtasia!
  • Jonathan said that he could never go back to lecturing.
What occurs to me about my own experience so far: 
  • re: my discomfort with the quiet, not being sure what they're doing: the walk-around that Jon & Aaron can do in the brick and mortar class takes care of this, so instead of me waiting around for my students to come to me with questions, I will go to them one at a time and ask what they're doing, get informal assessments each day - if they won't initiate the conversation, then I will. Kind of my job.
  • I need to get me some moodle
  • I need to make my voicethreads shorter
  • ....or my camtasia podcasts, if I can get my hands on that software
  • Looking at what Jon and Aaron have put together over the years, as a team, for each unit...stunning and scary's going to take me years to build the kind of system these pioneers have. I need banks of activities, all my lessons taped one way or another, a system for checking off who's done what and when, a marking system, everything packaged, a new website to house all this....a fantastic challenge but very exciting!
  • I'm so glad I tried this now instead of at the beginning of the school year, when there is just too much going on. Next year, I'll be able to start off doing this and improve even more as the year goes on. It would have been too overwhelming in September.
  • In fact, this is the time of year when I am typically running out of steam, and instead, I am energized and excited about the possibilities that are out there! Today I spent time trying to embed a geogebra dynamic worksheet in my blog, and even though I haven't gotten it to work yet, it's another thing to look forward to. Unheard of in April!
  • I still want to continue the classblog, but one thing at a time. I had initially thought that it would be harder to have a scribe type blog with flipping, because everyone's doing something different, but it seems that overall the kids are at the same place more or less, so it should still be doable. In fact, it might help keep up the pace for everyone.
  • I've had to do a few lectures since starting this, due to this and that, like one day only 1 kid had watched the voicethread in Tech Sci Math. And boy was I bored giving that lecture. Which has to mean my kids were, too. This is not how I want to teach anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time.
I don't think there's any going back for me either.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Try this! I dare you!

This is what I did instead of corrections. Hey, you gotta live, you know?

And now it occurs to me that this is a good way to illustrate the concept of a locus...after all, this is the locus of my finger!

Anyone can try to draw the locus too. Just do this:
  • click "comment" (you may be asked to join voicethread - all they want is an email and username so they can assign you an avatar)
  • click "record"
  • click one of the pretty palette colours
  • click the play button (lower left hand corner of video window - only appears when you move your mouse there)
  • try to follow my finger with your mouse!
  • click "save" if you're happy with it, or "cancel" if you're not
Fun Audrey shall now get back to her corrections.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Flipping with Fun Audrey

Amazing and weird things are happening!

There are two of me now. One of me does all the work, and the other one has all the fun. The workhorse me does the delivery of the content, and then fun me gets to do the fun stuff with my kids. The workhorse is voicethread Audrey, and then in class I am Fun Audrey. I like being Fun Audrey.

For example, voicethread Audrey shows them that the equations of the asymptotes of the hyperbola are:

....but Fun Audrey gives them three different hyperbolas:

....asks them to find their asymptotes' equations, and surprise, surprise, they all have the same asymptotes!...It's the ratio of b:a that influences the slope...and now that they know the same asymptotes can belong to many different hyperbolas, I can give them this:
...and feign astonishment when I say".... "What? Which hyperbola, you say? Well, what else do I need to tell you so that you'll know which one I mean..." Now they know something about the hyperbola that voicethread Audrey would have taken 10 times as long to show, and that only one tenth of them would have gotten anyway.

Oh yes....Fun Audrey is having fun!

More thoughts:
  • I don't think I am covering the content faster, but it sure seems like I am covering it better. I have more class time, for sure.
  • But someone is paying for this extra time by getting less time to do something else. Who is paying and how much is it costing? Are they doing less written work than pre-flip? Are there some who are doing more work than they've done all year?
  • My two J's continue to REALLY astonish me, no feigning here. There is no denying that they are learning more, working more, and participating more since I started this. Can't wait to see what their next tests are like.
  • As I mentioned, I am having fun. Hopefully, I am not the only one. Soon time to poll. Or blog.
  • At the very least, they are now getting two chances to get the content. I used to tell them over and over that most people need to listen to a lesson twice before they really get it. And I always made the recorded lesson available to them right after class, but very few actually listened to it a second time, even if they didn't understand. Now, by the time we're in class, anything I say in relation to the content is already the second pass. Theoretically.
  • If I were a first-year teacher, there would be no Fun Audrey, maybe not even a voicethread Audrey. Because first-years don't already have a huge bank of powerpoints that they can just polish up and upload to voicethread. I do. Because I am also.....Powerpoint Audrey!
Looking forward to the flipped class webinar Monday! Fun Audrey will be there!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Keeping track of student progress in the flipped class

