THOUGHTS ON USING PREZI AS AN INSTRUCTIONAL TOOL

 

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I love stories and I consider myself a good story teller. As a math teacher I tell stories about mathematics  , mathematicians and about doing mathematics. Firstly, I do this because I love it and secondly because my students like it and I think it is a most effective instructional tool in teaching mathematics . Instruction via storytelling creates more realistic, powerful and unforgettable images in the student mind than any other means of delivering the same material. Teaching students by storytelling is an effective way to keep the learners occupied and PREZI offers a great platform to achieve it. In this week’s blog post I am reviewing Prezi, an awesome presentation tool which has a potential to make teaching moments memorable.

Prezi is a visual storytelling software presentation tool  which is a great alternative to traditional slide-based presentation programs which we use in classrooms. Prezi uses a large canvas that allows us to move and approach to different parts of the canvas and

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underline the ideas presented there, it also supports the use of text, images and videos and also offers a collection of models to choose from and help new users get used to the interface.

Let me acknowledge a fact that as an educator I invest a lot of my time in creating presentations  and use it in my classroom but most of the time it will be boring and I end up having a dull presentation that will not keep my students interested and in a math class, as a math teacher I cannot afford this. It takes a lot of creativity and in-depth knowledge of using software’s  to create interactive and informative presentation but Prezi offers a great solution for educators with its unique platform of making and delivering presentations. As an alternative of slides and boring animation, Prezi infuse fun and creativity into our presentation.

After reviewing Prezi, I found it  very straightforward presentation and easy to use, even for a first timer like me. We have total control over the details such as font size, adding audio files and images, importing PowerPoint slides, Embed PDF’s, sharing in social media etc. It also comes with a number of templates which we can use and still gives us flexibility to relate it to our topic and make it interesting. Prezi creates splendid visual impact in the classroom with its cinematic experience of the zooming function  and students will feel ecstatic with the topic which we have designed. The presentation can also be easily shared on the internet and can be accessed by our students at home and they can navigate with Prezi and play around with it observing the connections of ideas and visualize concepts.

The strength’s and advantages of Prezi are enormous yet it has some weaknesses too. The first issue which caught my attention is that it lacks auto correction feature  which can be a hassle for users. Prezi is completely web based, even thought it is an advantage but in few circumstances, it can be disadvantage when we have a limited internet access. It is not printer friendly so printing out our presentation may become a challenge to students.

Overall, Prezi is a great tool that most of us would find very useful in the classroom, especially for Math teachers like me. It is a visual storytelling software alternative which will be  great advantage to educators and embeds cinematic experience in classrooms which makes teaching moments memorable. I believe that storytelling in mathematics is an excellent approach for creating a safe-learning environment where a student might openly appreciate, comprehend and enjoy mathematics. I feel that storytelling in mathematics classroom creates an atmosphere of imagination, excitement, and thinking which make math fun and memorable for students and by the help of  Prezi we can create such an atmosphere in our classroom.

Emerging new tools and multimedia can definitely make storytelling easier, especially if the concept we want to share is complicated like mathematics. What do you guys think? will it be another distraction to students?  I fell storytelling is an exceptional tool in mathematics education. How could you see this used in your own subject area?

Until next time, happy blogging!

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EDUCATORS IN ONLINE SPACES

 

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Hello Everyone,

Nowadays, it appears as if everyone is on internet, writing and reading blogs, especially in our teaching community blogs are extremely popular platform where we find information posing new ideas, instruction and motivation.for educators blogging offers the greatest opportunity to share their work and ideas with the world. Just blogging doesn’t suffice, but doing it well is totally a different story, one that involves a lot of time and commitment, yet sometime on several occasions we will be provoked with some thoughtful questions and criticisms about the whole blogging thing. In this blog post I am  sharing one of my thoughts and concerns on sharing and blog post.

The first thing that pinches a relatively young, novice teacher and blogger like me is that critic of no one reads your blog or just cares on what you have to say? Or our work and ideas, plans will not be of benefit to others. Surely many of us might have heard of this one. I guess it is easily the very first criticism against the idea of blogging and sharing resources online and I think that this is the fear which keeps some teachers away from sharing their work online. In Sharing: The Moral Imperative. Dean Shareski talks that we all seek recognition’s for our contributions but the moment we focus on protecting our work we are in some ways antithesis of a teacher, I totally agree with it. No matter even if nobody is paying attention, the course of blogging and sharing our work, thoughts and ideas helps us find and evolve our inner voice and ideas. As Dean Shareski agrees even I feel that it is our work as a teacher to share online and not confine our teaching practices and ideas in a building. We teachers as a prolific member of the society must not only teach our students in a confined space but have to go beyond it and by sharing our work, ideas online we can accomplish this task . After hearing  what Dean Shareski says I agree that if there is no sharing then there is no education. The purpose of a teaching and a teacher is to educate irrespective of who the audience is.

