Link to Mathematica education store.
To be honest, as a physics major who is about half done my physics degree, I've never used Mathematica (at the time of this writing)! But I've use the online Wolfram Alpha calculator/thinking system, and now looking some more, find that there are some classroom licensing editions of Mathematica which seem feasible for most schools.
Link to Mathematica education store.
I've used spreadsheets frequently in my physics experimental data collection and analysis, but never considered needing to use them in a classroom - this is based on my own high school physics experience from the mid-90's (computers were rare in the school, Windows 95 was buggy, the Mac computers didn't have any spreadsheet software I think... how have things changed!).
Spreadsheets could be used in simple terms in some elementary classes, and used more and more as the grade level increases. I can see them very useful in most science courses, math, accounting/business CTS classes, and similar things.
I haven't tried it yet, but "Sketchpad" looks like an awesome tool for math teachers. They also provide a free iPad app which allows students to use existing Sketchpad files and interact with them.
I was bullied as a child. Because of that, small things make me feel like I'm still being bullied. The effects are long lasting. I've talked about it, done counseling, etc, yet it still affects me.
What is bullying? It's more than just being rude or a jerk. It is deliberate, disrespectful and repeated behaviour targeted to an individual or group.
Bullying takes place all over the place. Online, at home, in school, at church, at work, even in the senior's home. It appears to be getting progressively worse. It unfortunately even ends up in severe depression, suicide, or fighting and related crime.
If you know of a situation where bullying is taking place, talk about it with a trusted professional. Document the "evidence". Seek proper advice. Often, the advice will be to confront the individual. Never will the advice be to be a bully back by fighting. **I am not a professional anti-bullying-advice-giver.** If you're a teacher, go to your teacher's union (like the ATA).
Bullies are often victims themselves from other circumstances, and their bullying behaviour results from their emotional imbalance. They need their own love and support, as well as the victim of the bully.
The solution is this: Stop It!
This image by Dwayne Schnell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
WebQuests, as I understand them, are guides created by teachers for their students to take which enable them to follow a sequence of tasks and links to learn about a particular topic, and give them the opportunity for deeper thought, reflection, analysis and synthesis of knowledge beyond what's clearly visible online. A webquest encourages the student to think outside the box, to solve some problems, and to engage their brain.
I think that WebQuests are a good idea, but can easily get in the way of teaching and learning if not done right. They also allow for a lot of easy distraction for both teacher and student if they're not strictly focused on the learning task at hand. Pros and cons, I suppose, which I will need to explore the feasibility of in the near future.
"Seymour Papert, the creator of the Logo programming language, argued that by learning a programming language children learn to think logically and independently." (Santrock, 3rd Can. Ed. McGraw-Hill Ryerson. 2010. Chapter 10).
I was able to dabble with a new programming language yesterday and today in playing with the Fibonacci sequence. The language is similar to C/C++, and is called "Processing". There is a website which allows some playing with your own code, including the visual/rendering aspects of the language at www.openprocessing.org.
It definitely helped grease my logical thinking gears, and I am sure it will help others achieve interesting results. I'm not sure if it is usable in a physics curriculum, but certainly in a math class.
Here's my program output which creates an n-sided polygon with n equal to the fibonacci number: Of course any polygon beyond 13 starts to look mighty circle-like, especially on a computer screen.
I am relative new to MS Office for Mac, I've got the 2011 version now. Previously, I was a Libre/Open Office user. I felt forced into conforming to be compatible with the rest of academia (unfortunately). I do, however, enjoy Smart Art (though it's slow on my 2008 Macbook pro). This image about Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development was created using the "stacked venn" relationship type SmartArt.
If you're unfamiliar with the ZPD, it's an interesting concept: it's a way to visualize the potential of a student/learner. It shows the growth, and limitation of growth. But once a learner has sound knowledge up to the ZPD limit, that now becomes the smaller "what I know" zone, and growth and understanding continue onward.
Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development by Dwayne Schnell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
I tried several online and downloaded Mind/Concept mapping software applications. I liked Inspiration, and xMind the best.
Here's a quick map via embed of my xMind map play. I attempted to use it to rough out some lesson plan ideas.
So, many people have dropbox, but aren't using it to the fullest of it's capability. It can be used to synchronize two or more devices with the same files. Example: You've got a laptop which you bring to University, and you've also got a family computer (with a bigger screen) which you prefer to use for homework. Maybe you're tired of always working off of your USB drive, or are scared you'll lose it or wash it with your pants. Solution: Dropbox. Install the program on the computers (Mac or Windows) and create a folder inside the Dropbox folder for all of your school (or business) work. Dropbox automagically syncs both computers (and even your phone or tablet) with all files. This serves as redundant backup (smart), as well as offers the ability to not worry about the question "which computer was I using when I saved my assignment last?".
You can also expand your Dropbox storage space by sharing your special link with friends. This is my special link: http://db.tt/WFnvRY0y - if someone signs up using this, I get more storage space. Simple. There is of course a maximum, but that's ok. Go ahead and sign up using my link if you haven't already, then share your link with someone else to get more. We could all benefit from a little more, and from helping each other out.
Lastly, you can also share a folder from Dropbox with other collaborators to provide access to your files. That folder will also be synchronized to their computer. Too easy, right?! Just be careful of virii, etc.
There are a lot of uses for concept mapping (mind mapping) or similar diagrams.
I've often used mind mapping when needing to brainstorm ideas, relevant concepts, and organize them into their hierarchical levels of depth.
I also plan on writing a book, which will start as a mind map - the central focus/topic in the middle, 7-10 questions as the next level, 2-3 answers for each topic, and a few other branches in between as needed for additional info, definitions (if needed), background, etc.
I could see it as a useful tool in preparing lesson plans, and for students to help understand topics. Students could also use them in preparing presentations or reports, including essays, and even studying concepts for tests.
The map above was created with Inspiration 9 on the Mac, and was very quick to produce. I definitely can recommend this software tool as a useful tool. I think that a hand map could sometimes be quicker or more effective to a point - but when the map gets large, the paper and pen fail. It is also more difficult to digitize a large mind map and have it look good/legible. I don't often recommend commercial non-free tools, but this one seems to be quite powerful and useful, with fantastic export options to MS Word, OOo Writer, Apple Pages, Web/HTML, PDF, GIF, JPG, PNG.