Friday, December 16, 2011

All I Really Need to Know About Teaching I Learned From...

Mike Krzyzewski: 
“The truth is that many people set rules to keep from making decisions. Not me. I don’t want to be a manager or a dictator. I want to be a leader—and leadership is ongoing, adjustable, flexible, and dynamic. As such, leaders have to maintain a certain amount of discretion.”
Look, it doesn't matter if we are talking about lesson design, assessment (formative/summative or whateverative), reporting, feedback or any other thing you can get yourself riled up about.  The bottom line is that leaders--decision makers-- will find a way to be successful.  They'll find a way to be successful because they realize that anything worth doing is about relationships. And relationships are dynamic. Relationships are messy.  They're frustrating and they sure as heck don't come in a box.   If you're looking for a program, system or formula to guarantee success for yourself or your students, STOP!  It doesn't exist!

That's all.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Iron Sharpens Iron

Based on the feedback I've received in the comments and on Twitter, I have an updated version of this applet.  Linda has also created a screencast that will probably prove to be way more cogent than my attempt at describing the process.

Thanks to @jk_herbert@mrhodotnet@MrPicc112@mrautomatic and @mathhombre for the suggestions on Twitter.

Updated version addresses the following:

  • Writing equation given slope and y-intercept places less cognitive demand on a student than writing the equation based on the graph. Levels 3 and 4 have been switched. 
  • Points and answers can't be changed after answer has been submitted.  
  • A running total has been added so student and teacher can view overall performance.  
  • Correct answer shown once answer is submitted giving immediate feedback to students on all levels.
There were also a couple of suggestions that were already embedded in the applet.  There is a "reset" and "go to next level" button that can be accessed in the object properties.  Double clicking on the applet should open it in a separate window which will allow you to save as well as make any changes you'd like.  

Updated Applet

Update (12/6/11): Here is a version for student practice that includes both the "Reset" and "Next Level" buttons.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

GeoGebra: Leveled Applets

This stuff is crazy.  We can actually make leveled applets that allow students to move on only after they've been successful with the previous level.  I saw this applet the other day and was blown away.  The applet itself is pretty simple, but the fact that it requires students to complete a specified number of exercises perfectly before moving on is the part that really interests me.  The problem is that the thing is in German and there are a bunch of unnecessary steps.  So, looking through the construction protocol proved to be fruitless.  I'm pretty sure the guy who built it is way smarter than I am, so I'll try to simplify this the best I can.

Keeping track of student success pretty much requires three things. 

True or False

Conditions must be set to determine whether the student's answer agrees with the target answer.  This part made my head hurt.  Having different levels made setting the conditions tough at first, but once I got a feel for what I was doing, the work started to flow. 

Let's take a look at my level 1 problem.  

In order for a level 1 problem to be considered correct, two conditions had to be met:

1.  The line graphed by the student (h) had to be the same as the line generated by the applet (e). 
2.  The "Check Answer" button had to be clicked.  The button was tied to boolean value g.  

I entered the conditions for each problem type's correctness into the GGB spreadsheet and this what was entered into cell C2:
=If[ehg, true, false]

Each subsequent cell was used for the next level.  (ie.  C2 -> Level 1, C3-> Level 2, etc.)

Each individual condition for correctness was tied to a global correct boolean value named AnswerCorrect.
The condition for AnswerCorrect to be true is below.   

If[C2 ≟ true ∧ ActualLevel ≟ 1 ∨ C3 ≟ true ∧ ActualLevel ≟ 2 ∨ C4 ≟ true ∧ ActualLevel ≟ 3 ∨ C5 ≟ true ∧ ActualLevel ≟ 4 ∨ C6 ≟ true ∧ ActualLevel ≟ 5 ∨ C7 ≟ true ∧ ActualLevel ≟ 6 ∨ C8 ≟ true ∧ ActualLevel ≟ 7, true, false]

The blue text represents the condition for a Level 1 problem.  


The AnswerCorrect and AnswerWrong booleans were tied to two buttons:  ButAnswerCorrect and ButAnswerWrong.  These show up with the basic condition under the advanced tab.  

This is where the magic happens.  I'm still learning how to use the scripts, but this is where the levels advance, construction is reset and a new problem is generated.  Both buttons have scripts, but the ButAnswerCorrect button is the most complex.  These scripts can be used as a template for future applets.  This is a good thing because there is no way I could create this on my own.  

The applet I created is here.  Double click the applet to open it in a GeoGebra window.  You can then save it and play around with making your own.  

I'd really appreciate feedback on this.  If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them.  

Big thanks to Linda for helping me weed through the junk on this.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Timeline of Awesome

Friday August 12, 2011

Kate poses a great problem.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dan asks a great question.

To which I responded something like, "yeah, prolly, but it'd take a bunch of brute force."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I forward it to the GeoGebra Forum.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Raymond responds.  

This flow of information absolutely amazes me.  I mean, I loved the question after Kate posted it.  In fact, I immediately created an applet and had used the problem with my advanced class early in the first quarter.  They struggled a bit with it, but then when Dan asked about highlighting the squares and doing some of the counting, things changed.

I consider myself to be a little better than average when using GeoGebra, but Raymond is a freaking Jedi. Take a look at his stuff.  He takes an applet that I thought would require a number of tedious steps and bangs it out using 6 steps--and within 24 hours.  That's ridiculous.

The applet is here.