Sci math:

Today I decided to give as much class time as possible to letting them get through their work. SO first I spent a few minutes going over questions on yesterday's voicethread, and pointed out a mistake in one of the slides - which was discovered by Juan, and which he commented on right in the voicethread. Virtual nods all around..."oh yeah I thought so too but I wasn't sure". Fabulous. Maybe next time I should plant a mistake or two and tell them to find it. Hmmmmmm......interesting.

Anyway, after that, it was Hammer time. Here's the work you have to get done, kids, have at it!

Then.........chirp...chirp....aaaaaaannnnnnd it's too quiet for me I'm going out of my mind.

Adapting flipping to the online class:

I'm feeling a bit insecure about who's getting what done during our class time, because, as I've mentioned, I can't actually see my students. I have tried a few things to track them:
  •  getting them to private message me twice about where they are - at the beginning and the end of our work time. What's making me insecure is that in between those two times, I get a few questions, from the kids I usually get questions from, which is great, but most of them I don't hear anything from. Worries me. Are they doing nothing? Or worse, are they doing something, getting stuck, moving on, and forgetting about it? And not asking me for help? Not a problem in my keener beaner class though, they are math terminators!
  • I posted at the classblog "What did you do today?" a couple of times, and asked them to reply by telling me everything they've done. Not all did, so that's one more thing I would have to do a checklist of, not only the work, but the post about the work. Don't like that idea.
  • I know I could just get them to hand in EVERYTHING, but, well, geez. I'm just one woman.
Which leads me to this deep thought:

What occurs to me as I ponder this is that making them report on themselves, however I do it, might be something big. It makes me think of the principle that measuring something usually changes how much of that something there is.

For example, in order to watch my fat and salt intake, I keep a log of what I eat, along with the fat and salt totals for the day. I have found over the years that the act of writing down what I eat not only keeps track of what I eat, but it influences what I eat. It makes me behave better, because as much as I love to eat a Big Mac and fries, I hate to write down the horrible numbers that go with them. So I might still eat food that's bad for me, but way less often than I would without the log.

Maybe something like that could happen if they had to write down what they've completed. Because they will not want to have nothing to write. And not just because they know that I will be looking at the log, but also because they know that it will be there tomorrow and the next day for THEM to look at. They could potentially become more motivated to work, to get organized, to take responsibility for their own learning.

And if I can come up with an easy way for them to do this...maybe a googledocs checklist type of thing? I'll have to check that out. I know how to do the online quiz with googledocs, which generated an excel file that showed me, and only me, who answered what for each question. Seems like there must be a way to tweak that into an online checklist.

And hey, that would be useful for anyone, online teacher or not, no?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Flip day 3:

First off, I have to say, that I am still using most of my class time getting them all to do the same thing at the same time. I am getting them ALL to do stuff on the board simultaneously, and then getting their observations, comparisons etc. This is a big change from my usual lecturing, but I know it is not the mastery learning model, wherein they pace themselves. I am reluctant to just let them work on their own at their own pace the whole time, because I can't see them. Until I come up with a way that I can do THAT online, that's how it's gonna be. Besides, they still have the rest of the class to do their "homework', which they are now referring to as "classwork".

But in the meantime, these classes are so much fun! We talk about so many little details that in the past maybe a small percentage of kids would have gotten, like today Raph asked "Is it possible to write the equation of a circle to make it look like an ellipse?" I've never had that question before, but I sure have shown examples like that in past years, with no idea if anyone got it or cared about it.

Tech Sci Math:

EVERYBODY watched the lesson this time, even one girl who was absent yesterday. I spent the lesson giving them plenty of brain and eboard exercise drawing angles - radians, degrees, positive, negative, big, small, you name it They had a workout like never before, and they ALL know what they're doing. J is unrecognizeable. I used to have to wait forever for him to respond to anything I asked, and he always claimed it was his computer. No computer problems this week, suddenly. Could this have happened without flipping? Probably, but I don't know how.
This class has been a real problem for me in the sense that they are SOOOOOO quiet. Very hard to get them to participate in any way, shape, or form. This week has been very different, though. Is it because of flipping? Well at least indirectly, yes, because I have had to come up with better class activities as a result of flipping. But they are so much keener than they have ever been, and it's because they get it! That HAS to be because they have the time to listen and re-listen.

