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7|Technology!Projects!

I am very interested in using technology in teaching, in the classroom and outside of the classroom. And lucky for me, my school is a laptop school, where each student and each teacher has a laptop.

At the same time, I am very skeptical of those who embrace the School 2.0 movement unthinkingly. (Technology can be shiny and flashy, but sometimes we get inspired to use it because of the bright lights, and not with students in mind.)

Some resources and examples of my work with technology are below. Some of the projects that I’ve done, that don’t involve so much technology, are also below.

TECHNOLOGY

  1. Continuous Everywhere But Differentiable Nowhere [here], my math teacher blog.
  2. Logarithms, Rational Functions, and Trigonometry: Oh My! [here], a video project designed by me and a co-teacher for our 2007/8 Algebra II students. In a nutshell, in preparation for the final, students were each asked to make a SmartBoard video presentation explaining a basic math concept. The students then had a class-created set of tutorials. (Documentation as well as my reflection on the project, ex post facto, is here.)
  3. Who Invented Calculus?: A Webquest [here and here], assigned in 2009/10 to both sections of my calculus class near the start of the school year. The idea underlying the project was that students signed up for a course on calculus, but didn’t know what the heck calculus actually was! I thought that by researching the history of calculus, they might start developing a picture in their minds about (a) what calculus is and (b) how math is an inherently human endeavor. In addition, many of my students were more successful with their English and history classes in previous year, so I thought I’d tie math to those subjects.
  4. SmartBoards! I use SmartBoard in my classroom everyday. Check out some SmartBoard classroom presentations I’ve made and my thoughts on SmartBoard [here].
  5. A Survey for Math Teachers about Homework [introduced here] was created using GoogleForms and generated 40 responses from teachers everywhere. The results of the survey were posted here.
  6. A List of Teacher and Math Teacher Blogs I Read [here] and My Favorite Posts from Blogs I Read [here]
  7. A Small Algebra II Digital Community. I invited a small group of teachers to upload all their Algebra II teaching documents to box.net, so that we could share and collaborate and ask each other questions. Now we use it as a good repository of Algebra II documents.
  8. Math Photos [here] that I’ve culled from Flickr, useful for making SmartBoard presentations.
  9. Tenth Grade Community Service Blog [password protected, so inaccessible] for students to explain to others what their service entailed, and to reflect upon the work they did (2007/8)
  10. Multivariable Calculus Resource Center [here], created in the Summer of 2008 to archive the multitude of multivariable calculus resources that exist on the internet for teachers and students. These include a number of free, open-source textbooks, java applets for visualization of 3D equations, and problem sets and tests.
  11. Calculus Resource Center [here], created in the Summer of 2008 to archive the many calculus resources that exist on the internet for teachers and students. Currently, the site is in its embryonic stages. Math teacher Maria Stutt is helping cull some of the resources for us to use.
  12. My Diigo/Delicious Math Bookmarks [Diigo][Delicious], which has the gems I’ve compiled from the web about math and math education.

PROJECTS (without a lot of technology)

  1. Kepler’s Laws! [here], a paper written collectively by my 2008/9 Multivariable Calculus class to derive the basic equation for planetary motion. This section of textbook was obtuse and didn’t make sense, so we decided to just write our own. Using our basic equation for planetary motion, that we all derived together, each student then individually wrote a conclusion to the paper explaining where Kepler’s three laws of planetary motion came from.
  2. Algebra II Study Guides [here, but password protected so inaccessible], a collective study guide written by members of my 2008/9 Algebra II class. Because of a school tragedy, no midterms were given. I was afraid that many of the topics learned in the first semester would have been forgotten. So each student was taught to use Equation Editor in MS Word (none knew it existed!), and given two topics to create a study guide for. After correcting and handing them back for revisions, I scanned in the final copies and put them online. More information on the study guides here.
  3. End of Year Multivariable Calculus Projects [here], assigned in 2008/9 to my class of 4 students. Each student worked on a different topic: studying and explaining in writing Maxwell’s Equations, creating a “sculpture” illustrating various properties in 3-space (and provided documentation explaining the piece), creating various 2D figures (of homogeneous and heterogeneous density) and determining the theoretical center of gravity of these figures in order to see if theory had any relation to the real world, and creating a harmonograph which draws damped Lissajous Curves. A video of the Harmonograph is below.
  4. End of Year Calculus Projects [information here], assigned in 2007/8 to my class of 7 students. With such a small class, I provided time for students to pursue topics that interested them. I worked individually with each student to have projects they enjoyed — so the student thinking of becoming a teacher designed a lesson teaching the chain rule, and the budding poet studied the calculus behind rainbows. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this, I did not do this again in 2008/9, because I suddenly had 24 students enrolled in Calculus!
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