BYOD Assignment

Assignment For Credit For the BYOD That Works class

What Did Not Work

I tried many of the tools and websites that were presented in the BYOD class, and really none of them worked out for me. I did still find a way to add new technology to my class. Below I will list the problems I had with many of the presented sites, and then I will show some of the other solutions I have came up with.

The first tool I tried to use was Study Stack to make note cards. I currently use notes cards to help my calculus students memorize the massive number of equations that we need to memorize for the AP exam, I test them on these note cards at the end of each six weeks. Study Stack looked like it could of been a useful tool to add to my class website for the students to study the equations. The problem I ran into was that you can't add pictures to the note cards, and thus I could not add the equations. I tried a couple of other online note card websites and could not find one that let me use pictures. So while it could be a great tool, it just did not work for my purposes.

I also took a look at Flip Stack. I felt that this might be a good way to paste copies of the keys to my notes onto the web. While turning the pages of the virtual magazine was fun, the pages were too small and difficult to read. So I abandoned this tool as well.

I tried the That Quiz website to create some calculus quizzes. While it was a quick and easy way to create a quiz, the material was just way too easy. The material they use was nowhere near the level that was needed for an AP class. I did find another tool for giving short quizzes called Grade Cam. I discuss it below in the section of tools I am currently using.

I also looked at Skitch, but it is the same thing as the smart board recorder that I already have on my computer, just with less options. So I plan to stick with the smart board's software.

EverNote and a couple of others were only for mobile devices, and I do not have a tablet.

Go Animate, ThingLink, Voki, GetKahoot , Socrative - These programs just did not appeal to me.

What Sorta Worked

I have had a link to Khan Academy on my class website for years now. I am not a super huge fan of the site though. I think the videos are hard to watch, mainly due to the software that they use. I prefer a different video tutorial site for calculus patrickjmt.com. The "jmt" stands for Just Math Tutoring, and he makes great videos for just about every topic in math from Algebra to Calculus and beyond. I also link to Paul's Online Calculus Notes. Paul's online notes are practically and entire text book online. Only he spends time explaining the procedures in a way that is clearer than the textbook that we have adopted for class, He also provides many practice problems with solutions that I refer students to when they want extra practice.

I have a unique situation in one of my calculus classes. There are two levels of AP calculus: AB and BC. AB is equivalent to the first semester of college calculus and BC is the second semester. Usually our students only make it through AB which they take as seniors. Last year I had three juniors who took the AB test and scored a five on it. This year they are back to take BC along with one other student who came from a different school. Since there are only four students taking BC, they are put into the same class as 28 other AB students. So now I have two classes in the same room at the same time. The way I have been working around this is by teaching the BC students as a flipped class room. I video the lectures and they watch them for homework. Then they come back the next day and get a practice assignment. When I am finished lecturing to the AB students, I go and check on the BC students and help with any questions.

I started by making my lessons for the flipped class using the Smart Board Recorder that is part of the program that comes with the smart board. This only allows for one file type which is a .wmv. This is the file type for Windows Media Player. Then I ran into a problem, one of my students only has a Mac. I thought I had found a solution in Educreations, which allowed me to make videos in much the same way as the smart board does. The program is a virtual smart board for tablets, but the website also let me make them using a computer. It was not as user friendly as the smartboard's software and had less functions, but it worked. Once the video was made it could be setup as a class website where the videos were streamed in much the same was as youtube, I made one video and then hit a wall. The website stopped allowing me to make videos on the PC. I emailed the company and ask why I could not get it to work. I received a reply stating that they stopped supporting the PC made videos and opted to only allow videos to be made on tablets since that made up 98% of their business. A few days later I received another email stating that they were switching back (I guess I was not the only one to complain), but I had already moved on to different things.

What I finally Ended Up Doing and What to Do Next

After Educreations dropped the PC videos, I returned to using the smart board's recorder an posted the videos on my school website. My student with the Mac has downloaded a different video player that will allow her to watch the Windows Media Videos on her Mac. This works right now because it is only for the four students. I will need to eventually find a better solution if I want to scale this up to a full size class.

I tried downloading a video converter that would switch the .mwv to a .MP4 which can be played on both devices, but it takes a very long time to make the conversion. It also makes the file size bigger, and one of the videos I made was too large to upload on the school website.

I also considered using YouTube. The problem I have with YouTube is that the videos that I am making are from worksheets that were purchased. The website that produces them gives them away for free, but then charges for the keys. While I am only working the notes section and not the homeworks, I don't feel it would be ethical to post them on Youtube. I would prefer a website that can be locked to only my students. I could make my own notes, but since I am currently spending most of my 7th period conference period recording videos for my third period class, that will have to wait for a time when I have more time.

I hope to eventually produce videos for all of my classes. Not sure if I will do them all as flipped classes, but that would at least be a good tool for the students to use. Before I can do that I will need to write my own material. Right now all of my notes and homework come from worksheets obtained from somewhere else. Ethically I don't feel I should be posting them worked out, since someone else at another school might be using them as a grade. I would also like to add QR codes to the worksheets that I pass out, so that the students can use their smart phones to get a video to go along with the specific worksheet that they are working on.


I also starting using a website called Grade Cam which uses the document camera to grade short quizzes. There is a pay version and a free version. The free version only allows up to ten questions, but it is usefull for quick quizzes to check for understanding. The pay version allows up to 100 questions. I can set up a class in the Grade Cam website and easily print personalized scantrons for each student. It uses the student's ID# to track who is who. The students then turns in the scantron into a tray that I have placed under the document camera. The computer automatically grades the student's quiz and gives them instant feedback into how they did. It can even be done in the background by minimizing the program if I need to lecture on the smartboard. So the BC students can quiz at the beginning of class while I lecture and turn in their quiz without disrupting the lecture. The computer grades it, and I can return it as soon as the lecture is complete. Then we can go over the missed questions as a group.

Biography

This Smore page was created by Patrick Dunn, calculus teacher at Aledo High School in Aledo Texas.