Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Learning from a Science/Math Teacher - Mr. Mitchell

In the last few years I have been working on simplifying my life with technology.  Being a seasoned teacher and technology user, I have used many different programs and methods that may or may not have made my life simpler, for example, 4 or 5 different mark programs:  Grade Master, Master Grade etc etc . I have learned 10 Statement Fortran, Basic, Latek and most have gone by the wayside, let alone SIS and then BCeSIS.  Many of these programs were so poor that the work and frustration levels actually go up instead of going down.

It is finding of things that just make life easier, that can be used without the rel-earning curve that I look for at this point in my career. 

One item that I have adapted to in the last year is the Document Reader.  I was given one to attach to my projector and have moved up one level to the newer version of this device.  The ability to show demonstrations of magnetic fields right onto the screen, the effects of electricity on magnets directly onto the screen as well as just not having to stare into the overhead projector light 5 hours per day has been a boon to me.  Writing notes in multiple colors and being able to keep them as is afterwards is great.  I find that showing errors and corrections by taking a students’ test or worksheet and examining their steps and errors without having to make a transparency is a great thing.   As an academics teacher, I would be hard pressed to move away from this system. . There are functions that allow it to overlay onto the computer, that allow you to save screen captures and video. While I have not used these functions beyond ‘playing’ with them, I see these as future developments in my teaching style.

In order to simplify the giving out answer keys in my Physics 12 class, I have also used DROPBOX.  Dropbox is a cloud computing system where I can place PDF files that the students can then access from their own accounts.  This replaces the old photocopy the answer keys and either post them on a bulletin board, or to photocopy them and hand those out. I have also used this to get students to make up answer keys for the questions that I then scan and   Next year I plan on expanding its use to Physics 11 as well as Physics 12.  The new Sharepoint at the district level may make this much more available for all staff in the district.  It will be interesting to see.

These are two of the technologies that I have found in the last year that have actually made my life, or I believe, will make my life simpler as a teacher as well as improving my abilities in my classroom.  A win-win situation.  

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