The benefits of sharing work online are bountiful. I believe by sharing our work Motivates learners and readers to do their very best. In his video Dean Shareski
states few awesome examples and as a math teacher the one which attracted me was Dan Meyer’s Math Stories. A relatively young mathematics teacher Dan Meyers from California who created some outstanding math resources which he shared for free, these resources are phenomenal for every math teacher and has helped numerous educators across the globe. Sharing our work online will not only help other educators to  improve their teaching and learning practices but it also helps us to build a strong writing, editing, and revision skills. It also gives other learners the opportunity to acquire experience and helps to build their confidence and self-esteem.

sharing the work of our students gives them good motivation to improve their work. Seeing their work published online can inspire a sense of self-esteem and confidence in students, it help’s them develop their self-esteem because they have the opportunity to be recognized for their hard work and commitment. Students will be encouraged by the fact that their work is online for everyone to see, which can give them the confidence boost they need to give the best of themselves.

Sharing the student’s work online also works for the benefit of other students by offering a valuable experience. If students can see a good example, they are more likely to improve their skills and knowledge base. In addition, students can better understand how to perform a well-qualified task and what mistakes to avoid seeing the work of others and use this knowledge for their future projects.

Finally, it leaves me with a question that how many of us truly believe in the culture of sharing? Most of us are harvesting the fruit of sharing culture and are we giving it back? How do we get teachers to share their work online? Do you agree with the idea of sharing our students work online? And will it help them?

 

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“FISHING” FOR CONTENT IN OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES

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Open Educational resources (OER) are an exceptional way for educators to utilize digital content in classroom. Open Educational resources  are learning and teaching materials which are freely accessible for everyone online. As I discussed in my previous blog post  these material can be remixed, reorganized and revised and can be effectively used to deliver the knowledge to students. These collections of scrutinized, grade-level, content specific resources will be an asset for teachers and elevate our teaching standards and effectively use the digital content in our classrooms. New forms of communications are illuminating new opportunities for educators and students, this opportunity is why open education resources matter.

As a mathematics lecturer one of the big challenge is to keep our students engaged and excited about math. I must say that advances in technology has made our life easier and I must acknowledge that Open Educational resources has made math lessons fun in classroom and made my job as a teacher easier. It provides pre-made activities, options for distinguishing and even aiding with pre- and post- valuations, as well as grading.

In mathematical education , a manipulative is an object that is designed so that a student can perceive a mathematical concept by manipulating it, so its name. The use of manipulative provides a way for students to learn concepts through a practical experience appropriate to development. Manipulative ‘s aid learning math concepts

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exciting and engaging for students but for teachers buying these supplies for classroom can be expensive. OER provide us a free solution, by using it we can create manipulative’s ourselves.
Instead of investing a lot of time trying to format everything the resources below provide an excellent platform for teachers to get pre-made math goodies.

Black Line Masters , Provides a range of printable tools, materials and resources which is mainly focused for children’s in their Pre-K to ninth grade. The resources which are available here are extremely helpful for teachers, it provides an ocean of materials which can be easily downloaded and printed as per our needs and requirement.

SEN Teacher
 has a load full of printable materials which are focused towards elementary level. It has polygons, clocks, coins, Nets (3D Models), arithmetic makers, number squares, Mazes etc.

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I AmHomeschooling.com   also offers ample of ready to use manipulative’s  and  tools which will help teachers for Pre-K to High school. It provides abundant resources for every student needs for different levels. We can print materials right from algebra tiles to cuisenaire style rods and fraction circles.
These Open educational resource repositories are very easy to access and extremely user friendly, the mathematical contents and material are very well organized and has high printing quality. It aids teachers prepare resourceful course contents for students and make mathematics fun.

ONLINE LESSONS AND VIDEOS
Our classrooms today’s are embedded with remarkable technology and it has helped us deliver course content efficiently and has enhanced classroom learning. There are many resources especially for mathematics teachers by which we can eradicate the long standing math fear phobia from students. The web resources below have some great resources for math teachers and most of them are free, these sites offer best lesson plans videos and cover entire course.

