# Fall 2020 -Tech Recommendations to Start the Year

My Tech Diet to Start the Year

Desmos Activity Builder and Google slides. That’s it. Focus on building your learning community and not juggling 100 different cool tools.

Tech to start with for students out of class would be Delta Math, Edpuzzle, and even more Desmos, Google Slides, or Google Docs.

Use google slides to assign breakout room groups collaborative work that they can discuss and co-annotate. As they work you can see the writing appear in real time. It looks like this:

Notice that group 7 is not writing, so I will be popping into that room to see what is up. I also was able to take a screen shot of the problem I wanted them to work on and set it as the background of the slide deck, so it was there for each group to reference.

And here is a great way to have students discuss their rough draft attempts on a homework problem so they can revise and refine there efforts. Their improved draft would go in the center rectangle.

If you prefer, label the squares A, B, C, and D and have students put names in the speaker notes. Then you can project their work for discussion while keeping it anonymous.

Gallery Walks Anyone?

This Google Slide Deck by @ashleyguerrero is perfect for a gallery walk activity.

Really, Desmos?

Yes really!

Peardeck, Nearpod, and Desmos all give you the ability to pace the class-control what is on everybody’s screen right now, see each student’s work immediately or near immediately. Each has a couple unique bells and whistles, but they all serve the purposes

1. Classroom pacing/ management at a distance
2. See student work in real time
3. Facilitate conversation

Here are some things that cause me to recommend Desmos:

• it is 100% free forever. You get all the features.
• it is made for math. It can do other subjects, but it’s math typing tools, graphs, and tables make different math representations simple.
• It has a whiteboard feature like peardeck and nearpod, but additional whiteboarding backgrounds like graph paper or a coordinate axis, isometric graph paper and circle/polar graph paper
• the card sort feature is great for activities like those from our IM and CPM curriculums
• the video tutorials make it simple to learn
• it is possible to build in self checking feature when they submit answers
• the built in comment feature lets you send individual students messages in real time or after class and allows students to go back and see later.
• The built in snap shot feature makes it easy to take screens shots and prepare a teacher presentation using actual student work as class is happening or later if you find a common incomplete understanding you want to address.
• the calculator is the same one used on our state test. If you have time to think about state test results right now, that practice with the tool is a plus.
• The starter screen sets they offer are great for helping you begin getting to know your students and building those relationships.

All that being said, if you are a Peardeck pro, have the paid license and don’t know how to use Desmos, starting your year with tech you know is totally reasonable.

But especially for those of you about to learn something new, invest the time learning the one built by math teachers for math teachers.

Just my unsolicited two cents . . .

# Distance Learning – Upping Your Video Lesson Game

Are you tired? These last six weeks have been a brutal baptism by fire into digital teaching and learning.

I know some of you are doing more than one of these at a time. If that’s you, those slopes are additive, so you are probably at the top of that list. Be comforted that it will never get steeper than this. ☺

One place you may consider upping your game, either now or for the future, is in the way you are recording and delivering content. I spent the week exploring different tech options and found a few that are much easier than what I previously have done, and some that help students to be more interactive and engaged while watching. I took one 8th grade lesson introducing the idea of volume and tried it out with each of the following platforms. (My purpose here is to show off the tech, so forgive less than optimal teaching.  Also, I committed to posting my first product for each platform, so you could see the way it might actually come out without spending a week of redoing and perfecting. All that to say, watch with grace.)

Record in Powerpoint: The record feature in Powerpoint makes editing or adding to your video a breeze.  Your speech and animation clicks are captured and saved slide by slide. Done and realize something you forgot? Add a slide and record whatever talk goes with it. Mess something up? Don’t start over. Just re-record that one slide. In the end, it can be converted to a single video.

Nearpod: This is another great option for those of you who teach using slides, but also is very adaptable to loading small videos you have saved from your computer or found online. The great thing about Nearpod is the wide variety of ways you have to choose from for students to answer questions or interact with the content you create. As you explore this self-paced lesson, be sure to see the variety of student interaction types on slide 3, 5,13, 24, and 26.

EdPuzzle: This platform is great for uploading any old or new video you have made or found online and inserting questions to check for understanding during the video. You can upload your classes from google classroom if you wish to, which allows you to keep a gradebook of viewing time and % correct for each video you assign. The video editing tools are simple and wonderful for clipping out little misspeaks or random interruptions. I’ll never have to stop and re-record again! Also, EdPuzzle has the option to set it so students cannot skip over video or questions – your choice.

Screencastify: Every How To video above was made with Screencastify. Like EdPuzzle it allows me to crop out random bits, but it also allows me to add in video pieces, merging them to one relatively seamless video.

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