Tag Archives: Online

Videos on Multiplying Fractions

A couple of students in my on-line classes have been asking questions about multiplying fractions.  Should you simplify before or after multiplying?  How should you simplify?  By cross-canceling directly, or by a prime factorization and cross-canceling combo?  Here are some videos I have made to help clarify the situation.

View on screencast.com »

Thousands of FREE Learning Resources

I have heard about these websites from various places throughout the past week.  I hijacked a few of the descriptions, but I would rather give a hijacked description rather than an inaccurate description.

1.  CoSketch is a multi-user online whiteboard designed to give you the ability to quickly visualize and share your ideas as images. No registration or plugins required.  However, I can see this being a big problem for students with a low-maturity level who would love to draw right over what the instructor is drawing.  So, be careful!
2.  Thinkfinity is a free digital learning platform from the Verizon Foundation that offers comprehensive teaching and learning resources created by content partners such as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the International Reading Association, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the National Geographic Society, and more. Its content includes interactive student games, lesson plans focused on various themes, education blogs and online discussions, and much more.

3.  FREE – or Federal Resources for Educational Excellence, is a U.S. Department of Education website that compiles free teacher resources available from dozens of federal agencies. Educators can sign up for the FREE RSS feed, which notifies users when new resources are added. Otherwise, they can browse by topic, from music history to life sciences.

4.  Websites for Educations from Harvard School of Education50 Ways to Integrate Technology Into Your Classroom Tomorrow157 of the Most Useful Websites on the Internet, and 100+ Free Resources for Real Teachers in Real Classrooms are all 4 more places that have hundreds of more free learning resources for you to use in your classroom.  Personally, I don't have time to even look at all of them today.  But here's the upside:  If one of our current resources goes down (which is likely to happen since technology is always changing), compilation websites such as these give us hope that there is something out there that will replace the void that needs to be filled.

Miscellaneous Links

After a recent afternoon meeting about statistics, I needed to find a few old links that I had buried away.  Well, here are a few odds and ends I found while looking:

1.  Virtual Math Lab at Texas A&M – This is a very good resource for College Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, and Beginning Algebra.  When I opened my link, it actually opened on ‘Absolute Value Equations’, which means that’s probably what my students were struggling with when I initially discovered this website back in 2009.

2.  Quick-and-Dirty Guide to the TI-83, TI-83+, TI-84, and TI-84+ – Although it seems like it would be most useful for the beginning calculator student, I have to say that the time I used this website the most was when I taught Calculus, and I couldn’t remember many of the calculus-related functions.

3.  Pete Falzone’s On-line Office – I have been borrowing handouts from this guy for the longest time. The pre-algebra resources are especially good for developmental math classes.  And I have found a lot of other great worksheets for other courses for when I have been called to substitute at the last minute and needed an ‘in a pinch’ lesson outline.

4.  Project-Based Learning – I am obviously all for project-based learning.  But if you need a little more background information, along with some additional examples and ideas for your mathematics classroom, feel free to visit this website.  There is a good description of project-based learning, along with some wonderful links to helpful websites.

5.  Classroom Assessment Techniques – This is definitely worth checking out, as I know that I got at least a couple of ideas from this website for the times when I knew that I had to do an in-class assessment, but needed something that was quick to set-up (I usually realize things 1/2 way into class for some reason).

6. Quiz Star and Easy Test Maker – Two quick links to create on-line and off-line quizzes and tests.  Both are free.  I know, I know, you probably don’t need another free product to do this, as you already have your own Course Management System, or you have your own system for creating tests.  That’s fine, but these may be useful if you’re looking to do something different.

10 Potentially Helpful Resources

Here is the most recent set of helpful resources that I have sort of stumbled upon out of well over 200 hundred that I’ve looked at today:

1.  Broad Texter – This is a service that allows you to create a group so that your students can join so that they can receive text messages from you.  In fact, I’ve set up one for my students that I hope to use in the near future.  Feel free to sign up at the top of the page if you’re so inclined.

2.  Smart Teaching Blog – My biggest advice when looking at this blog is to start scrolling down and to not get overwhelmed, as there are probably 1000s of resources listed, including this list of the 100 Best YouTube Videos for Teachers.

3.  Get the Math – This the link to ‘Get the Math, an initiative out of the PBS Station in NYC, which has challenges related to fields such as Fashion and Video Games.  I know I posted this on twitter earlier, but that’s why you need to follow along (if you’re not already).


4.  Bubbl.us – This is a simple and free web application that lets you brainstorm online (essentially a stripped down version of Mindomo), so it would be ideal for those who are beginning into the world of Mind-Mapping.

