THE "SHIFT" IN EDUCATION

Whether you are using Twitter for educational purposes or not you might want to save your tweets for future. According to experts  life of a tweet is approximately 30 minutes. This means when you share something amazing, useful, shocking it will be lost in the deep waters of Twitter. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could save your tweets and reach the content whenever you want? This way you can share your messages again. There is a practical way to do this. You can simply archieve your tweets under Settings menu.

This method is fast but not very efficient. I personally would like to have my tweets in a spreadsheet or in a word processor. Currently there are lots of tools which can do that for you but I don’t use any of them. I use IFTTT – If This then That which is simply this:

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IFTTT is not only for Twitter. It can be used for many websites and apps. I have created following connection – called recipe for myself: If I tweet, then a row to a spreadsheet in my Google Drive is automatically added. I have also created this recipe: If I tweet, then it is appended to a document in my Google Drive. With these recipes my tweets are automatically stored in a Google Spreadsheet and in a Google Doc. With IFTTT it is possible to create different recipes and connect Twitter to other services such as LinkedIn.

What I like in IFTTT is it is a versatile system. There are lots of possibilities and you are limited to your imagination. For example there is a recipe in which you get a notification to your Android device when an astronaut enters space! If you are interested in IFTTT go to ifttt.com and start exploring recipes which will ease your life but first don’t forget to download the app to your mobile device from here https://ifttt.com/mobile

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In this short article I’d like to share an idea that came to my mind while I was playing Call Of Duty Black Ops. Things I’ll share might disturb some people but my intention is to create a discussion and find a common sense.

Nuketown2COD is a first person shooter game. When you open the game you see a gun in your hands and you are expected to kill as much people as you can. This game is not for kids and on its cover you can see that it is for people older than 18 but I think this game, or let’s just say some part of this game can be used for educational purposes. Let me provide some details;

- There are 2 teams in the game.

- In each game teams are given certain tasks. For example they try to capture each other’s flags or they try to capture certain points in the map etc.

- The game has different maps. One of them is called Nuketown and this map forced me to write this article. If you keep reading you’ll understand the reason.

- Players can have multiple weapons and they make their choices according to personal talents. If you have good reflexes you can choose to have knife and engage in a close combat, if you are patient enough you can choose to be a sniper.

Up to this point nothing seems special but let’s imagine this: you take your high school students to computer lab where COD is installed in each computer. They form two groups and wait for your instructions. You tell them the type of the game and give them a visual of the map. Then you give them some time to discuss their strategies. An incredible collaboration session starts. Each member of the team is evaluated, questioned, given small tasks etc. After discussions they start playing. At the end of the game one team wins but what were the factors that took them to victory? It’s time to discuss the result. What strategies did they follow? What were the things they couldn’t foresee? What will they do different next time? Just by focusing on the strategic side of the game only can you see the resemblance of these two games?

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On one side there is blood, violonce and addiction possibility. On the other side an opportunity to teach strategic thinking, teamwork, collaboration, communication and many more 21st century skills. It is a fact that many kids under 18 are playing these games and their parents are very concerned. They fear that these games will turn their kids into a killing machine. Maybe we can’t put these type of games into school system but instead of turning our backs to the fact can’t we at least guide parents or share some (possible) practices or do something else?

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I often see phrases like “Technology is a tool not a learning outcome” – “Pedagogy is the driver technology is the accelerator” and many more hanging around at conferences, in websites and in social media. The purpose of all these slogans are same; relieving teacher’s minds. As you know there exists a solid resistance in teachers when it comes to integrating technology into education. Tech leaders are trying to convince them that the process is not that frightening, hard or inefficient. Although they are showing goodwill I usually see that they can not reach teachers as much as they want to. The reason to that is very simple; both parties do not speak the same language and have different point of views.  A great majority of tech leaders are not classroom teachers and they can’t fully understand that as a teacher my priorities, my concerns, my agenda are very different than theirs. If they want to convince me on something they should develop different strategies. Let me give you an example from a presentation.

