Thursday, February 25, 2010

One of the folks I have come to know through some of the collaborative wiki's, bogs, etc. suggested to her Middle School Math teacher to create a Math wiki for her Pre-Algebra, Algebra & Geometry students. The power of the technology integration is NOT about the tool (the wiki itself), but about the math and a long list of other skills that are being addressed and embedded.
Students are reviewing content they learned in math class, they are organizing definitions, linking information, creating visuals, screencasts, audio files and tutorials. They are using various tools, such as Skitch and SmartBoard Notebook software to create the image and video files, but have also tapped into PowerPoint and Animoto to create math tutorial music videos.
The math teacher had an informal classroom discussion about students’ perspective of the value of the wiki. Students then brainstormed more formal questions they would like to see on a more official survey of their thoughts regarding the wiki and its effectiveness as it relates to their learning.
She created a Google Form and 7th and 8th grade students took the survey. A sample of the results are below. What are your thoughts about a wiki as a teaching/learning tool? Do you think students could/would feel they are learning better/differently/more engaged? Or is this just wishful thinking on our part?
Does the presence of the visitor’s map impact your work?
  • Yes. It shows me that there are people in the world that are counting on our work to learn about math, from a student perspective.
  • Yes, because it makes me feel like someone is looking at my work that I have done, and that its helping them. This encourages me to work harder!
  • A little. It makes us want to make the Wiki good for our viewers, but i don’t feel that way.
  • Yes it does. I find that whenever I see the map and it has more dots for more people, I feel that I need to work as hard as I can to show off and impress the people who go on and use this site.
  • No. I really couldn’t care less if it is there or not. I don’t even look at it.
  • Yes, it does, because it makes you work harder because people are looking at your work.
  • Not when there’s mostly 1 or 2 views.
  • Yes, the more viewers makes me want to work harder
  • Yes, it helps to see that people actually appreciate our efforts.
  • No, although I do enjoy being able to see who’s visited our map, it doesn’t really impact my overall performance on the wiki.
  • Yes. if there are people looking at my work then I want to do my best and make it professional.
  • Not really. Just because someone from somewhere else is looking at the site doesn’t mean I need to care. Somebody in the class will probably edit the page and make it look nice anyway.
  • Yes, because it motivates us more that more people are looking at the work we have done.
  • Yes, it does. When I see how many people have viewed the wiki, it drives me to want to make it the best it can be.
  • Yes. The first thing you see when you go to the wiki is the cluster map and it shows you that other people are looking at this and judging us on this. We should do a good job and try our best because that is what they think of us, if we do a horrible job and put in no effort they will think that we are all lazy.
  • Not really. I just do what needs to be done and seeing who is accessing the wiki from where does not impact my work at all.
  • No. It is an interesting tidbit to put on the wiki and I like looking at it, but it does not really influence me to do better or worse.
  • No, it does not impact my work. When I am editing, I never even look at the visitor’s map. I think it is cool, but it does not effect how I work on the wiki. This is on the internet and can be seen by anyone, but even if it was private, I would still put my best effort into it. I think it is amazing how many people have looked at our site and possibly used it to help them with math!
  • Yes it shows me that other people use this stuff not just us. It shows that it serves a big purpose. Plus its just really cool to look at.

Do you think your work on the wiki contributes to your own learning?

