How To Save Tweets?

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

Introducing GeoGebra Dynamic Mathematics Software – Part 2

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: hamideakkoca@gmail.com
Web: sites.google.com/site/mathematicsedutr

 

MOOC for TEFL Teacher Training

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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: courses@wiziq.com

colAR Mix Augmented Reality App For Kids

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When it comes to babies, toddlers or kids I’m against using the drawing/painting apps on iPad or any other digital device. I think kids should do their painting activities in an old-fashioned way where they use all of their senses. I believe it is the right way to follow for a healthy brain development (actually I have read lots of articles and books about this but I’m not going to discuss it now). BUT it is also a fact that digital devices offer activities which can not be done in real world and these activities are also beneficial for kids’ learning and brain development.

This fact creates a dilemma so in order to find a balance I developed a 9:1 ratio rule for my son; 9 activities with pens, paper etc. and 1 activity with iPad (a carefully chosen one). While I was trying to stick to this rule I came across with augmented reality (AR) technology. I was really impressed with the idea (and the Aurasma app). It was simple; open your mobile device’s camera and look around through the screen of your device. Whenever the camera sees a trigger image the AR app starts an animation onto that image. This way you can see the altered/augmented reality through the screen. After spending sometime with Aurasma app I realized that this was just a beginning. Think about Google Glass and AR together. You liked the idea right? But let’s not digress from our topic.

Now I’m presenting you colAR Mix augmented reality app, an AR app for kids. It is a very brilliant application of AR technology. It combines real world no-technology painting activities with technology (where real world activities outweigh technology). It is very easy to use; go to their website and download print pages for painting. Take the printed pages to the kids and let them start  painting the pictures with regular pens. Then open the colAR Mix app on an iPad or an Android device and give it to the kids. When they show their paintings to the camera magic happens and their paintings come alive!

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Actually the magical things going behind are very simple. The print outs are trigger images for the app and the app developers defined an animation for each image. Also they enriched the animations with additional action buttons which are also animations. If you are confused please take a look at the following video which demonstrates how the app works.

I really liked this app because it combines real-world and technology activities together and creates a perfect balance. It also encourages kids to create their own augmented reality materials. After some time they will finish watching all the animations and will ask for more. The AR apps, like Aurasma, lets them create a channel where they can upload their own trigger images and related animations or videos or web links and share it with the whole world. For now colAR Mix doesn’t have those features but I’m guessing it will very soon.

You can find the download links of the colAR Mix app in their website www.colarapp.com

Power Up PowerPoint With Office Mix

 

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We are having an edtech bombardment. Every day a new type of technology comes into our life and we start discussing how we can use it in education. The discussions on devices go along with pedagogical methods like Flipped Classroom or Blended Learning. These methods are not new discoveries so our discussions focus on how we can alter these methods by using latest technologies and software applications.

You might be aware of some screen casting apps like ShowMe or Educreations which let you to create videos for your flipped classroom by recording the screen. These apps can record your voice and ink annotations you make on a blank page. They give you the option to insert pictures and some of them support camera recording as well. This means students will be able to see materials you show to camera or your face on the corner of the screen.

You can use these apps to turn your PowerPoint presentations into videos. Simply save your slides as pictures, insert them into one of these apps, press Rec button and start your lecturing…. but this sounds a little bit tiring; you need to do some technical stuff, you will lose animations and other features of PowerPoint and you will switch to another software which you don’t know how to use etc. Since you already know how to use Powerpoint wouldn’t it be perfect if you could do all these things inside PowerPoint without losing any of the features?

Well, Microsoft has a surprise for you. As of May 7th, 2014 they released Office Mix add-in. This is a small software which installs itself inside PowerPoint and by adding new capabilities to PowerPoint it gives you the opportunity to turn your PowerPoint presentations into interactive online lessons. How cool is that?

The new capabilities are as follows. You can;

– Record your voice, your face and your ink annotations.

– Create quizzes just like you do in any online polling tool. Moreover you can insert feedbacks, hints into your quiz.

– Make a screen recording. (Assume that you need to show a website or a document you created with another software. Click on screen recording and you will see a new toolbar on your screen. Open the other document and press Rec button. When you are done the recording will be inserted in your PowerPoint as a video. You can prefer to save the video outside the PowerPoint as well.)

– Share your document online with whoever you want to.

Now here are some features you don’t expect to see in Office Mix. First one is you can use the exercises and lessons from Khan Academy and CK12 Foundation! Can you believe that? You can directly reach world’s two major open resource sites within PowerPoint.

The second one is the evaluation feature. Office Mix provides detailed analytics so you will be able to see who have watched your lesson, the time they spent in each slide and how they performed on quizzes. Basically you’ll see everything.

You can start using Office Mix by downloading and installing the add-in from here. If you need more information you can go to How To’s page from here.

Before finishing I’d like to add one last important thing. To use this new tool 100% effective you need a touch screen device. Unfortunately traditional laptops or desktops are not suitable.