One of the tech leaders I know was giving a presentation to K-12 teachers about using social media in education in a big conference. He started his presentation by introducing “digital natives” and giving some statistical facts about how new generation uses and benefits from social media. Then he introduced major social media tools. Up to this point teachers were able to follow him but then he lost the audience by starting giving examples. You might think that giving examples is the right strategy but actually it is not if it is done right away. He missed the fact that teachers are still waiting for the answer of a very simple question; Why? His explanations in the beginning is not enough to answer this question. They are just some facts that kids’ habits are changing but how is this fact related to education?

If I were him I would follow a different way by shifting the point of view. I would ask this question first and let teachers think about it for a moment; “In your daily life do you sometimes have moments where you witness something related to your lesson and want to share it with your students?”  This question does not focus on technology, it is not about behavioral change of kids. It is only about education and pedagogy. After this question comes others; “If so, can you give us an example? How did you share that moment with your students? Did you consider using technology? How do you think technology can help you? What can be the advantages and disadvantages?” etc. These questions are small steps to lead the conversation into technology tools and examples.

Technology is advancing too fast and its effects on society for today and future are observed clearly by many institutions and they are changing themsleves accordingly. Unfortunately educational institutions can not follow them since they are the most resistant ones to change. Most of the schools who are having their technology transformation nowadays are only changing their shop windows. A deeper and more realistic change can not happen until they really shift their perspective from technology to pedagogy.

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In this article the phrase “Google Docs” will represent “Google Docs, Sheets and Slides”

You might have heard that Google Drive has been renewed. The major change is the new feature of editing MS Office documents. A few weeks ago we were able to open an MS Office document in Google Docs format by following Open With > Google Docs and when we do that a second editable document is created in Google Drive.

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Although the procedure is easy I have experienced that some users share their MS Office files without making the conversion. This is not a problem unless you want to edit the document.

From now on we don’t need to follow these steps. In new Google Drive you simply upload your files and stop worrying about being able to edit it. Here is how you can switch to new Drive and how you can edit an Office file without converting it into a Google Doc;

Get the new Google Drive

Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 11.02.06Open your Chrome browser, go to drive.google.com and click on the Settings menu. Choose Experience the new Drive. You might not see the option to try the new look because this is not available to all users yet but don’t worry it will be available very soon. The new features of Google Drive is not the topic of this article but if you want to get an idea you can watch the following video.

 

Install The Extension

Getting the new Drive is not enough. You need to install an extension to be able to edit MS Office files. You might wonder why this is not done automatically. I guess Google wanted to keep this feature optional. Some users might want to have the new look but keep the old conversion process.

Click on the link http://goo.gl/4rs8ts and download the Chrome extension “Office Editing for Docs, Sheets & Slides Chrome extension” by clicking on Free > Add. After installation I suggest you close Chrome browser and reopen it.

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Now you are all set. You will be able to edit MS Office files under Chrome browser so why don’t you try it now? Upload an Office file and within the Chrome browser double click to open it (or make a right click on it and click Open With > Google Docs) You will see the following. Please be careful with the filename, type and the address bar. Have you noticed Office Compatibility Mode? If you don’t see it then you will not be able to edit your file.

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Here comes the bad news. It is still not possible to collaborate on an Office document in Google Drive. You still need to convert it into a Google Doc and share it in the old way.

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As a prospective teacher, who is a senior student in a five year Integrated B.S. and M.S. Program in Teaching Mathematics in Faculty of Education, Boğaziçi University, my internship in Robert College has been one of the most intense experience throughout my undergraduate study. I deliberately use the word ‘intense’ since I was extremely exposed to many educational technology tools and their effective usage in classrooms. A ten-week long internship program with class observations of 8 block lesson hours per week and practice instructions of 2 block lesson hours had great impact on my teaching experiences. What makes my experiences great is that I have observed and learned how to use TI 84 graphing calculator, interactive white board, Google Apps, Web2.0 tools and many more things in classroom instruction. In this article I’d like to share some of the key facts I have observed so far.