5.  CamStudio – Free streaming video software.  I mean, does the name remind you of something?  Personally, I’m doing just fine with Jing! for now, but some people may want to check into this.

6.  Poll Everywhere – Allows you to create a poll that your audience can participate in using their cell phones, twitter, or the web.  I’ve personally used this in a classroom before as a quick and simple alternative to using clickers.  It doesn’t give you a person-by-person tally, but you can get an overall idea of if your students understand a concept.

7.  Super Saas – An online scheduler, which I want to try out for future semesters to have students self-schedule for my office hours.  I think that they may be more likely to come if they can schedule themselves.  Has anyone tried this successfully?  I would love to hear!

8.  ToonDoo – The online cartoon, comic strip creator.  Create your own cartoons, comic strips, publish, share, and discuss!  In fact, I’ve mentioned something similar, called ‘Make Belief Comix’ in the past.  The major difference upfront is that ToonDoo is in color.

9.  Transfer Big Files – Transfer files up to 1 GB.  This would have been especially helpful when I was having trouble with students sending me their homework assignments last semester.  Another similar website is You Send It.  

10.  Motivational Posters – This actually could be turned into a great class project if the students created a mathematics-related image themselves, along with a descriptor to put along the bottom.  Another similar website is The Parody Motivational Generator.

Comment on a Few Useful Tools

This comment is more here for myself than for anyone else, as I keep on forgetting about them just because I don’t have them documented anywhere:

1.  bit.ly – You would not believe (or maybe you would) how much this URL shortener has come in handy lately to quickly and easily customize URLs to give to my students.  At one point I customized something with the student’s name because the student was afraid that he would forget by the time he got home.  You can’t forget your name, now can you?

2.  zamzar.com – Free online file conversion.  I have found this especially useful to turn YouTube videos and the like into mp3 files and to simply download videos that would not normally be downloadable.  I know there are other websites out there that do this, but Zamzar keeps a record for you rather than just a one time conversion.  Nice.

3.  I think that the video below is awesome, so awesome that I figured even if you didn’t appreciate my two comments above, you would appreciate the video.

Using Jing in the On-line Classroom

I just started facilitating my first on-line course ever this week.  I say facilitate, because I really don't believe that I'm actually teaching the students anything in the traditional sense.  In fact, they are actually learning through reading the textbook, discussion forums on ANGEL, and MathZone.  However, since this is my first experience with MathZone, I don't actually have very many tips to give the students, as I am learning the quirks of the platform along with them.  One of them is the way that the student must enter the multiplication symbol.  I think that this tutorial that I made using Jing may actually be useful to others.  But that's not why I'm sharing this.  I'm sharing it because I want to make everyone aware of Jing, a free program for making instant screenshots and screencasts that I have found to be an invaluable resource in getting material from my computer to my students.  And now that I am facilitating an on-line course, Jing has just become about 10 times more useful overnight.  Check it out:

View on screencast.com »

Happy New Year!

I've really been trying to avoid it, but at this point I don't think I can help it anymore.  I think that the TED Talk that was featured over at The Edge of Learning sums it up well why I don't like to give away many of my New Year's Resolutions.  But I want to tell someone, so since you're reading this, you're going to bear the brunt of it:

1.  I want to continue to lose weight in the New Year.  I took the month of December off so that I could enjoy the holidays with people, but now the holidays are over, and it's back to business.  I have my Weight Watchers account up and activated again to start on 1/3/11, and I have my goal jeans sitting in my bedroom.  It may seem extremely strange for a male to have goal jeans, but at this rate, it's more of a psychological thing knowing that if I don't loose the weight, then the money to buy those jeans has went to waste!

2.  I want to create an on-line portfolio of my work, such as this one so that I can highlight some of my accomplishments and ideas.  I feel as if in some way this blog has started to hold some of what I intend to be in my on-line portfolio some day.  A friend recently recommended the websites LiveText and rCampus.  I haven't used them yet myself, but the sample work that he showed me was absolutely amazing, and I am always open to exploring things that are open and continuously improving.

3.  I want to write for a journal.  I have always wanted to publish articles in peer-reviewed journals, but it's just not something that was ever heavily promoted when I was a graduate, or even an undergraduate student.  So, the process is not entirely familiar to me, and I'm not even sure where to start in terms of which of my ideas would be best to expand into an article that is worthy of being published in a journal.  Any ideas, or maybe someone wants to publish with me.  I'm entirely open to working together.