Google Docs With Add-ons

Google has launched add-ons for Google Docs which will bring more features to documents and spreadsheets. When you open a Google Doc you’ll see the following;

addon1

Click on “Get add-ons” and a whole new world will be in your service. When you install an add-on, it will be installed for all documents and spreadsheets so you don’t need to install for each single document but before talking about this new great update let me give you a quick information about what an add-on is.

As you continue using a tool constantly you begin to customize it to fit your needs. Take a look at your daily things carefully and you will see how you personalized some of those. For example, suppose that you and I bought the same coat and on the same day both of us will take a walk outside. You wear the coat and it is warm enough for you whereas I wear the coat and still feel cold so I wear a scarf. In this example coat is a common tool for both of us and scarf is just an add-on I chose to add to my tool. It made my tool function better for me. According to Wikipedia an add-on is a “plug-in which is a piece of software which enhances another software application and usually cannot be run independently.” What does this mean to us? You will be able to search and add new features to your Docs and Spreadsheets whenever you want to provided that it is in the list of add-ons.

This new update will make our lives easier because in time there will be lots of add-ons which will make document preparation easier both for students and teachers. As a mathematics teacher I always wish for additional features in the documents because what we write on paper is not just English words. They are symbols, formulas, images, etc. and it is not very easy (sometimes impossible) to do this with a keyboard.

I haven’t checked all the add-ons yet but at a first glance I can say EasyBib will be a life saver. With this add-on you can “search for books, journals, and websites and format citations using MLA, APA and Chicago styles, and create your Work Cited page all within your document.” Although the Research tool helps a lot this new add-on will make things easier. You can get more information about EasyBib from here.

Another remarkable add-on is Merge by Mailchimp which helps you to send your Doc or Spreadsheet as an email. You need to identify the emails in a separate spreadsheet though.

The list goes on and it seems that it will get longer and longer so if you don’t want to fall behind you should start digging today.

Google Glass in Action

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Finally I had the chance to test Google Glass personally. Our school had visitors from a company called Monitise (formerly Pozitron) who brought us three Google Glasses. Before I start sharing my experiences I’d like to send my special thanks to Monitise since they spent a whole day in the school introducing Google Glass to teachers and students although education is not their core business.

Until today I only had an idea of what Google Glass looks like and how it functions. I have read lots of articles regarding use of Google Glass but most of these articles were mainly about future possibilities and written in a futuristic way. Instead of talking about current capabilities of this technology they were focusing on future. So in this article I will try to avoid this and will try to draw a picture of what we have for today. In my next article I will share some ideas on how we can use Google Glass in education. So, let’s start.

When I first took it I felt the unbalanced weight. Since the hardware is located on the right side I thought it won’t feel nice when you wear it. To my surprise it didn’t matter much. The frame was designed in a way where you don’t feel like someone is pulling your right ear down. By the way I was informed that this frame is a new one but there are more options in frame choices.

Starting the Google Glass is easy. You can lift your head up to a certain degree (which you can change its setting later) or you can simply tap on the right side. When they told me to tap it I searched for a button 🙂 but the right side of the G. Glass was a touch pad. With this pad you can swipe left, right and down in the menu. Swiping left and right makes you move on to next item and swiping down works like a back key. Here is the main menu;

GlassMenu

It looks very simple right? Well, actually it is. I mean I was expecting a much more complicated home screen but before I continue with the menu let me finish physical appearance. The screen is carefully located so that it does not interfere with your sight. Its location is a little bit above your eyesight so you need to look up to see the screen. This is totally an intentional design. Google doesn’t want to add a virtual layer to what our eyes can see.

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Google Glass screen occupies only a very small proportion of your right eyesight which makes some actions like taking photos easy but some actions like reading websites hard, almost impossible. I believe this is one of the most important principle in the development of this device. In the discussions I see that people assume it works like Terminator or a Robocop screen. The trend might be going to that way or maybe it is an expectation for some people today it’s not the case.

There is a built in microphone and speaker. I won’t give details about technical specs but you might want to get more info on how speaker works because it has a strange technology. The only problem is it doesn’t have a voice recognition feature yet. In a crowded place your Google Glass might suddenly work with another person’s command.

Ok, let’s get back to the menu. I shared the main menu above. You can see a “ok glass” message. This is your trigger to start Google Glass. When you say “ok glass” it acts like a soldier who stands at attention and ready to take orders. After “ok glass” you give a voice command like “take a picture”. The commands are limited. The system doesn’t work like Siri and it is not an advanced artificial intelligence… yet.

Google-Glass-Voice-Commands

Although the voice commands are limited it is obvious that more are coming. By swiping left-right, down and by tapping the right side of the Google Glass you can reach other features such as weather forecast, system status, settings etc. Moreover you can reach applications like facebook or twitter. Google Glass has the Android operating system but the interface is different. This means you can make the Andorid apps work in Google Glass. Of course these apps are not the ones in Google Play Store but you got the idea. You might want to check the following website http://glass-apps.org/google-glass-application-list as an example.

Since our expectations from wearable technologies are nourished from sci-fi movies Google Glass is a little bit far away from fulfilling those but this is a start and I believe a good one. I hope it will be in the market soon and even if Google doesn’t make any improvements I will be one of the first owners because I see a great potential in this device.

