If you don’t know what Ignite is, simply put, it is a format in which speakers are limited to using 20 slides and each of those slides automatically advances every 15 seconds. Thus, a speaker must get their point across within a maximum of 5 minutes.
I learned about the Ignite format from past conferences that I have attended. And I have attended several Ignite Events in the Detroit, MI area (they have them all around the country).
This semester, I decided to have my Math for Education students give an Ignite-style talk on the last day of class. They had two major content goals – they were supposed to summarize what they learned during the semester and they were required to have at least 5 slides on a topic that I pre-assigned to them (e.g., hexagons, pentagons, etc.). The other catch is that they only had 30 minutes to prepare their slides and presentation.
I learned quite a lot about my students from this activity. I saw many of them crack under the time pressure of having only 30 minutes to prepare. Only about half of the students actually had 20 completed slides. I heard many of them use mathematical terminology incorrectly. And many of them were not able to talk an entire 15 seconds about each slide and left a lot of dead air time.
Many of my students complained that they are not good at thinking fast on their feet. Unfortunately, this is a skill that they will need as teachers. This is a skill that cannot be taught, but I do believe that it can be learned through practice. I thought that this was a great way for the students to practice this skill in a ‘safe’ setting.
In terms of assessment, I made it a very low pressure situation and students simply got ‘participation’ credit. But I learned a lot about my students from this activity. A lot of students surprised me. Some of the students who know the content well were the worst speakers and some of the students who didn’t know the content as well were the best speakers in the class. I had the students vote at the end of class on who was the best speaker and the top two vote-getters got prizes (one got a lesson planning book and the other got a school supplies kit).
One of my students graciously agreed to be recorded and her recorded talk and slide deck are below. Enjoy!
I’m not sure if I’ve been absolutely clear on this or not, but my lack of posting lately can be attributed to the fact that I’m now posting a majority of the links I find now on my Scoop.it page (http://bit.ly/mathnews). Nevertheless, here are five quick ideas that just didn’t fit in over there:
1. Create a Magazine Cover (http://bighugelabs.com/magazine.php) — In one of my Pre-Algebra courses last year I had students create a magazine about a chapter in the textbook. This website would have helped the groups easily make a professional looking magazine cover for their project.
2. Create Printable Posters (http://www.blockposters.com/) and (http://homokaasu.org/rasterbator/gallery.gas?937) — In one of my Beginning Algebra courses last year I had students create math ‘movie posters’. Since I was working at a design school at the time, the students had the luxury of having access to industrial poster printers. These websites would help in cases where students do not have access to those.
3. Free Podcast Hosting (http://www.podomatic.com/login) — You would not believe how many times I have said that I want to start podcasting my classes, but I did not have a place to host them. I think that I will definitely be checking this website out in the near future.
4. Math Games for Developmental Math (http://www.aplusmath.com/Games/index.html) — Personally, I loved the MATHO game so much the first time I played it on the web that I was willing to pay $0.99 for the APP to entertain myself on my Android Phone. But that may be because I’m really just not an Angry Birds kind of guy.
5. Math in Everyday Life Videos (http://www.gamequarium.org/dir/SqoolTube_Videos/Math/) — Yes, I know, the last thing we all need is a link to more math videos. The only reason that I thought that this site stood out is because of the organization of the categories, including a category for ‘Math in Everyday Life’.
Please let this video serve as a reminder that although we hope we never have to use CPR in the classroom, in the case that we do, we should be prepared. Please take 60 seconds of your time to watch this very important message. Thanks.
And by the way, every medical emergency I have ever had in the classroom has occured while teaching during the summer semester.