Geometry toolbox

geometry tools This is a basic online geometry toolbox for IWB and tablet use. I am not a maths teacher so I don’t know how useful it would be. It is recommended on the Teaching Ideas Facebook page and has hundreds of likes and shares so it probably fills a gap which teachers need. If you haven’t yet visited the Teaching Ideas site, then I encourage you to do so because it has so many practical ideas for the classroom. The Mr. Reddy site says this geometry toolbox might not work on mobile devices but if you read the comments on the Teaching Ideas site you can see this has not been as issue. This is the advantage of online sharing. You immediately get feedback about the merits or weaknesses of any pedagogical tools and sites. Mr. Reddy is a site which is designed to bring teaching resources to maths teachers.

Focus on your classroom space

Mr. Jai Gun transforms his classroom for younger students into a colourful and vibrant learning space. He has also put some good thought into how he made this video for us all to see. You can’t help thinking that this man is thinking about his lessons and performance standards as he is renovating his classroom space. It’s based on a creative use of paper and colour but the technology he has available can be seen. In a technology based classroom the whiteboard is usually the centre of attention at least for a good part of the lesson and then the students are using their own technology. You have to make that classroom real estate go to work and use the IWB in different ways for different purposes. There is a good post here from an IWB trainer to show you some basic concepts in rethinking how you use the space on your screen. We could do with more sharing of information as to how teachers use their technology and real spaces. The ways we interact with students using space is an interesting one to explore and would have better pedagogical benefits if we could share and grow ideas about productive uses of screens and rooms.

Google Tour Builder

David Lee explains simply and clearly how to use Google Tour Builder. My year 9s are doing presentations on Quebec and I asked them to try and use Tour Builder to create their assignment and then to talk us through the tour. They had to do it mainly in English but with some French. Tour Builder worked really well on the IWB and this is something which really kept the attention of those watching. Well worth trying out when you have an assignment which Tour Builder can facilitate. It has the sorts of visuals students like and is animated in a way they are used to.

Epson 1400Wi whiteboard projector

Epson Tools I have had a good chance now to use the new Epson board in my classroom. I really like it. I like how you can use the whiteboard function without having to have the laptop connected. I like how it is quick and efficient to connect to the Apple TV and so I have a reliable wifi option for board connection. The tools/utilities are basic but are what most teachers would want and use. I downloaded another set of Epson Tools from the website and they run on my computer. I can run them in French. I think they look a bit classier than the ones supplied and the layout is better. It means I can preprepare material if I want to. I find the downloaded tools are better displayed and have some good options. The pen is effective but the writing is a bit too big for my liking. Students don’t seem to mind a bit. It forces me to think out my classroom delivery better and know very clearly how I shall present the material in steps. All of this can be saved to a USB or my laptop. I can connect a tablet or phone via USB connection to access files so that offers me more options. One of the best features is that I can split the board. I can run a video, my laptop desktop, a doc, an image or a slide presentation on one side and write on the other. This creates a very effective and optimum teaching /learning experience. I can put materials on one side of the board which will help the “live” thinking on the other half of the board. Scaffolding lessons this way has been really appreciated by students and it also means I can teach materials more effectively. Switching from desktop to whiteboard is also very easy whether I am at the board or at my desk. The Epson board has been good at supporting interactive learning. The sound quality is excellent no matter if I run a wired or Apple TV connection and students have valued that. Students also like presenting on the board. The images from their iPads or laptops are very clear, it has encouraged them to use sound more because they can hear how good the sound is and connecting them is easy. I run a VGA lead with adaptors for iPad 2 or 5 and then an HDMI connection to my laptop. Students can then choose iPad or laptop for their presentations. That makes them happy because they like choices and they can prepare presentations according to the devices and options they feel most comfortable with. What I also like about Epson is there is plenty of YouTube and on site support. Not as much as with the Promethean board but Epson is well represented online and that is important. What I now want is a very cool , cutting edge electronic pointer stick for the board – there is a lot of screen real estate there. A hand held electronic pointer would be good but not as fun.

Triptico class trial

I have written about Triptico before  when I first discovered it because I thought it would be a good way to make more and better use of my interactive whiteboard. With technology you need options and choices which meet the needs of students and the day. I like a bit of a change and so do they. I downloaded the free version onto my MacBook and have created resources to test out the available options in the free version. I tried it first with my year 8s. We started with the find 10 because it was easy. They still had to think but it was not too hard. They loved it . I have a big class and they were all concentrating and interested. We moved on to Question/Answer. We did it using the  rows as  teams and they lit up. They were so enthusiastic and, at times, hurting their heads with learning. We allowed the option of cheating a bit with the mobile phone apps I recommended to them earlier this year. They loved that and the game started to lift as did the learning. It is not easy for year 8s to find questions to answers and that is what they are required to do. It was a great way to revise what we had been learning and to consolidate their learning. They wanted to change the rules. I asked them what rules they wanted and today ,when I played the Question /Answer game with them, I had another set of questions and we changed to their rules. They performed really well. Their French was really good and again, they wanted to modify the rules. It made them real partners in learning. I tried it with my year 9s too in a lesson which can often be a bit hard because it is at the end of the day. They loved the Find 10. We then played the Question /Answer according to the year 8 rules but I used it as a vocabulary tester. They did not like the rules. They, too, wanted their own rules . We tried it again with another set of words and the whole big class was totally switched on to learning. They thought it was cool and that it really made them learn. I noticed it brought a number of students out of themselves and they became more confident with their French. I shall use Triptico now for the rest of the term to see what happens. I am confident it will be a success and a set of tools which will help my students learn more effectively in an engaging way. I have found it very easy to make up my own resources and the one thing I can say is that it displays really well on the whiteboard. The colours are clear. The layout makes good use of the board and the very fact students feel confident enough to negotiate their terms of learning is a big plus for any learning resource. It means the students belong to the content and can see the value in learning and then want to work out better ways of learning. Triptico has tools suitable for all subjects. It is well thought out and the tools work!

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