Collaboration in Smart Notebook Software

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 10.40.27 PMThis article is for those who use Smartboard and Smart Notebook software. As you know Smart Notebook software doesn’t let teacher notes and student computers collaborate. I mean suppose you ask a question and want to collect student answers onto your Notebook page. Until today it wasn’t possible but now with an add-on your students can send a text or picture right onto your lesson notes. For some of you maybe this is the first time you heard that it is possible to run an add-on in Notebook.

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Extreme Collaboration is a third party software. Installing and running the add-on is very easy but I lived a very small problem. While entering my e-mail address I couldn’t write @ sign. I couldn’t realize that I should use the @ button next to the e-mail address bar. There is a detailed tutorial in the website to setup the add-on.

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I tried it with my devices at home and it worked flawlessly but I’m not sure what will happen when 24 students join the same session. By the way as you know Smart had produced additional software to create collaboration in Notebook software. You can check their website and try the products for 30-day. Below is an example from a music class on how to use Extreme Collaboration.

From A Student-Teacher’s View – DyKnow

As usual we had interns, student-teachers visiting our school and department last month. They were with us to make observations and practice teaching. One of them, Burcu, wrote an article about the classroom management software we use. Below you can read an intern’s experiences with DyKnow. You can reach my article about DyKnow from here.

Hello. I am Burcu Yagiz. I am a student in a two year teacher education program provided by Bilkent University Graduate School of Education which awards a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, together with a Teaching Certificate. I was an internship at Robert College for two weeks. I observed teaching techniques, new innovative tools that teachers use to enhance teaching and learning. I also had the chance to see the importance of interaction in effective learning by observing the use of a software called DyKnow.

DyKnow is an educational software designed to engage students in learning in a pen-enabled environment. DyKnow software includes two parts: DyKnow Vision and DyKnow Monitor. Vision is a teaching and learning tool and Monitor is a classroom management tool used to control and reduce electronic distraction in the mobile learning environment. The software includes presentations, student submission, grading, and text reading, and particularly focusing on understanding the learning content. Moreover, I had a chance to implement this software in my teaching experience at Robert College.

The topic of my lesson was periodic functions; stretching and shrinking graphs. I used the following figures in the DyKnow presentation slides.

When students started the DyKnow session on their own computers they were able to see the same slides on my screen. I asked the students several questions and they demonstrated their understanding by writing their explanations on the slides. They submitted their slides so that each student’s screen could be seen. In other words, DyKnow’s student submission feature allowed students to share their work with the teacher or with the class.

At the end of the lesson, I asked the students to submit their status which could be done by clicking on “I understand well” or “I don’t understand”. I think this can be a new perspective to assess students.

During my internship it appeared to me that teachers and students enjoy using DyKnow software and as a student-teacher I can say that DyKnow had a positive impact on my teaching experience.

As of August 2013 there is an update to DyKnow. It is now web based and can be used in BYOD classes. More info at goo.gl/EdvckK

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DyKnow Classroom Management Software

What are Classroom Management Softwares and why do we need them?

When I mention CMS, teachers usually understand that it involves monitoring student activities and it is mainly correct. Although a CMS is more than that, most people use it as a monitoring device. In my school, we use DyKnow. It has great features but some parts of it have to be improved. Let me tell you what features I like most and how I use them.

First of all, I can control student laptops. They cannot surf the web while I’m lecturing or listen to music or chat with each other etc. without my permission. I can literally block all the activities with one single click. There is one issue about this. If you start controlling students in this way then they start to feel that those devices do not belong to them anymore and they may lack enthusiasm and motivation. So, in terms of classroom management, making students use their devices in a responsible manner and creating a self-discipline among students is important.

Second, with the help of DyKnow, students can follow everything I write on Smartboard on their screens. Moreover, they can take personal notes and create their own digital notebook by saving them to their computers. At the end of the lesson, I don’t need to send an email with lesson notes attached anymore.

Related to this feature, I can retrieve those student notes to my computer and it is a very useful thing. Sometimes I experience a situation like this; a student asks something and whatever he/she is asking, it is in his/her notebook. So, I may need to go and look at the notes he/she has taken and then give the answer. It is distracting for other students and it is hard to share it with the rest of the class if I don’t have a document camera or a mobile device with me. Using DyKnow that student can submit his/her page and I can retrieve it to my computer, project it to share, give the answer and discuss with the whole class.

Third, DyKnow comes with a polling feature. That can help you to ask a question and get an answer from all students. That’s very helpful if you want to see the big picture. I wrote about a very useful technique related to polling; The Importance Of Feedback.

There are many other features but those are like standard features for all CMS tools so I won’t mention them in this article but if I remember something important, I’ll let you know.

As you see DyKnow, a CMS, is more than monitoring student activities. I believe in the near future they will be equipped with new tools similar to Web2.0 tools we are currently using.

Now, I’m wondering what CMS you are currently using and what features do you like most?

As of August 2013 there is an update to DyKnow. It is now web based and can be used in BYOD classes. More info at goo.gl/EdvckK

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