So for our major project we had to decide whether or not to do a learning project or an online unit of some sort, I have made the decision as I have mentioned in a previous blog post, to complete the online unit. I was having a hard time trying to decide what unit of math I was going to try and create an online unit for and I have finally decided that I am going to be talking about grade 10 mathematics, primarily foundations and pre-calculus. The outcomes and indicators I am going to be explaining are going to be linear measurements, the surface areas of spheres, right cones, cylinders, prisms and pyramids, as well as the volumes of the shapes I have just mentioned, and lastly the relationship between and within measurement systems. These are the outcomes I am going to try and help students with. The indicators will be what my lesson plans are going to be based around.
How I am going to help? Well in my previous blog post I said I was thinking of doing something along the lines as Khan’s Academy, which we learned in class. I am still planning on doing easy to view tutorial videos, on how to solve certain problems that students will be faced with when attempting this unit. Not only will I be doing easy to view videos, I will also be creating a webspace where they are easily accessible to my class that will be attempting to learn in an online environment. I plan on using some of the tools we have been learning to create the online space as well as video editing software such as I movie, I am really excited to start filming and getting started I have a couple scrips and most of my lesson plans are completed all that is left for me is to begin filing and working on my video voice, I am not planning on being in the videos like I’ve said before it will be similar to Khan academy where it will be just my voice. I look forward to updating you guys when I can and maybe show one or two videos once they are completed.
For this week I had to choose a creation tool and simply review and comment on the strengths and weakness of the tool I have chose. So I decided to review Camatasia. Camtasia for those of you who may not know is a video editing tool and screen recording tool. If you would like to access this tool you can try it out for thirty days, thats what I did, and if you like it you can purchase a package.
Something I really liked about Camtasia when I first logged onto their site is an introduction video which you can check out for your self on either the home page or here on youtube. This video simply describes just how easy Camtasia is to use.
Strengths: Some strengths I found for this tool was how easy it is to use, if you are not familiar with video editing tools it might be a little difficult at first but as you play around with it you can really catch on, and make some pretty amazing presentations. I started a mini project in a matter of minutes, all you have to is drag what you want into the screen and let the tool do the rest.
As you can see I dragged in the shape and then typed in whatever text I wanted.
Another strength I thought about was the animations and effects you can use when creating or editing a video or presentation. There are several animations and effects you can choose from and all you have to do is drag what effect you would like to add and drag it to the slide you wish to see.
Another strength is also accessibility, it is downloaded right onto your desktop, but you can also access the tool by logging in online.
I think that teachers could defiantly benefit from this tool most definitely. They can benefit from how visually stunning this tool is and help create presentations for their students. Also students could really benefit from using this tool in class to help with projects and presentations. I find it a little more complicated than say powerpoint or google docs, however this tool Camtasia has way more animations and options to help create very interesting and intriguing presentations.
Weaknesses: The only weakness I could find is if you aren’t comfortable with video editing software it can be a tad tricky to get used to, but there several tutorial videos on how to use this tool correctly and properly. Another weakness is price, not a lot of people would spend the money when they have free video editing tools at their disposal, so if you can passed the price then this tool will help you create stunning presentations.
For this week I had to try out a LMS tool that we learned about in class and simply had to review and give my thoughts about it. The tool I chose to review is Edmodo. It is very simple and easy LMS tool to use. It is free to use, and all you have to do is create an account. You can use your gmail account or any basic email account to sign up. You can sign up as a teacher, obviously and a student. However if you are a parent you can also sign up and join the class to see how your children are performing.
The best way to describe Edmodo’s layout is Facebook. It is the Facebook of education. Once you have created an account as a teacher you can post just about anything for students to see. Whether it is a gentle reminder that you have homework due next week, you can post quizzes that students can take online, you can also post assignments on line and your students can also submit assignments.