Khan Academy  Is an excellent pit stop for teacher’s and it is completely free. It contains exceptional collections of videos presenting difficult mathematics topics in a way which can be easily understood. There are numerous drill questions which can be used in conjunction with the videos. The resources are very well organized and it also

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easy to play around with the website. The grade level mathematics resources in Khan academy address all most all core mathematics standards and helps focused learning and the videos aid vibrant instruction.

Discovery Education  Provides a series of new and remarkable pre-made lesson plans for math teachers. It is regularly updated with new materials which covers levels from pre-K to K-12.

Where as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics   Showcases that the math lessons can be fun and more than just a “drill and kill!. It has the outstanding accumulation of lesson plans and activities. They are free and accelerated towards different levels, it works to aid us by collective access to quality standards-based resources for learning and teaching mathematics. It also provides collaborative tools for students and instructional support for educators.

Learn Zillion  is an excellent stop for math teachers if they are looking to improve classroom discussions with the help of videos and lesson plans complex mathematical subjects can be easy to understand in engaging way. The website has to offer math educational contents in fun and exciting way which is suitable for every level of students. Teachers can use these videos to start a lesson and introduce new ideas which is very important to engage students in math class.

With Mathalicious, Math can be fun and exciting, Using this resource Math teacher can spice up the middle and high school students by making math lesson a whole lot easier. These remarkable assortments of lessons will not only get the students thinking and problem solving, but they will have a lot fun while solving it ! The lessons are classically geared towards using math in practical applications, which really helps students see the significance of learning and understating math

Even though we were supposed to choose one major Open education resource repositories and evaluate its resource but mathematics has such a wide scope and enormous availability resources made me explore quite a few repositories. These resources are very well organized and is extremely user friendly and a great asset for educators to elevate their teaching practices.

The efficient use of these open educational resources embeds a new style to learning which can be implemented to every level of the education sector., letting learning and teaching materials to be produced and then used and reused, remixed by everyone. It will be a boon to novice educators to guide them into perfection. The mathematics teaching fraternity has been extremely enriched by these resources, it has simplified the instructional process and made math class fun and engaging for students. OER’S has increased flexibility in how we use the course content and emphasizes learning communities, learner engagement. The advantages of OER’s are bountiful yet it has some challenges to offer. If not properly trained and educated on using OER’s and finding the right course content teachers tend to invest a lot of time planning their lessons and selecting alternate readings and other materials for class.

With that being said finally it leaves me with questions on how many of us are efficient utilizing OER’s? and contributing to updated the current content? how do we deliver better learning experiences to more students? And How do we get the most up-to-date content when we want it? How to overcome the accessibility issues when file formats that are not always compatible with our computer’s software or version? What do you guy’s think?

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OPEN EDUCATION AND REMIXED TEACHING

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As the famous Quote states “Education is not the answer to the question. Education is the means to the answer to all questions.” Therefore, I feel that a well-educated individual has one of the life’s most valuable possessions that too as a result of one’s own hard work. Education is the only companion who will be by your side at all times and will never let you down. That is why; a concrete foundation is indispensable in shaping one’s future.   

An educated and qualified person has always something to fall back upon. I strongly believe that one cannot perform better in any other field beside the field that deeply fascinates and captures one’s interest. Determination and persistent hard work follow one’s decision in undertaking a challenging task, there was a time where one was supposed to get this education/knowledge by enrolling to the educational institutions by meeting their academic requirement, it was reachable for only privileged class, but today the whole arena has changed ,the concept of open education has revolutionized the field of education it has replaced the traditional class room and made education free and accessible to all. 

Web-based educative platforms have allowed us to remotely replace or facilitate many interactive processes such as purchases, booking appointments, and banking activities, buying flight tickets etc. Getting an education online is the next frontier for web-based convenience, and there are a number of reasons why this is an effective and attractive platform. Some of them are,

Accessibility: Open Education allows students to take courses at their own convenience, on their own time and place. Open learning systems are very effective and importantly Accessible when compared to its traditional counterparts. The rich resources in online communities help students to overcome hurdles. Open education has attracted many students who were very unlikely to gain higher education.

Affordability: The word free attracts everyone and in my view the concept of free education is best served by open education. There are hundreds of lecture hours which are available for free in reputed universities websites such as MIT, these are free and open for anyone and there are many online learning platform which are also cheap and affordable for students.

Flexibility: Open education offers students flexibility to choose what to learn and when to learn and how much to learn, in return putting them in control. It provides ocean of resources for students in-comparison with the traditional classrooms.     

