Middle School Math iPod Touch Blog

Integrating Technology into the Middle School Classroom

Final Course Blog – Increasing traffic to your blog April 24, 2011

Filed under: blog,education,technology integration — msmathteachr1 @ 10:25 pm
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Methods I have used to increase traffic to my blog:

I have taken several steps to increase traffic to my blog. The items in red are those that I feel have been most successful, while those with an asterisk are those that are recent methods based on recommendations from others in the course.

  • Try to make the blog short enough that it doesn’t require too much of one’s time to read, while still informative and interesting
  • Use tags that best describe the post, and that will attract others from a Google Search. Check to see if it works!
  • Use Twitter to Tweet new posts in hopes that Twitter PLN will visit the site.*
    • I chose to rely more on twitter because I can see what others are tweeting, and I can see when/if my tweet about my blog is retweeted or mentioned.
  • Post links to Twitter on the blog
  • Send emails to friends, colleagues and others whom you feel my find the blog interesting and/or relevant*
    • I chose to notify friends and colleagues because many of them are not familiar with the extent that technology such as the iPod Touch can be used in the classroom. I want them to see some of my ideas, how much students enjoy using the iPods and hopefully get excited about using more technology in the classroom. Then, we can share ideas and all become better teachers by having more resources.
  • Use Ping-o-matic to send “ping” alerts to search engines that the blog has been updated. Be sure to return to the Ping-o-Matic site each time the blog is updated to send the “ping”. 
    • I had already signed up for Ping-o-matic, but I didn’t realize I had to return to the site each time I updated my blog.  I am interested in seeing how much site growth I have now that I am using the program correctly. *
  • Visit other blogs and leave comments referencing your own blog, example Classroom2.0
  • Use RSS feeds to allow others to get notification of your new posts, and to read your favorite posts without searching.*
    • I like having my own RSS feed reader that allows me to quickly keep up with my preferred blogs about education and technology integration. What I do not like is that some sites, such as my own, don’t allow you to use Bloglines. Some sites allow you to subscribe using Google Friends or save your RSS feed to a file on your internet server. I don’t like this as much, because I would like to have all my feeds in the same location. I am sure if I spend a lot of time looking for the process I may be able to convert the RSS to include Bloglines, so hopefully I will have time to do that in the near future.

Usefullness of blogging as an educator

        I believe this has been a very useful project for an educator. Initially I was very concerned about blogging, because I had fears of what others would think about my blog, and I was concerned that I may write something that would be frowned upon by my school system. Once I decided to only write about problem-solving with regards to apps, rather than school-system issues, I felt more comfortable. I also believe that the blogs I write can be helpful to someone new with using iPod touches in the classroom, specifically the middle school math classroom.

     What I have found most beneficial about the project are building my PLN and documenting what works and what doesn’t work for my own journal. This will help me improve as a teacher using technology, and help me problem-solve while using the technology. This is definitely a project that has allowed me to apply its use to my needs. I have built a website to organize thoughts, lesson plans, resources, and videos. It also allows me to tie that site into my blog offering me the possibility of more users as my website grows. (It is still in the building phase, although I do plan to continue this endeavor). I have come to feel more comfortable with Twitter, (I am following many- everchanging as I read the posts, and have over 100 following me). Through Twitter I have learned of technology PLNs that Tweet, sites they have, and conferences. For example, someone recently Tweeted me asking if I planned to attend the edcamp in Charlottesville this summer. I have never heard of it, or SlidetoLearn and others that I may now consider in the future. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn of all these new technology resources and know that I will continue to grow in my ability to integrate technology more effectively into my classroom. My goal for next year is to plan and carry-out an augmented reality lesson in my math classroom. I know this is something middle school students would enjoy.

Read this excellent blog post by Sue Walters of edublogger about s blog traffic!

 

Making Math Movies- Pros and Cons April 18, 2011

My students worked so hard on their movies this week using the MacBooks, keynotes and lots of their own creativity and excitement. This was a wonderful thing to see! I have had some wonderful suggestions on how to reach students without internet access at home. Some of the ideas include making dvds for them to use with computer, dvd player or x-box. Wow! Great ideas…I didn’t realize you could play dvds in gaming systems. I tried making a sample dvd and it worked great, so my student developers and I were even more motivated once they saw a sample.

So, those are clearly “pros”. Now, I have a few “cons”. Unfortunately, students were not able to use the recorder option in keynotes to record their voices to their presentations. I am not sure if this is a bandwidth issue, since our school struggles with this issue. Now, because I have spent 3 class days making wonderful videos, I am planning to load them onto iPods for students without the voice recording. This can always be added later. I am going to hold off on the dvds in light of the glitch, which is upsetting because I really wanted those dvds out to families to use for SOL reviews. I will have to keep trying, and find a way to help my students find success with such a worthwhile project that they really enjoyed.