Tonight they're watching this one:

Sci Math early class:

All but one listened, and that was due to bad internet at home. In this class, there are 2 or 3 who have been the main participaters, but again, this week, everyone's hopping. Still hearing more from J, she is a real bonafide member of class now, drawing right along with the rest of them, with no prompting from me. Stunning me. Also had lots of opportunities to correct little mistakes around the class, and even get good at using the ellipse drawing tool, which reinforced the procedure for graphing.

Sci Math Keener-Beaner class:

Everyone listened to the lesson, and we even had time to investigate how to get conics showing up on the TI calculator without using the Conics app:

I have tried to fit this kind of thing in in the past, but this time it just happened. We even got to why does the circle look like an ellipse in standard zoom, but not in square zoom! I cannot honestly think of a downside to this. This really is amazing so far!

Tonight they are listening to this one:

On the topic of voicethreads:

I finally organized my students into their classes within the school voicethread site, and my voicethreads as well. It was getting a bit crowded on my voicethread homepage what with all these recorded lessons. Classes are called groups on voicethread, and once you have your kids in groups, it gives you another way to give your kids access to the voicethread you want them to watch. It's amazing how quickly I can learn how to do something when I am ready to learn. Have to keep that in mind for my students as well.

And about the McGoldblog:

Nothing new here, except for the laTex editor. Will get back to getting a scribe poster, especially since now they can make it look so pretty.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Flip day 2:

Tech Sci Math:

1/4 listened to the voicethread. C didn't have time, M didn't have internet at home, and R didn't know she had to do that. But the good news, in fact great news, is that the one kid who did listen, is the last one I would have expected to! J always has an excuse for not handing things in, not doing homework...etc. So yay on that! He said he found it easy and he and his dad watched it together and figured it out. Sniff. Weeping.

So, change of plans, instead of giving them the work to do in class, I did the first half of the lesson (important angles in the unit circle) in class. I offered J the option to instead do the assigned work so that he doesn't have to listen again. He chose to listen again. NOTE TO SELF: Must ask him if he found that listening the second time was at all helpful - did he notice anything that he didn't the first time around! Or understand anything better the 2nd time around?

After getting through all the angles in degrees, I stopped teaching and had them fill in the angles from memory, individually, in breakout rooms. Interesting to watch them work. Some did them in ascending order, some by first doing the quadrantals, then the 45's, etc. Having this opportunity to watch them doing something was great for me, and it was great for them to organize all this info in a way that makes sense for them. I watched as J made a mistake, then self-corrected. Dried my eyes and moved on.

Now they have to listen to the rest of that lesson for homework, which is all about the same angles, only in radians. Tomorrow I plan to do the same BOR activity in class. So even though only 1 kid did what he was supposed to do, it worked out ok.

Sci Math classes:

Due to a minor glitch, the voicethread lesson (on introduction to the ellipse) was only available to them to view as of 8 pm last night (my permissions weren't set properly - don't know why). In today's early class, only 2/11 kids had listened to it. Interestingly, one of these kids is another notorious non-worker. Whose name also starts with J.....In the other class, the super duper keeners, 6/7 listened to it nevertheless. Wild horses couldn't keep these kids from doing their math homework.

Again, plan B for the early class, did the lesson, and offered the option of getting the work done to the ones that did listen. They chose to listen a 2nd time as well. Glory be - this J, who never, ever says one word in class, was answering and participating just great. It was like I had a new student in my class!

For the super keener class, I spent the first half of the class with all of them drawing on the eboard. Gave them each a section of the board with their initials:

...then told them to graph, as best they can, an ellipse with a major axis length of 6 and a minor axis length of 4. Got this:

...which led to the following discussion topics: (I shut up really well here)
  • do any of these fit the description of maj = 6 and min = 4
  • should everyone have the same exact ellipse (scaling, orientation)
  • what made FL draw it that way (I am not human, was his explanation)
Next had them do it again, draw the foci inside their own ellipse, pick any point on the ellipse, draw the focal radii, find the sum of the focal radii, etc etc, just kept on getting them to compare their own work with everyone else to see what they had in common or not. I just found that having this time to process with them, instead of just business as usual, allowed me to be more creative with my questions.

