Exercising my Dilatation Brain on the iPad

Once upon a yesterday, a math teacher asked me if there was something she could use to teach dilatations on the iPad.

I said sure!

and then quickly looked up what the heck that was ( a math genius, I am not). First question: what is the difference between dilatation and dilation? Has the math language police dropped the ball on this one? Are they the same thing? Please oh please math genius people, could you clarify?

Not that I was going to let a small issue of semantics stop me, not I. I was going to figure out how to dilatate on the iPad if it killed me.

It almost did, but not because of the iPad thing. No, it is because I am a reluctant mather, which in a way made me a perfect guinea pig as my skill level is on par with a 14 year old.

So the first thing I did was go to the amazing programs other Math teacher has adapted to work on the iPad:



I clicked on Transformations (I knew that much) and went straight for dilatations, skipping all the other steps. Yep. I’m cocky.




I had no idea what to do, so I thought I would google a useful tutorial on my desktop ( I know. Cheating). But where was the center of dilation? How can I do anything without the freaking centre????

Could there be two ways of doing this dilatation thing? Oh no. What have I gotten myself into?

Then I remembered that Mr. Math teacher made helpful videos conveniently located at the bottom of the page (these are screenshots of the beginning and the end of the video):



And the answer!



But wait…You mean dilatation is just an intimidating word for making it bigger or smaller?  Like, you just have to multiply it by the second number there? I can do that!

So back to the exercises ( I got the first one wrong so I had to try again):

photoTake that dilatation! I totally kicked your butt! Now the only problem with this program is that there is no place to show your work- it is meant as an exercise tool for the students, as individual practice. Still, I am using an iPad, which means my calculations are only a photo away:



Aren’t you glad I’m not your student?

I thought I would try the same thing on the free version of geometry pad just to have a comparison:



Geometry pad allows you to save your work as an image or PDF as well as mail it.

Math teacher’s amazing programs are great for students to practice. It keeps a tally of how many problems they get right and how many they get wrong and also gives the answer when it isn’t correct. This is great for the kids who have grasped the concept and just need to practice it. Also, the video was super helpful, at least for me, who knew nothing about dilatation.

However, if you are a teacher who likes to see the process of your student even during their practice sheets, geometry pad is an option. The only problem is that the student will have to input the first triangle they need to dilatate as it is a blank graph. And it might be annoying to receive a lot of jpegs of problems…However, it could be a good option in terms of presenting the concept to the class…

In conclusion, here is my brain before dilatation:



After dilatation:



The Smart Way to Use iPads in the Classroom

Via Slate.com

It is day three in my quest to hear from every teacher about how it is going with the iPads and I gotta say, I’m tired. Physically tired, yes, as talking for a long time makes my librarian head hurt, but also intellectually tired. Effectively integrating technology in the classroom isn’t exactly hard, but it takes some time and thought, two things that work in tandem (you need time to think, yo).

About to drown in a sea of despair at all the barriers we need to break down and challenges to face, this article brought me back to the shores of hope:

The school has an unconventional take on the iPad’s purpose. The devices are not really valued as portable screens or mobile gaming devices. Teachers I talked to seemed uninterested, almost dismissive, of animations and gamelike apps. Instead, the tablets were intended to be used as video cameras, audio recorders, and multimedia notebooks of individual students’ creations. The teachers cared most about how the devices could capture moments that told stories about their students’ experiences in school. Instead of focusing on what was coming out of the iPad, they were focused on what was going into it.

This warmed the cockles of my heart because the teachers are using it as a tool to useful record, enhance and evaluate students’ work. Now, I know you know I have mentioned this before. But I think the point that the more you figure out how it can be useful to you, the better it will be integrated into the classroom.

I would also venture to say that the most active staff members with the iPad at our school are the ones who are doing exactly like the school in the quote: they are using the whiteboard apps to present and record their lessons to students and then linking them to the portal. They are using the video app to record students work for evaluation. They are using google drive and other collaborative software for group work.

As for digital portfolios for students, I don’t know if anyone is doing that but I think it is an amazing idea!

The author of this article Lisa Guernsey nails it on the head when she concludes:

My lesson from ZIS is that we should make sure we have teachers who understand how to help children learn from the technology before throwing a lot of money into iPad purchasing. It wasn’t the 600 iPads that were so impressive— it was the mindset of a teaching staff devoted to giving students time for creation and reflection. Are American public schools ready to recognize that it’s the adults and students around the iPads, not just the iPads themselves, that require some real attention?



Using Technology Vs. Technology Integration

Via educatorstechnology via teachbytes

As my iPad survey for teachers is in full swing and I am getting to talk to a whole bunch of teachers with different levels of comfort with the iPad and technology in general, I am struck by the prevalent feeling amongst the teachers that they need to be using the iPad for the sake of using the iPad when they cannot see how it fits into their lessons.

Now this is dismaying to me as I have always thought of technology as a tool- you use it when it makes your life easier to use it. For example, my husband boasts he can open a bottle of wine with his shoe. My argument for that (besides the fact that I don’t want his shoe near my bottle of wine) is why use a shoe when we have a corkscrew? Same with the iPad and teaching- use it when it enhances your lessons. When the task you have to do is made simpler by the device.

I would add this codicil, though: just because you can’t see how it could be useful to your class, doesn’t mean it isn’t. Take the time (I know, I know. That is the commodity nobody seems to have) to see how the iPad could fit into your lesson.