This week’s concept and videos were very interesting and covered the concept of open education and knowledge sharing. As a mathematics major I had a strong mathematical knowledge but teaching was something very new to me in my initial days of my teaching career. As Ashley mentions in her blog post We are not responsible for creating the material that we provide to students, I think I have exploited most of the resources online which helped me to effectively deliver knowledge to students and thanks to all those who believed in the concept of sharing culture , it made my initial days a lot easier. The resources like Karnataka education ,Open Educational Resources for Mathematics has helped me a lot in developing material to facilitate my course. It has improved my teaching material and delivery.

And Finally, as an educator I believe that the ultimate goal of teaching is to promote learning and education takes place in different circumstances and contexts. I totally agree with message of Kirby Ferguson  in his video series that we are all leaders of remix

Kirby Ferguson’s  popular videos illustrates that everything is remix and everything we have created takes motivation from something which is already in existence. The video showcases number of evidences that supports his claims. I was convinced and it kept me thinking that most of things I do in my teaching practices might be exactly the same.

I believe that in order to lay a strong foundation of knowledge we need to copy and when we relate this to our profession we take ideas, material, technic’s from resources and effectively deliver knowledge to students and I think it has made our life as a teacher much easier and effective. Just Imagine the amount of time required if we had to create everything original ..??

After reading the blog post of Joe Marine his question kept me thinking and I wanted to share the same with everyone , Is there a need to reform intellectual property laws to better represent how ideas actually spread? Is it possible to have original work, or is everything truly a remix?

What do you guys think?

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Social Media’s Influence in Activism

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Hello Everyone,

Social media has revolutionized the world that we are living today, it has brought race, community and religions together, the world is shrinking and thanks to social media that we are realizing and responding to social cause. In my view human being by his nature is a born activist, it is not logic but science, we are activists in one way or the other, all our life right from childhood to adolescence, from home to society that we lived in we have fought and argued for something in our past on various platforms and now the whole arena has changed. Do you think that you are a stranger to social media activism? If you are using any social media tool, it might be Facebook or twitter, you are not a stranger to it, you would have responded to a post of social cause, raised your concern or supported for it and that makes you a social media activist.

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Whenever we talk about social media activism and online social justice a popular question  arises, as it was raised in our weekly schedule, Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online? I have a mixed opinion about this. A lot of people are in an assumption that people using social media to raise their voice and concern to a social cause are just lazy and their Facebook status, their comments, posts and their tweets are not helpful, as I said earlier the whole arena of activism has changed, social media has brought together people form across the globe with same views and ideas as if they are a part of a larger community and sparked movements. I agree that It is difficult to have a productive conversation about social justice online because usually these topics are very controversial and it is common to have backlashes, every one of us fear this backlash and avoid participating, because  that it would tarnish our digital identity and we will be vulnerable to verbal attack, bullying, but having said that we are forgetting the very definition of social justice . It is code for “Good things” no one need to argue for and no one dares to be against! Yet the fear of opposition make us keep back step.

As  educator’s we have to make our students aware of social justice and to raise their concern in an appropriate way  , as my fellow classmate Roberta Berry addresses in her post why is Teaching Social Justice Important for our students. Teaching students about social justice gives the student  strength to speak up and making them aware and educating them about positive digital citizenship and cyber safety will give them confidence to participate and have a productive conversation about social justice.

Online journalism workshop fall 2015   via you tube

Finally we end up with the question, as an educator what are our responsibilities to model active online citizenship. As I have discussed in my previous blogs, we as  educator’s must be a model, reference to our students on how efficiently we handle and participate in online conversations on social activism and social justice. I acknowledge the fact that we have some restrictions in participation by our governing bodies yet in order to tailor our students we have to put up an effective road-map so that our students can follow and be a productive social activist.

To my fellow teachers who are reading this, if you are a teacher who has participated in any social media activism, how do you want a student to see social media with social cause? And what advice do you give your students about participating in controversial issues or topics?

Thank you for stopping by.