Like suddenly I thought of this: I asked them: Suppose I took a string, fixed its two ends here, and drew this ellipse:

and then I took the same string, and moved its ends closer together like this:

1. Will the resulting ellipse be the same or different?
2. How will it be different?

There was quite a difference of opinion about exactly how it would be different. Rich discussion, might even have someone tomorrow who actually tried it!

My impression of flipping as of now:

Pro: better class activity, feels more productive, feel more connected to them due to questions answered as needed, some kids are watching lessons twice which is what they needed in the first place
Con: feel a bit disconnected from the content in a way, takes a lot of time to do the recording - lots of retakes, tech issues at home can grind it all to a halt

I am probably not spending enough time letting them go at their own pace, though, which is a key feature of flipping. Will work on it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Followup on first full flip

First the facts:
  • In Sci Math, out of 18 kids, 14 watched the lesson before class. In Tech Sci math, 6 out of 8 watched. All those who didn't had technical reasons.
  • I spent the first 10-15 minutes of Sci Math class (they're the ones that have the classbog already) showing them the online latex thingy and giving them a chance to try it out (Got some really pretty posts!)
  • I spent the first 15 minutes or so showing Tech Sci math our new classblog (they haven't been blogging, but by gum, they soon will be)
  • I gave them all a chance to ask any questions they had on the lesson, and there were about as many questions on that as I usually get when I used to ask "Are there any homework questions?" which is not very many. Raph said "I had a question but then I figured it out" Aha! Must be because she had time to and she didn't have me to ask!
  • gave a few warmup questions
  • gave the assigned work - pretty standard stuff from the text
  • asked them to check their answers (This is what I expect them to do with normal homework, so why not?)
  • spent the rest of the time answering individual questions, taking kids into break out rooms individually as needed
  • had the next day's lesson and accompanying notes at the ready for anyone who finished early - only one did, but hey I was ready for him!
  • At the end of the period, I asked the blogging class to respond to my blog post called "So what did you do today?" to help me keep track of where they all are. We'll see how many remember....The non-blogging class - well, I am in the process of creating one for them at edublogs. I had totally forgotten that I created this one a year ago and abandoned it in frustration when it seemed too complex for me! A year ago!
  • theirs: Voicethread comments:
  • Juan: I really liked the idea of doing the lesson at home, and then the work in class. My only doubt would be if the lessons start getting harder, maybe we would need some help, but then again, we have class to ask. This lesson was super clear and I'm looking forward to review this lesson in class. :]
  • Kris: I agree with jaun that  the lesson was clear and i understand it very well but i would also question that when the material begins to get harder and the questions become more difficult then i may have more trouble understanding the lesson and picking up the fine bits of it but so far so good:)
  • Abigail: I found that this twist is interesting where we do lessons at home and homework in class. The lesson was well explained, I like the how miss used a format of going showing back the slide after she explained it.
    • About Abigail's comment - there is a great new feature, called M5, in voicethread, that makes using voicethread to record a lesson WAY easier. They just added it like 2 months ago. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!
    • some (didn't do a full survey) found that getting through the lesson on their own went faster than our usual 50 minute class.
  • mine:
    • pretty quiet class!
    • I'm pretty busy though, answering questions that are coming in privately
    • I LOVE helping them out individually. My help feels SO much more effective, when it's delivered as needed
    • So far the kids that are asking for help are the same ones that usually do.
    • too calm somehow, and I am sure I will have to have a variety of activities in class, not just individual work, but group stuff
    • Overall, I loved it!
Final deep thought:

I am thinking tonight of all the times a kid has said to me "Miss I get it when you do it in class, but at home I just stare at it and don't even know where to begin".  I hope at least one of those kids is going to ask me for help during class and change things around.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Math notation!!! Math symbols!!!!! AT LAST!!!

Thanks to Powerful Learning practices for pointing me to this easy-to-use online LaTex editor:

So happy that I just typed away randomly, I know it makes no sense, I don't care, it's just so beautiful!

It even works on wordpress, so now my classblog posts can look cooler!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tomorrow's "homework" on voicethread

As of this moment, the only voice on this is mine. As time goes on, of course, student voices MIGHT be added:

Flipping, Voicethread, and Sakai

I jonied a ning that is for teachers who are flipping their classes - "The Flipped Class Network" - a great place to get advice and ideas! I feel like a bit of an imposter, though, because so far I haven't done the true, full flipping of the class. Last week, I had taught a lesson on degrees vs radians, and didn't quite finish all the slides. The leftover slides were all they had to look at on their own. But those leftover slides were just worked out examples. Not really the meat of the lesson, and there was no teacher voice to guide them.