Here is an excellent chart from teachbytes outlining the difference between simply using technology and integrating technology into your classroom:


Food for thought Friday: Why most K-12 schools aren’t ready for the iPad Revolution

Via venturebeat

I read this article while I am in the midst of surveying the teachers of our school in order to take the pulse of the attitudes toward this new technology. It is asking some big questions, some that have been on my mind for a while:

As of February 2013, 4.5 million iPads had been purchased for use in the U.S. K-12 academic environment. One million of these purchases happened in Q2 of 2012 alone, which represented more than the total number of K-12 iPads purchased up to that point. The growth rate is staggering, and doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. But are our schools ready for the iSwarm? Read more

Reimer brings up the issue of teacher planning as well as the prickly issue of the iPad being more of a consumption device as opposed to a creation device. Although I am currently preoccupied with the former challenge (how do you support the integration and implementation into the workflow of already over-worked teachers?) it is the latter that disturbs me the most:

There is essentially universal agreement that we need to invest heavily in STEM education, particularly from a human resource standpoint. Well, guess what: Handing a student an iPad won’t inspire them to build it or program it. You’d be better off giving them a graphing calculator or a cheap computer and teaching them to code.

I just recently introduced my eleven year-old daughter to Scratch a coding program meant for kids (ok- I introduced it to her last night). I got her started and then went for a run. By the time I got back, she had her cat dancing to a rhythm of her own making, changing colours and growing bigger, all with the code that she created. It is just a start, but I am interested to see how far she will take it.
There are certain things I don’t agree with- like the statement that most students would be only using their device for facebook and twitter. Don’t get me wrong, they will for sure be using all of those things quite a lot. But how are they using it? My elder daughter’s class have set up their own facebook grouptfor homework. If someone isn’t understanding, she logs in to the group and asks her question. Or facetime- yes, she uses facetime to talk to her friends but more often than not she is using it to connect to a project partner.
Yes they play games. Yes they spend a lot of time texting and chatting with their friends. But they also take notes on it, use it as their agenda, study with their teacher-created ibooks. A lot of them read and create their own writing on sites like wattpad.
I see the playing and socializing as a necessary colonization of a space they need explore in order to discover how it can be useful for them.
What do you think?



Infographic Thursday: Adapting to Online Learning

Via Edudemic


So let me get this straight:

The students who do better in online courses are those who are:

  1. richer,
  2. academically strong to being with,
  3. older,
  4. women.

These kind of studies make me want to utter a statement that begins with No and ends with Sherlock. But it is interesting to remember when we are talking about things like the flipped classroom or blended learning. This is something I have been thinking about for a long time- that the students who will benefit from reading the texts or watching the videos before class so that when they get to class they can do their work will be only a small portion of students.

It is also good to remember that learning online is not for everyone. Though it is a wonderful  option for those motivated, academically strong learners, many students still benefit from the presence of a teacher and the structure of a classroom.

Which I am sure is a statement that could also be answered with the statement that ends with Sherlock…

What do you think?

Survey Apps



Be warned oh teachers at my school! I am in the midst of creating an iPad in the Classroom survey in order to gage our progress with this new fangled device. As I want to ask the questions in person in order to get a better feel for where people are, I am not going to publish it online until I have the results, but I thought the search for an app that can do what I needed was interesting enough to post.

Okay, the word interesting might be stretching it a little…

I ended up using polldaddy, which is the poll tool attached to wordpress ( same company, same account). Although the app allows you to take the survey with a nice clean interface, it does not allow you to create a poll.

Still I came across a couple of good survey making tools, one for teachers but not necessarily exclusive to the iPad:

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 12.03.39 PM
Read more

And this wiki that lists a bunch of apps for data collecting, survey taking and other statistics related activity:

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 12.07.34 PM

Read more

I used poll daddy because A: there is a free version B: I wanted to be able to add long answers C: I wanted to be mobile with the survey and collect the answers on my iPad D: because it allowed me to take my survey offline ( I didn’t need to be connected to the internet in order to access it, but I will be able to sync the answers when I am readdy to view the results!)

Are We Doing Enough to Support the Parents?

I was perusing my iPad resources today and came across this post from my Fave iPad lady Lisa Johnson. She was talking about the implementation of a 1:1 iPad program in an independent school district and how it has been successful because they have taken a “360” approach:

I will say it would not be effective or successful if it weren’t for the 360 model of supporting all angles of the initiative… from district and admin decisions to student and teacher training and even parent meetings ranging from disseminating information to providing tips and tricks to manage the devices at home.Lisa Johnson

As this first year of our first 1:1 class comes to the end I realize we have given some teacher training (though by all accounts we could do more) and have talked to the students about social media and iPad management (though those lessons are hard and require much repetition) but we have not done anything for the parents. The post above gives links to the live streamed info sessions they gave at their parent sessions as well as a list of the resources they mentioned.

I think next year it would be a good thing to do the same thing, if only to let the parents know what our philosophy is at the school. I would also like to emphasize to the parents that managing technology is not something that is going to come overnight to the kids (it is a book, a theatre, a music library and an arcade all wrapped into one) just as time management and organization is not an innate skill. A combined vigilance at school and at home is required in order to develop in the student good study habits.

What do you think?