BUILDING POSITIVE DIGITAL FOOTPRINTS

Hello Everyone,

Back in days a good physical/personal identity was everything that an individual would have  focused on and they worked hard to maintain a reputed identity, which was the only thing that elevated their reputation in the society and social life, but today things have changed, we are living in a digital era and there is a need for us to maintain a reputed digital identity too,as in my fellow classmate  Amy B,  felt in her Blog post on digital Identity even I thought that this week blog post topic was simple, as I was active in social media (Facebook not twitter) I would share some of my experiences and only after a lot of thought I understood the importance of the topic and how our digital identity defines our physical identity or represents who we are in this digital era.

image via:Digital Identity

What is digital identity? Whether digital identity defines our physical identity ?Wikipedia Defines that a digital identity is information on an entity used by computer systems to represent an external agent. That agent may be a person, organisation, application, or device , that means it is an online identity, and if we are defining our own digital identity  according to, Binary Tattoo  digital identity is a permanent collection of data about yourself that is available online. Let us mark the words PERMANENT, so the answer to my second question is yes our digital identity definitely defines our physical identity and represents who we are, We are very particular when it comes to our physical identity. We try to make ourselves presentable to the best of our knowledge, the way we dress, part our hair, the way we eat food or the way we speak to others and that reflects who we are and how other others see us and that in-return defines identity, where as our digital identity may actually be more important than our physical identity because when people are looking us or our work online they judge us based on the information which is available online about us. So we must be very careful when we portrait our self and our work online.

As a teacher I see a strong need to educate our students the importance of digital identity, they are sometimes so naive that they do not understand consequences of having a negative digital reputation. They are in a digital age where everything can be googled online and privacy has become a laughing stock, our students have a long way to go and have no idea that their reputation might be at stake, they may not comprehend the consequences of what is shared via internet. We must tailor them to leave behind an appropriate digital footprint so that it will nurture their growth. Social media bullying has become a serious problem today, the article at  No bullying.com  states that children were often bullied at school or in their neighborhood. But today, with the increased use of the Internet, children are now being bullied in all locations and at all times, the article sheds light on different area where children’s are bullied because of have a bad digital reputation or lack of knowledge about digital identity. So it is high time that we do something about it.

The question arises that how can we educate our students to be a positive contributors and responsible digital citizens which will ensure that they will have a positive digital identity. As Educators  we can  refer to a ISTE White Paper, Building and Keeping a Positive Digital Identity, Which will guide us to help students be more cautious of what they are doing online. The article poses five questions which teachers can use to teach students about online behavior and identity.

What information am I sharing?

How secure is it?

Whom am I sharing it with?

What am I leaving behind?

What are my rights?

I found another useful  Article by Dawn McGuckin – Teaching Students about Their Digital Footprints,  which I felt very effective to guide our students, in his article he describe several steps for creating a lesson plan that will aid in making the Internet a constructive tool for building a positive, online identity for our students.

Thanks for stopping by.

TEACHING IN DIGITAL ERA

Hello Everyone,

Social changes have created a new expectation in education. Children’s today is aging up in a world which is entirely different from the world of most of we educators grew up in. we as educators have witnessed the creation and evolution of the internet, computers, Facebook, Twitter, Google, iPhone’s, iPad’s, and countless other technological devices whereas children’s of this advanced era of digital generation have only experienced a world in which these technological advances exist.  No doubt that Social media has become an integral part of our youth and offers ocean of resources for students, but as an educator I feel that it is our duty to tailor our students to perfection and make them positive and efficient digital citizens.

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Technology and our life had integrated in such a way that we cannot imagine a world without it. Technology has simplified our life as an educator but biggest concerns about teaching in the digital age is as an educator are we equipped with the right knowledge of the technology which we are using and promoting in our classrooms. We are well aware that mentor ship is very important to shape the career of every student. All the use of technologies and initiatives tend to fail when there is lack of guidance.

 

For this week’s post, we are expected to share our biggest concerns for teaching in the digital (social media) age. Let me start by saying Social media skills have an increasingly useful presence in our present classrooms. Educators and students alike use them to connect, share expand and enhance learning. There is a trending debate that social media is killing student success, and it is a major distraction but Social media doesn’t have to be a distraction, rather it can be used as a powerful learning tool if properly used. This begins with our most powerful classroom tool. That, of course, is a knowledgeable educator. Having the right knowledge of teaching in digital (social media) age is the biggest concern.

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As I have discussed in my previous Blog , I believe education to educators might be the only way that will change culture of teaching , if we are properly equipped with the right knowledge of the technology which we are using and promoting in our classrooms that is when we can deliver it to our students and make them a positive contributors and learners. To become an effective educator in the digital age we have to master ourselves with the key digital skills which is essential.

What lies ahead for us as educators in this digital era? As traditional classrooms continue to transform into digital ones, we will see teachers delivering instruction through multifaceted modes of learning. Digital enriched content and personal learning will be at the forefront, as will collaborative and interactive learning.

Thank you for your time.