Now to try the true, full flip. To record a lesson, have them listen to it on their own for homework, then spend class time the next day doing assignments/activities, going at their own pace, getting help as they require it from me or from a peer.

Step 1: Recording
To do the recording, many people seem to use Cantasia or some other type of software, but I think I will just use voicethread. I have everything I need right there to display the slides and record my voice, writing, etc, plus the kids all have their own voicethread accounts, so they don't have to upload anything, I can just give them the link like I usually do.  One advantage voicethread has over other recording software is that while they listen and watch the lesson, they will have the option of commenting with questions, or by answering someone else's already-recorded question. So by the time we get together the next day, I will potentially already know what their questions or issues were, and we can get to the doing part of the learning...

Step 2: Wiki-ing
From what I've read, the idea is to have them go to a wiki to find out what their assigned work is, get files they need, and upload their completed work. There are more things assigned than most can get done in a day, so their paths begin to diverge as the week goes on. Once they have completed a certain body of work, they listen to the next lesson and repeat the cycle. I don't yet have a wiki of my own, but we do have Sakai, which for the time being will perform the same function. It is what is called, I believe, a CMS - content management system - that is used by my organization.

Questions/issues I will be posting for the ning folks:
  • I must have to set a time limit of some kind? Like they all have to be at a certain minimum place by a certain time?
  • Are answers made available along with the assigned work, so that students can self-correct and then move on, or does the teacher correct?
  • Can anyone really do this ALL the time? Brian Bennett said that his students felt they preferred to have a regular lecture once a week to feel secure.
  • I need to find a way to be able to see what they're doing while they're doing it, since I don't have the luxury of face-to-face. I don't want to only see the finished product, which they could do at home and then spend class time doing zip. Possible ways to deal with that:
    • design activities that can be done right on the eboard in a breakout room which means minimal handwriting needs to be involved, since most don't have a wacom pen.
    • tell them to keep checking in with me about where they are in their work
    • stop everyone every so often and have a discussion or a round of private message anwers to key questions, which is the strategy many of us online teachers use to see who's working. This assumes everyone is going at more or less the same pace, though...
    • have them use their cellphones to take shots of work in progress
    • I could make a Skype video call and have them show me their work. Probably not enough bandwidth for that though. Hmmmm....something for my class checklists - who has a cell with a camera, and who has skype with a webcam...
    • Have them blog about what they're doing...assuming the flipped class is the same one that is blogging, which is the Gr 11 Science Math.
Like anything else, you just have to do it, jump in the pool, and see what happens!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


If you have never heard of EDTECHHULK, allow me to introduce you. Here are a few of his tweets:

I first came upon him when Dan Meyer tweeted this:

This guy makes me laugh just about every day. Not just because he is hilarious, but because I often see myself as a bit of a hulk when it comes to edtech. Because it can make me:
  • feel hopelessly far behind when I read about another new thing
  • green with envy of people who seem to intuitively know how new things work
  • unable to understand what anyone is talking about when they say things like RSS, or LDAP, or hashtag, or ....
  • ask unimagineably stupid questions like "What is RSS?" or "What is LDAP?"
  • easily upset when I still don't understand, even after I go to google or wikipedia and the definition uses other non-words I don't understand
  • instantly high-blood-pressured when I try something new and it doesn't work the first time, or it's totally non-intuitive and makes my head hurt
  • prone to violent outbursts directed toward said edtech, usually my poor computer, or the poor person who is within smashing range
Oh yes, I understand you my friend. If you are edtechhulk, then I am edtechhulkette. Except everyone knows who I am.

But really, who is EDTECHHULK?

I wonder if he will ever reveal his true identity to the world. Is he a teacher or an administrator? I think teacher. Does he love technology or hate it? I think he loves it when it helps and when it works well. And what about gender? Might be a female, after all, there is no comic book female equivalent to The Hulk. Does he/she sit at meetings, get angrier and angrier, then count the seconds until it's time to transform and tweet as EDTECHHULK?

Whoever he/she is, I certainly count the seconds till the next I hear from our friend, who I suspect is more Cookie Monster than Hulk.