A Complete Pythagoras Theorem Unit

I am done creating my unit! In case you missed it you can see what I have done so far here. This is definitely one of the more challenging projects I have done in university and it really pushed me to step outside of my comfort zone. I learned many new things throughout this experience the main one being the importance of planning for online lessons. I was also in ECS 300 this semester and a lot of that course was based around lesson planning, but for some reason I did not carry over the knowledge I learned in that class to my online unit for ECMP 455. I found that a lot of the time when I would go to create assignments or lessons for this unit I would just be searching for content on Google. I would then be frustrated when Google did not have exactly what I was looking for. I think that this is a common assumptions that teachers make when they are online. They assume that all of the content they need is already created, and although a lot of it might be, they could still be the creators themselves! Part of my reason for trying to find the content on Google was because I was nervous about creating my own lesson. When I finally took the leap I started with creating a lesson on EduCreations and it failed miserably. Below are some screenshots from the final video but I would never post it as an actual lecture that I expect my students to learn from. One of the things about EduCreations that I enjoyed was the simplicity of it and it is also free to make an account. It was very easy to use and the directions were easy to follow however, because it only had drawing and recording tools the triangles I drew and my writing were quite messy.

Screenshot of EduCreations video

Screenshot of EduCreations video

Because of the poor quality of these videos I decided to try Explain Everything to see if I could make a better quality video. Explain Everything is not free; however the app allows gives users a free 30-day trial and you can export the videos you create so the trial worked fine for the purpose of my online unit. This is the video:

As you can see my writing is still messy, but I liked the fact that I had the actual shape of the right-angle as opposed to drawing my own triangle. If I were to redo this unit online I would do a few things differently. First of all I would write a script for every lecture that I created myself. I did not use a script for this video and when I re-watch it I see that some parts could have gone smoother had I been more prepared with what I wanted to say. I would also make sure I had a very good idea of the curriculum. Although I did look at the curriculum for this unit and read all of the outcomes and indicators I do not think I had a true understanding of how to help students meet those indicators. This will hopefully come with time and more experience working hands on with curriculum. Lastly, I would take more time to practice with tools I want to use in my unit. I should have spent a couple of hours on Explain Everything watching the tutorials and playing around with the different tools, but instead I just jumped right into it and started creating my online unit. I also could have spent more time learning more about all of the functions that Google Classroom offers. I used Google Classroom to post the assignments for students but my use of it did not go further than that. (I also did not have real students utilizing it so that is part of the reason).

Screenshot of my Google Class “Upload Assignment” window

Screenshot of my Google Class Stream

Altogether I am happy that I chose to create an online unit for my major class. The skills I learned while doing this are transferable to everything in education and not strictly for technology. I look forward to trying out more new things in the future and also improving my video taking/editing skills for higher quality lessons. I look forward to having my real students to learn from and learn with as the world and technology evolves even more.

An Intro to Pythagorean Theorem

As I am beginning to create my online unit I am already learning a lot about different great tools. Firstly, I have to share my appreciation for Google. Before this class, I never really utilized all of its great features, like Google Drive, Google Docs, Chrome extensions, Google Classroom, and Google+ Communities. All of these applications have helped me progress in ECMP, but also in my other university classes as well

For my online unit, I am going to use the Grade 8 Math curriculum, specifically the outcome based on learning the Pythagorean Theorem. I chose this topic because there are so many different applications of this theorem so it will give me a chance to try out a lot of different tools, like Screencasting, Khan Academy, Youtube, and EduCreations which I heard about through a blog post by Amy, one of my classmates.

Screenshot of the outcome and it's indicators from the SK Curriculum

Screenshot of the outcome I will be teaching online and its indicators (Retrieved from the SK Curriculum)

So far, I  have created my first assignment in Google Classroom. The assignment is to watch an intro. video to the Pythagorean Theorem, and then to complete a short comprehension worksheet to ensure the students watched the video. A few things I learned while creating this assignment was that Google Docs has an option to insert equations into your document; it will convert all of your variables, equation signs, and exponents into proper form! I am not sure if this is news to you readers but WOW was I ever amazed. As a Math major who is constantly googling different equations for help on assignments, I have gotten very used to using “^2” to represent a number being squared so actually being able to convert it to exponent form was very exciting. I have also learned about “making a copy” so all of my students can make a copy of the Google Doc assignments they receive and then simply reshare them with me to be marked. At first, I was worried how each student would separately edit their assignment until my co-op from my ECS 300 field experience showed me how he uses Google Docs for assignments with his students.

I have also created a Google+ community for the pretend parents of my pretend students. I think that when doing a unit completely online, especially with elementary students, it is important to include the parents. The parents can use their own Google account and access the community from any device with internet. I will use the community to post reminders about assignments, as well to communicate with the “parent” after any assignments or grades have been posted.

Screenshot of my view of Google+ Community

Screenshot of my view of Google+ Community

My next plan is to use EduCreations to create a lesson on actually applying the equation, a^2+b^2=c^2 (no “insert equation” option here). For the assessment after the lesson, I am going to research online tools for assessment. Although I could rave about Google Docs forever, I would still like know what other tools are out there for online assessment, especially for Math units.

Lastly, if you would like to join my Google+ Community or classroom to follow my progress please click here for the community, and you can join my classroom by logging into Google Classroom and entering the class code: pte2zq. Don’t feel obligated to join by any means just an option to those interested!

 

Learning How to Teach Learning (Online)

In ECMP 355 we were asked to learn a skill using online resources; I chose to learn how to do different hairstyles. This semester, for ECMP 455, we have been given the option to do that learning project again or to create an online unit. I have chosen to create an online unit; for me, this will be a learning project in itself, because I have not yet created a unit of any kind let alone an online unit.

My unit will be based on an outcome from the Saskatchewan grade 8 Math curriculum (I have narrowed down an exact unit). To prepare for creating my unit I have done some research on the best practices of online units/flipped classrooms. One article I read gave me seven general tips for getting started. I think the most important tip from the article was to choose the specific objectives to focus on in advance. If I have everything I want to teach planned out in advance I know what direction to go in, and then I am less likely to get off task or fall behind in my unit planning. Another helpful article I read said that “designing for the online environment presents unique challenges, but it also opens a world of exciting possibilities for engaging students in their learning.” I think this is a really great way for teachers to view online units. Yes, it may be intimidating and challenging in the beginning but creating online units can be innovative and especially beneficial to your students. My favorite part of flipped classrooms is that when students start the assignments or projects, the teacher can be there to help and guide them because students watch the lectures or lessons at home and then have class time to complete their schoolwork. The goal for my online unit is to make it completely student-accessible.

During this unit, there are a few things I definitely want to accomplish. I want to do at least one lesson through a Youtube lecture. Here is a short and simple example that of the type of lecture that I would like to do. I like how clear the audio is as well as how visible the writing on the whiteboard is.

I also think I will use Google+. We use this for my ECMP class and I really enjoy how accessible and easy to navigate it is. Another bonus of using an online community or network is that it is very easy for parents to access as well as track their child’s progress. I am really looking forward to getting started. My first step will be to decide on a specific unit and then pick out the objectives and indicators I would like to meet. If you have any ideas or anything you would like me to try involving other online resources please comment below.

Stay tuned!