Some things I really liked about Edmodo, is its accessibility, it is free, which is good, and just how easy it is to work and manage. All the tabs a self explanatory, by that I mean they are simple to use even if your are not good with technology. It also is very organized as you can create different groups for different things, if I was teaching multiple classes I could have multiple pages. I could also make a group for just my students and just for the parents. It also is a great way to communicate with students and parents to let the students know what they need to be doing in class and also letting the parents know what their children are doing in my class. It also includes a poll function that I think is great. This function allows you to poll students or parents on basically anything which is really helpful. Like I said earlier in my post this basically a Facebook account for students, teachers and parents. You can also connect with other teachers and other schools to see how they are using Edmodo which is great, because as teachers we are always learning about new ways to teach our students and this tool allows for us teachers to showcase some of our work.
Would I use this in my classroom, absolutely yes. It is easy to use and I think it is a great way to connect with students and parents. I also think students would like using the computer to help them check in on what assignments need to be done or if there is a quiz that needs to be done. I also think it is great for parents to know what exactly their children are learning and to build a good relationship with the teacher so they can better understand as to why their children are succeeding or not, or if their children are actually doing their school work.
I think it also adds a great deal of responsibility for students, to make sure they are checking out assignments and posts and stuff, and taking their education into their hands, rather than relying on a friend or their parents, to remind them when stuff is due, etc.
So for this semester we have gotten the choice of two options for a major project. The first option is the learning project, the learning project is something that I am not the biggest fan of. When I took 355, it was my first year of university and in order to complete the learning project you have to put in at least 50 hours, and with four other classes that require a lot of work, it is next to impossible. For those who committed the learning project, I tip my hat off to you, it is very impressive and you guys deserve extra credit, because that is a lot of work on top of busy schedules.
The next option is an online unit, where we as the students have to plan out a unit and incorporate technology somehow, or we have to do make an online unit, either way we have to involve some technology. I really enjoy lesson planning and finding cool new ways to present information. With math being such a straight forward subject to teach there is not a whole lot of online tools that can help make math more fun and exciting. I do know some websites that are similar to math competitions, which I think would be really exciting for younger grades, however with me being a post secondary student I am going to be planning around a high school math level. I am not sure what unit i will be focussing on but I am thinking I want to focus on factoring and parabolas, or try trig functions and measuring angles and stuff like that. I think for my online unit I am going to present my information, similar to that of Khans Academy.
For those of you who do not know what Khans academy is, it is a lifesaver of a website and youtube videos. It has every concept known in math and is broken down in the simplest of ways. If your like me and get confused about how certain math profs like to present information, than Khans Academy is great because like I said it is broken down into steps and has very simple examples that allow you to eventually complete harder examples. This academy has help me pass many university math classes with great marks. If you want to check out a video example, click here. I think that I may do simple examples but instead of not being in the video I think I may present it in person and record myself teaching a math unit. I still have some other ideas brewing as I might research more tools to teach math and introduce those in my videos as well as creating a webpage for students to easy access my videos. In the meantime I have a lot of work ahead of me and hope that I will be successful in this project.
This semester I am currently enrolled in the class Ecmp 455, which is a class that involves using technology in the classroom. I have already taken 355 and was not expecting a lot but looking back now, it was probably one of the more useful classes I have taken.
This semester I would like to set three goals for myself, the first goal would be I would like to put in a better effort than I did in Ecmp 355. I feel like I did not really apply myself that much to Ecmp 355, it was my very first semester of university ever and I was not really expecting much, but having a lot more semesters under my belt I think I know what needs to be done in order to be successful in this class.
My second goal is to become more comfortable with using technology in the classroom and really vitalizing the tools that we learn in class and incorporate them the best I can in the future, when making lesson plans and unit plans. Also being able to explain these tools to friends and help them understand how these tools work. This goal could also stem into me focussing more in class and taking the time and effort to go on my own and dig deeper into the tools that we are learning about in class.
My last goal is to become more outspoken in class, I am not what they call a shy person, but sometimes I don’t speak my mind and I think that is something this class will help me with, not only with writing blog post, but also speaking out more in class, and voicing my opinions, I think I can accomplish that by just sucking it up and talking and once again, this comes from my first goal which is to try harder and put more effort into Ecmp 455 than I did in Ecmp 355. I also want to be more active on twitter and actually tweet more, and if you are interested in following me on twitter you can find home page here. Thanks for reading hope you enjoyed my first if many blog post.
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