As teachers, first thing you need to consider is to be sure that your students are ready for the tasks you will cover in the lesson. Creating an environment where students learn new concepts by building up their own conceptual knowledge brings true learning. Assessment is also a key factor to plan your lessons and should provide you enough data to understand to what extent you have reached your expected goals for the students.

When it comes to assessment, you need to think both the capability and the time efficiency of your method. As an example, in one of Mr. Firat’s classes I have seen that Google Docs could be used as formative assessment tools to provide students with immediate feedback on their performances. Thanks to BYOD, all students have access to a Google Form in which there are many questions. As soon as they answer a question they receive a feedback which shows how good their performance is by providing the statistics of performances in the class. Since Google Docs allows teachers to integrate online grading tools using scripts, such as Flubaroo, teachers can send individualized feedback to each student in seconds. Thus, students get the opportunity to monitor their progress throughout the learning process, which encourages them to take the responsibility of their learning.

I have observed that in Robert College teachers have developed many skills while integrating technology tools and applications into their curriculum. Their curiosity and enthusiasm in learning and improving themselves by developing innovative instruction strategies have made me inquisitive and enthusiastic to improve my teaching skills as a prospective mathematics teacher.

Merve Sarac
[email protected]

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Augmented Reality Apps

July 26, 2014 | iDevices  |  1 Comment

One of my colleagues has discovered the magical world of augmented reality and asked me which apps I have installed to my iPad. I have prepared a file for him and wanted to share it with you as well. If you are new to AR you can think of it as a layer you put between reality and your eyes by using your mobile device’s camera and screen. You can insert images, videos, anything you want onto that virtual layer.

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Among those my favourites are Aurasma, colAR Mix, ChromVille, Anatomy 4D and Star Chart. By the way I need to say that Qrafter and i-nigma are QR Code readers and generators. QR codes are still popular so you should have these kind of apps.

Below you can find the links to the websites or iTunes pages for the apps. Most of them work in both iOS and Android.

The Brain ARBlippar , Elements 4D , EnchantiumLayarQrafteri-nigmaAugment , Sekai Camera , AR Media , ChromVille , colAR Mix , Anatomy 4D , Star Chart , Sun Seeker , DAQRI , SnapShop , Junaio , Wikitude , ZooBurst , acrossair , Aurasma

 

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Multitasking can be simplified as doing more than one task at the same time. This is something our students and we do regularly. We all think that there is no problem in multitasking because everything works fine and whenever we come up with an error we consider it normal. After all we are human and humans can make errors. In an overall approach the idea sounds right but there are some people who claim that multitasking increases the probability of doing errors and they have concrete scientific research results. Let me give you two examples which will clarify the situation:

1) Writing an English essay while talking on the phone with your friend (about a movie etc).

I can hear that you are saying this is a bad example because nobody does this and you are right. If two or more actions are continuous then people tend to focus on only one task. This habit is broken when it comes to driving. Many people unfortunately risk lives by texting or talking on the phone while driving.

2) Writing an English essay and checking an SMS message.

Now this example is the reason of all those discussions because the second action is not continuous. You checked the message, replied it and it took only 10 seconds. You think you can continue where you left off but actually you can’t.

While trying to study at home students get occupied by the small tasks coming from their cell phones, laptops or tablets. They think that they can manage the process but this is scientifically impossible; brain can not multitask. Below you can find some resources which support this fact.

From Brain Rules Book – Attention

Beliefs That Make You Fail – Part 1 (check 3:10)

An Infographic With Statistical Facts

multitasking infographic

A really good article by Kendra Cherry – The Cognitive Costs of Multitasking

A different approach to the discussion via TeachThought – Teachers: The Real Masters of Multitasking

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In my previous article I tried to explain the reasons behind why GeoGebra is so popular all around the world. As I explained before, it ensures the interactivity in the lessons and enhances the teaching and learning of mathematical concepts. However, using it appropriately and effectively is more important than knowing what it is. In the second part of my article, I will provide examples of the use of GeoGebra in different areas.

