Sunday, December 14, 2008

I've added some new blogs to my Google Reader... here's what I found:

If there are any other good math ed blogs out there, I'd love to know about them!

We had an Elluminate session on Wednesday night for the PLP. I was able to do it from home, which was nice, but I was worried about how the kids (22 months and 4 1/2) would be while I needed them to be quiet and wasn't able to watch. They actually did pretty good noise-wise, but at one point I went into the kitchen and saw this:
She's a big cereal fan and I guess was getting hungry! My husband got home around 5:15 or so, which was good, but he went straight from vacuuming out the fireplace (noisy) to putting some shelves on the walls about 3 feet from where I was sitting (even noisier!).
I'm still struggling trying to keep up with everything. I love Tweetdeck - it summarizes Twitter so nicely for me, but I find myself checking it too often. I think the PLP ning is being affected by that, and my personal/kids blog isn't being updated as often, either. I just need to find a good balance, I guess.
I added a Twitscoop widget over on the side of this blog - thought that was pretty cool.
My precalc classes have their wikis due on Wednesday and have time in class tomorrow to work on them. I haven't checked - hope they look ok!

Friday, December 5, 2008

This Week

I tried my best to follow my new Twitter followees this week. (I'm the follower, they're the followees, right?) Boy, does that thing move fast! Tweetdeck helped a lot - it was nice not having to sort through all of the tweets, and it picked out the ones directed just to me (which I was surprised to actually get some!). But the time I spent catching up on that took away the time that I usually spend catching up on the PLP ning. And then there's my google reader...


I keep adding new things to follow/read, and yet I'm not getting any extra hours in the day to actually do it! Doesn't seem like a fair trade.

I assigned my precalc kids the wiki this week. After collecting all of their e-mail addresses (and everyone had one except one kid... I wasn't expecting that!) I added them as writers and now it's their turn to work. Hopefully it will turn out well. I reserved a cart of tablets for the kids to use in class on Monday (they have an assignment to do, too) so hopefully they will get started on their pages. I was planning on assigning it to my Algebra 2 kids, too, but couldn't pull the trigger. I'm not sure why, and maybe I'll still do it, but for now my instructions and everything are just sitting on my desk. Maybe I'll wait until later in the week next week and not have it due until after Christmas break.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

So far. . .

I had 4 of my classes collaborate on a wiki last year. Their guidelines were very few (because I was learning just like they were!). What I asked them to do was to summarize each section from our chapter on a wiki page that I had already set up. That's it. Afterwards, I had them evaluate 10 of their classmates' pages - what was good, needed improvement, and overall impressions.

I'm going to assign this year's wiki tomorrow... I think. It's all set up and ready to go, but for some reason I'm nervous about it. I don't know why - it can't be any worse than last year, and I was totally happy with that product! I think I just feel more pressure because I know so much more this year. I've set some guidelines for this one - they have to include color, links, images, correct mathematical notation, and some sort of "extra", which they can find on their own.

I've installed (and used a few times) Skype on my computer. It has been nice for quick questions at school when I don't want to try and track someone down. Other than that, though, I haven't used it. But, heck, if Oprah can use it, I sure can!

Last winter, at one of our tablet meetings, we were shown Twitter. Being enthusiastic about something that looked kinda neat, we all signed up. After that time, though, I didn't find much usefulness in it. Over this Thanksgiving break, Cary (our Tablet and PLP leader) posted a message on our ning with some educational uses for Twitter, so I decided to give it a second shot. I searched for new people to follow, made a few posts, and actually had some people respond back! I think now I'll give it an actual try... following the right people and getting some followers myself could really be helpful and give me some new ideas.

Over the summer I was sent a message from Cary, the leader of the T.A.B.L.E.T. project. It included a description of and an application for Powerful Learning Practices (PLP), a program led by Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach. The purpose is to help teachers redefine their teaching using available web 2.0 tools. We had a face-to-face meeting in October (in Chicago - what a drive!), a ning to communicate with our team and other teams from different schools, and now we're supposed to be working towards some sort of final project (of which we still don't know much about). This program will hopefully help me set up a network to give me new ideas and ways of teaching.

So I think that gets me to today. I was advised to use Tweetdeck to help organize my tweets (what a weird word!), installed it, and I agree that it is nice to see all of that information in three separate columns (instead of just one page!). We'll see where it goes from there!

How it all began

I was accepted to be part of my school's T.A.B.L.E.T. project (I don't remember what the acronym stands for... need to look it up) for the 2007 - 08 school year. As part of the project, I was given a Tablet PC and wireless projector to use for my classroom. For my part, I agreed to go to monthly meetings, participate on a moodle with weekly assignments, and present a project at the end of the year.

I've always enjoyed using computers, but that was the beginning of it all for me. As a freshman in college my friends and I discovered a computer application called Telnet. Through that, we could connect to a site called isca (Iowa Students Computer Association. . . I think) and chat with other people (mostly students) around the world. I made friends in New York, Colorado, and Canada. We thought it was pretty cool and would sit at the computer lab (because not too many people had their own computers) until the wee hours of the night chatting. After graduating from college, I bought my own desktop to use for my school work. Nothing fancy, and the only thing I used it for was word processing (worksheets and tests and such) and excel spreadsheets (for grades).

It wasn't until my third year of teaching that I had a computer (and printer) at my desk. Just to think about how far we've come in the last 8 years is amazing! At this point, most of the teachers at my school have a laptop (or tablet) that we carry around with us. There's a wireless projector in every room (which reminds me - I need to check with our tech guy about mine... I can't hardwire to it!). Using the web as a classroom tool, though, is just starting to spread. I'm going to try and use this blog to show my journey through web 2.0.