  • Yes, I believe my work contributed to my own learning because every time you write something down you learn.
  • Yes, even if we have already learned a subject, putting it on the wiki helps me review what we have learned in the past.
  • Well, I don’t think about it for myself, I think about contributing to others, for their learning experience. I think it helps I just don’t recognize it, because I am a good student/ make good grades in math class.
  • It does because some of the definitions and lessons in the earlier chapters I was not here for so when I look at the information about each chapter and definitions it helps me understand and learn what I missed.
  • Yes. It is a review of the things we, as a class have learned so far. It also always helps to remember things by writing/typing them in detail.
  • Yes, because you are reviewing what you have learned in unique ways with videos and photos.
  • Not really. It’s fun to do, but I never use it.
  • Yes, when I edit I find mistakes that even help me understand what the right thing to do is.
  • Yes. I study and learn from the wiki. It helps me study for my tests.
  • Yes, It helps me to type out how to do stuff that we are learning and see how you do it too. I really like putting pictures on the pages too to show my work better.
  • No. I usually do things i know how to do already.
  • No because I do not look at it at home.
  • Yes. I believe that working on the wiki helps me remember past chapters and lessons as well as the current ones. It is good to once a week have a quick refresher of what we have been doing in math class all year.
  • Yes because when I am editing a page I have to remember the lesson and try to put it into easier words and sentences and sometimes make a picture. You have to know what you are talking about before you talk about it.
  • Kind of. It does help me remember math that we had learned at the beginning of the year, but that is about it. The wiki does not really affect me when it comes to studying for tests.
    Yes. I feel confidence when i look at the hard worked on parts of Geometry. When we go to a new chapter and it uses tools from previous ones, I can usually find that information on the wiki.
  • Yes, working on the wiki definitely contributes to my learning. For example, something may be confusing to me, bu then I work it out step by step on the wiki and it becomes clearer. Not only that, but working on the wiki also helps me review work from earlier in the year.
  • The info definitely is an easier way to review stuff than opening our text book. It makes the topics more interesting, but since we have such a small class, a lot of the lessons are not posted by the time of the test. It is nearly impossible to add all this stuff by the time of the test. If something was unclear I can try to see if the wiki will help me understand it.
Do you think your work on the wiki contributes to other students’ learning?
  • Yes, and No…. It depends on how they view everything we put up on the screen. I believe it is some ways helps them because it is in a student perspective.
  • Yes, because if just a teacher is teaching students about work. then those students might not get the material that was taught because it might not be out of a student perspective of learning.
  • I don’t feel like other students from our school look at the other class’s pages for information. Maybe for tips on their pages, but nothing academic. Maybe next year, in Algebra, I look at their Wiki for insight and help. But, I won’t be looking at it now, because that isn’t what I”m learning.
  • Yes because this website goes into detail to every little thing we have learned in math this year. It is very comprehensive. I think this will help many people in their math classes.
  • Yes, because a students perspective of learning will help other sudents.
  • No. I don’t think a student from a different class would go on our wiki to learn.
  • Yes because many people view the wiki
  • Yes, when someone does something wrong and you fix it, the next time they see it they learn that they were wrong.
  • Yes. If I edit a page and another student needs help on that lesson then that page might help them understand the lesson better.
  • Yes, we have been working really hard on the Wiki and I hope other students are learning from us. It should help because we put a lot of information into each page.
    Probably not because I do easy things everybody gets. They don’t look back at the old stuff.
  • Yes because they can also use the information for their math study.
  • Yes, I think that my work on the wiki helps other students learn because they can visit each page, maybe to edit or just to view and it helps them remember the math lessons.
  • Yes because the book can be very confusing! When we make the page we put it into simple terms and give visual examples that we can understand!
  • Somewhat. I know that I never go on the wiki out of school for math purposes, but for other students possibly having trouble in Geometry this is probably a helpful tool.
    I believe that this can help students (both in and out of our school) that are going into the grade we are working on. This wiki gives them a heads up of things they need to know and gives them a brief explanation of it.
  • Yes, I think that my work on the wiki contributes to other student’s learning. We are taking the hardest math in our school, so we can not help other students from our school in Geometry. However, lots of people have viewed our site and therefore, we are useful to at least some people. We are even helping people outside of the country. To me, that is unbelievable!It can help if for example someone forgot their textbook, maybe he formulas would be posted on the wiki. Also, if something was unclear at school, the description on the wiki might clarify that lesson.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I really consider myself one of the luckiest Principals there is. I work for an awesome district, have an incredible staff, super supportive parents, and I absolutely LOVE my kids! The winter has been a drag on me lately and I needed to take some time to "smell the roses" and get myself refocused. I still remember last year the lesson a little one taught me. I was ready throw up my hands…but sometimes, most times actually, God speaks to me with the strangest messages and changes my attitude completely. I was sitting in my office one afternoon frustrated and feeling sorry for myself when a little girl came in and asked me to read her part of a book. I love being able to do that so I said “ABSOLUTELY”! It was a Winnie the Pooh book and I love Pooh stories, so I opened the book up and read, "It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily. "So it is." "And freezing." "Is it?" "Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately." That simple message immediately reminded me that things could always be much worse and that attitude towards challenges is key. A positive attitude can turn the challenges we face to become opportunities to grow stronger and better. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to read to that little one…she was the best teacher just when I needed it most. So winter will not get the best of me...

Monday, February 1, 2010

Google Search

Ever wonder some of the things you can do in a google search? Check out this prezi!