1. The original QuickQuistion Interface (QQI) Activities are undergoing an upgrade to make them more streamlined and user friendly. They still function in the same way as always. The purpose of them is to generate a random question on the given topic, mainly for use at the front of the classroom. Once the class has had an opportunity to work out the answer, the correct answer can be revealed, and discussions of mistakes can take place. This activity is particularly good for use with Mini-Whiteboards, and for Assessment for Learning, as you can quickly identify which students cannot answer the questions. These can also be used by students to practice themselves as the new versions provide a space to enter your answer and check them.
I have previously posted that I was in the process of making Mobile Friendly versions of my QQI Activities, but as I got started on this, I realised the potential for an upgrade to the whole system.
I have just started a new job in an international school in Peru, and I am taking the opportunity to try out the Flipped Classroom. It is something I have dabbled in with previous classes (mainly creating videos for revision purposes for my classes), but this year I am embarking on it for a whole year with my Year 10 equivalent class. There are 4 members of the department who are trying the method out this year as part of a collaborative project which is part of our CPD.
So far we have done Algebraic Fractions, and I have been using educreations to create a series of videos on explaining the methods to the students, which they are watching at home.
It is still very early days (only two weeks in), but so far, I have to say that I am finding it very useful to allow me to have time in class to actually help the students and see what they can (and cannot) do. I will be asking the students for feedback on the method soon as well, to get an idea of how they feel about it.
This is going to be an ongoing project for at least a year, and I am looking forward to exploring the possibility of getting students to be more independent and proactive in their learning.
My plan is to not only make use of the QQI activities in the classroom as I have been doing regularly since I started making them, but now I can also direct my students to the site to practice in their own time.
The Mobile Versions of the activities will work on any device, be it a computer, mac, iPhone, Android, tablet, iPad, or even an iPod Touch. This means that no matter what device students have they can access the activity and get as much practice as they need!
Also, the new activities have a much better mathematical typeset than the Flash versions, which will help students get used to the way mathematics is typed.
I have also included a box for students to type their answers, and have them checked, before revealing the answer, which gives them the opportunity to correct their mistakes.
Finally, I have also converted the 10QQI activities as well, which gives the students 10 questions to have a go at on that particular topic. Again, these are now mobile friendly, and are a great quick homework. Tell students to do a set of ten with some set conditions, and then get them to print screen and email you their answers (all devices have a print screen function, for apple products it is the "off" button and the "main" button at the same time). This way all students can do the 10 questions.
I am still in the process of converting the different activities. If a mobile version exists, then there is a link to it from the original QQI page, and if visited from a mobile device, you will be redirected to that page automatically. You can also find them on the QQI Index and 10QQI Index as they have a link to the mobile activity next to the main link.
Please do let me know what you think about these new mobile activities, and send me any information about how you make use of them with your classes.
I like to use videos in lessons when they are appropriate. They can be great for explaining a key concept, showing students some extension material, or even setting them a problem. There are lots of places to find great videos online for use in the Maths classroom, and in trying to keep track of these, I have started a spreadsheet with links to them.
Below is a viewable copy of the spreadsheet with the links I have added so far. Feel free to use these videos in your own teaching. But to make this even better, why not add some of your own videos to the list using this link.
Hopefully this can become a really useful list that Maths teachers around the world can make use of! Enjoy.
I am going to start by saying that I do not think that this idea is perfect for all, and it certainly shouldn't be used to replace other homework types. However, I have trialled using Google Forms for a term with a class, and the results have been good. I will detail what I did, and my thoughts on this experiment in this blog post.
With the class I decided to trial this with, I set them at least one of their two homeworks a week using Google Forms (and sometimes both homeworks). This involved me initially setting up the Google Form (see my previous blog post for details). For each, I also set up an email response for the form, which gave the students a copy of their answers. Although this took more time to set up than just setting a homework from the homework books, it did have many advantages over the tradtional way of setting homework. Also, now that they are set up, I can reuse them with other classes. For the vast majority of the homeworks, I did not come up with my own questions, but rather used the questions from the homework book that I would otherwise have set them.
From my point of view as the teacher, there were several benefits to this type of homework:
From the point of view of my students, there were also several benefits:
There were some downsides to using Google Forms, and something I will change in the future:
Overall, I had a very positive experience using Google Forms to set homeworks. Despite more work to initially set up the homework, the amount of menial marking was drastically reduced, and it gave me significantly more time to focus on each individuals learning and needs. I will definitely continue to use this as a way to set homeworks, and extend it to more of my classes.
With open day fast approaching, it has been that time of the year when all the displays get a revamp. I like to do lots of posters and displays anyway, but in the run up to Open Day, I wanted to something a little bit special. And this year I devises a project for my Year 7 class which ran over a couple of weeks on the different types of numbers.
We had started by looking at various types of numbers, starting with the usual suspects such as Primes, Factors, Multiples, etc. But we diverged into some other nice types of numbers as well, such as Perfect Numbers and Happy Numbers. I used this PowerPoint (shown below) to deliver the lessons, and talk through the different properties.
I have used Google Docs in a very limited manner previously, but on the recent TSM course I was shown the real power of using them. All you need is a Google account, and you can then create documents, spreadsheets and presentations in the Google Drive area of your account. My initial understanding of this was that it was a bit like every other cloud based storage system: you can access you documents from anywhere, and share them with certain people.
But Google Docs goes one above this. Using Google Docs you can all edit the same document at the same time! No more "read only" copies because somebody else is working on the document. And you can also instantly see the updates that others have made.
Now clearly Google Docs has huge potential for the admin side of things in teaching (as in any other profession). For example, a shared scheme of work will continue to grow and adapt as all teachers in a department (or indeed between schools) can easily add items and resources they have found useful (and if needed the HoD can remove editing writes for a period as well).
But Google Docs can be used for so much more than this. You can have students collaborate on projects easily, submit work by sharing a document and so much more. A few places for more information are given below:
In this post though, I am going to focus on using Google Forms, and how we can simply edit them to make them even more powerful. There are several elements we shall discuss:
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend the TSM Conference at Keele University, hosted by the wonderful Douglas Butler and the Autograph team. The conference is a 3 day residential course, where the focus is on using technology in the classroom to aid in the teaching of mathematics. This is done through two 6 hour workshops, each focussing on different things. The two workshops that I chose were "Laptops and Mobiles" and "Autograph in the Classroom".
Nothing can compare with actually going to this conference, and the number of ideas I picked up was amazing. In this post, I am going to run through some of the ideas that jumped out to me the most.
The Other Parts
I opted in for the optional session on becoming an Autograph Trainer, which included lots of little tips on how to use Autograph to its best, and also how to run a training session. For a two hour session, there were so many ideas that it certainly got me thinking straight away. Some of the most useful buttons (some of which I didn't know about before, and others that I hadn't realised the full potential of) are shown below:
There are a lot of Autograph resources and links for those who want to learn more, including a huge amount of video tutorials, available at the TSM website.
I am a maths teacher looking to share good ideas for use in the classroom, with a current interest in integrating educational research into my practice.