Activity 1. Please follow the instructions listed below:

  1. Click on the following link  to download latest version of GeoGebra. GeoGebra’s official website.

  1. Write “(x^2+y^2-1)^3 – x^2y^3 = 0″ into the input bar and press enter. Be aware that you have already constructed a curve on the window easily.

  2. Right click on the curve and select C:\Users\Hp\Desktop\Adsız.png Object Properties from the popup menu.

  3. Click on the Color found in the second place in horizontal menu and choose the “red”.
  4. Click on the Style found in the third place in the horizontal menu and set the value of C:\Users\Hp\Desktop\Adsız.png Line Thickness Slider for 9. Be aware of the changes on the curve in terms of color and style.
  5. Click on the twelfth icon in the Tool Bar. Use AdsızZoom In AdsızZoom Out and AdsızMove Graphics View to get the clear view of the curve.
  6. Click on C:\Users\Hp\Desktop\Adsız.pngClose which is in the upper-right corner of the child window to close it.
  7. Click on File located on the upper-left corner of the GeoGebra parent window.
  8. Choose C:\Users\Hp\Desktop\Adsız.png Save from the drop down menu.
  9. Name your GeoGebra file as Activity 1 and save your file.

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Figure 1. Plotting graph of (x2+y2-1)3-x2y3=0 in GeoGebra

Now you are finished. Below, you can see some other examples I created to represent how GeoGebra can be used in different areas.

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As you can see from examples GeoGebra can be used to encourage discovery and visualize mathematical concepts. I’d like you to take a moment and try to find areas at which GeoGebra can be used to enhance learning. If you visit the GeoGebra forum site you can find examples, teacher discussions and many more useful resources.

I came to the end of my article here. I’d like to add that I am one of the researchers who make studies on GeoGebra. I have just completed my thesis study which aims to develop worksheets including activities similar to Activity-1 so that high school mathematics teachers can use GeoGebra appropriately and efficiently in teaching and learning of geometry.

Finally, I would like to thank Emre Fırat for his helpful comments and sharing my article on his blog.

Hamide Akkoca, MA
Mathematics Teacher-Researcher
Tarsus American College
Email: [email protected]
Web: sites.google.com/site/mathematicsedutr

 

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Today I have received an email from Google telling me that I can start using Classroom. I was waiting for this for a long time and I’m very excited to be able to work on Classroom before September. I logged in to my account and started working on it. Below I’m sharing my first presentation on Classroom For Beginners.

If you have no idea about what Google Classroom is let me explain it very quickly; if you are a user of a Learning Management Sytem like Moodle, Haiku or Edmodo you can start forgetting about them. Google Classroom will take their places. If you don’t use an LMS or don’t know what it is you can think of Google Classroom as a platform where you can organize your Google Drive content in a better and easier way. You will be able to assign and follow tasks, publish announcements etc. Here is an excerpt from the site classroom.google.com ;

“Classroom weaves together Google Docs, Drive and Gmail to help teachers create and organize assignments quickly, provide feedback efficiently, and communicate with their classes with ease. And it lets students organize their work, complete and turn it in, and communicate directly with their teachers and peers.”

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Recently I have been informed that International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi) (http://itdi.pro) is launching a MOOC for TEFL teacher development training on WizIQ which is an online education platform where you can learn and teach many topics. You can find more information about WizIQ at www.wiziq.com

The MOOC is scheduled to begin on July 20, 2014 and it will help teachers in the following way:

  • Learning how to make their own education materials
  • Designing interactive classroom games
  • Discovering how to create projects, and set up a blog
  • Learn about the latest education apps, using social media in class & more.

There is a very rich list of presenters and participants will be able to choose from a wide range of sessions. Moreover all the participants will be awarded Certificates of Participation issued by WizIQ and certified by iTDi.

To enroll now and for more details about the course you can visit: bit.ly/WbNekO
For course enquiries you can contact: [email protected]

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