Sunday, April 29, 2012

This Can't Be a Good Sign

I attended the NCTM national conference in Philly this past week.  Overall it was a great experience, but I have to say that I was a bit unimpressed by the use of technology by my comrades.

The picture above is the perfect example of what I am talking about.  Do teachers still use overhead projectors?  Maybe I am spoiled at my school with the wonderful resources that I am provided with.  Is there a logical reason to prefer this "device?"  Many presenters used Powerpoint with slides containing words and some pictures.  Why not use a more dynamic piece of software or application to present material such as:
Why not engage the audience using their own devices with things like:
There are so many unbelievable things happening with the world of technology and education right now.  So much information is available for free - both on the internet or through Edcamp conferences that are happening all around the country.  Other places such as Twitter and Facebook are hotspots for educators who are building their PLN (Personal Learning Network).

In Philly there were some fabulous sessions on collaboration, problem solving, student centered learning, and formative assessment.  Although the use of technology during the sessions was minimal, there was one session that blew my mind where a Kinect and math created software were used teach many math topics.  Although I am a BIG Apple fan, here is one reason that Microsoft may have won my attention back a little bit.  Check out for more information.  The short clip here does not do this amazing software justice.

I am left wondering if I should present a proposal, for next year's NCTM conference, on how to integrate technology into the classroom.  Nothing math specific, but based on pedagogy, teaching and learning...and no overhead projector.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

QR Codes & Math

I am ready to do more with QR codes to use with my Algebra students, but I have hit a wall.  How do you create a QR code that displays one math equation or expression that contains exponents and other math symbols?

I have come across some ways to create QR codes - different apps and websites, and also using Google docs.  Today I came across Tammy Worcester's blog that explains how to create QR codes using Google docs - specifically using a spreadsheet.  I thought, "Here it is!  Here is the place where I will be able to create text for a QR code with math symbols."

Here is what my test run spreadsheet looked like:

It didn't work as I had hoped.  Bummer.  When I scanned the top QR Code, the word "hello" showed up without a problem.  When I scanned the bottom QR Code, this is what I saw:

Not only can you not do exponents in the actual spreadsheet, but the PLUS sign doesn't not show up when scanned.

So, I am back to the drawing board and will continue my search to integrate math with QR codes.  If anyone out there has any ideas or thoughts on this issue, I would love to hear from you.