 

Keeping students and parents connected with technology April 7, 2011

I feel so inspired! I see my students in class watching videos re-teaching math concepts from earlier in the year to brush up on past skills, and they are engaged and learning. What a wonderful feeling! I am so proud of how hard my students work when they are in my classroom, and for middle school sometimes that is a lot to say. My concern…they are only in my classroom 50-minutes of the day. What happens when they leave and do not open their notes or complete homework until the next day, or worse over a long weekend? I have called parents, kept students after school, and tried to assign only 15-minutes of meaningful math homework. I am still looking for solutions to motivating these students, and would love suggestions. If you have tried a method to increase outside effort of students, please let me know.

Earlier this morning, I read a reply from Eric Biederbeck regarding “Flipping the Classroom” (http://msportal-2.ning.com/forum/topics/flipping-the-math-classroom?commentId=2593214%3AComment%3A50167&xg_source=msg_com_forum) where he recommends putting videos on dvd or cd-rom for students who do not have the ability to use iPods at home. I love this idea! I could even make sets of videos for year-end standardized test review (SOLs in Virginia). I also think this would be an excellent resource to help some parents feel more connected to what the students are learning about in math class. Thanks, Eric, for the great suggestion!

My students and I will be so busy making and viewing videos and I know this will be a great help in motivating some of them. I also love that this allows me to more easily differentiate by having students watch different videos depending on where a student may have a weakness. I do need to come up with something different for those students who do not have computer access at home. I do plan to call parents to see if the students could get to the public library, but I’m going to keep thinking…

 

Blogs about using iPod Touch in Middle School April 6, 2011

The internet and the world of blogging has made networking between educators much easier! We are so fortunate to live in a time where we can have advice of other teachers at the tip of our fingers, and a wealth of resources are available for those attempting to incorporate technology into the classroom. Here are just a few of the sites I prefer to follow for blogs related to educational technology, middle school math, iPod Touch, and teaching in a web 2.0 world.

Please feel free to contact me by comment if you would like to see your blog included in my list. Thanks to all fellow bloggers for your continued support and information you share with others every day!

http://myedet650.blogspot.com/

http://dlane650.blogspot.com/

http://edet650kknachel.blogspot.com/

http://ipoduseforsolremediation.blogspot.com/

http://powertolearn.typepad.com/teacher_tech_blog/ipod/

http://educationtechnologyblog.com/

http://edtechlife.com/

http://www.edutopia.org/blogs

http://mscomputerteacher.com/2011/03/17/technology-in-education-ipods-and-the-ischool-initiative/

http://www.msteacher2.org/profiles/blog/list?tag=math

 

A new venture… Response Systems April 3, 2011

Filed under: iPod Touch — msmathteachr1 @ 10:18 pm
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   Our school system is looking into various response systems for us to use with out iPod Touches. I am interested in this, and of course would like something that does not require a great deal of time spent on preparing questions for the students. I am familiar with Google Forms and think they are very beneficial, although not friendly to math questions that involve fractions. I may have to play with this a bit more and just become more comfortable with it. My students have said they feel it is too hard to see the questions on the small screen of the iPod, even though they have the ability to increase the magnification of the image.  What I do like is the immediate feedback and the ability to view data immediately.

  Tony Vincent has some other suggestions for response systems that I am interested in trying out. Check out his blog and see his suggestions. He has a wealth of information and is kind enough to share it with those of us still learning about the technology.  http://learninginhand.com/blog/four-student-response-systems.html

  So this is my goal for this week; I will try one of the response systems to see how my students and I feel it works out as a formative assessment. I will be sure to let you know how it goes!

 

Favorite Uses for iPods in Education March 31, 2011

  I feel like this past week everything fell in place with the iPods. My students are very comfortable with ScribbleLite (which I believe is fabulous), and are getting much better with using the iPod as a response tool. They would much rather draw a function table in ScribbleLite and save it as a photo for their friends to solve, than do a worksheet or even Powerpoint. They enjoy the device, but they really appreciate how it can be used as an interactive tool.

  Some other students appreciated being able to listen to a video to remind themselves of a past concept in math class. One student replayed a portion of it several times, which I really enjoyed seeing.  I don’t believe that student would have asked me to repeat myself if I taught the concept in front of class, but because I was on video he could pause and rewind at his leisure. Flashcards are great for individual studying or review of concepts, and of course many apps provide needed practice of skills.

  So, the students enjoy them, I enjoy them, and they are being kept very busy these days. I’m always open to new ideas, so if you have any suggestions for uses in a middle school math classroom let me and others know! Thanks!