Friday, June 29, 2012

Teaching with Technology

I think many teachers use technology effectively in their classrooms, but for me it has been a struggle to figure out what adds to the experience and what does not.

Every year, we do a physics lab with shared class data.  Every small group contributes their set of data, and we use the larger data set for statistical analysis.  The usual old-fashioned thing we did was for kids to come up and record their data on the white-board in their lab group's column.  (The lab wasn't all that old-fashioned; it was an electronic motion-sensor projectile motion experiment!)

One year, I tried to use our "smart"-board to record the data.  It was all fun and games until one student accidentally bumped something wrong, and the whole data set was wiped out.  There was one second of the board telling me to click "here" if I actually didn't want everything erased, but I wasn't fast enough.  All I can say is that white-board markers never erase themselves!

But at my school, the district really cares about helping us use technology effectively.  I think I did something good in making two videos these past couple of days, to help my students understand the "P.U.K.E.S." method of problem solving.  My thought is that they can have the videos whenever needed, as a little way to help me nag them 24/7 - and who wouldn't want that?

The first video gives an overview, basically identical to what we'll do in class (sorry for the bad audio; it was my first ever director position - but watch out, Mr. Tarantino, by next summer!).  The second covers pitfalls, in case anyone is still missing credit on their problem sets.


  1. Do you know about Khan Academy? :-)

    1. Well yes, I mean obviously :)
      But the trick was to figure out how to support what I'm actually doing in class, and while there are general resources out there, there wasn't quite what I needed here. I still think that technology in the classroom runs the risk of being a hammer looking for nails.