Managing Digital Resources in the Classroom – Webinar

Introduction

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a webinar at edchatinteractive.org on the topic of “Managing Digital Resources in the Classroom”, held by Beatriz Arnillas of Houston ISD. A wonderful presentation on how schools and districts can make it easier for teachers to find and use digital resources that engage students and promote learning. The recording of the webinar is now available in the edchatinteractive archives.

There were about 20 attendees and I was very excited to join the discussion. This topic has intrigued me for a long time so I grabbed the chance to hear how one of the largest districts in America has made the transition to using digital resources in their schools.

What have I learned?

Beatriz brought up a number of important points regarding the challenges of implementing digital resources into the curriculum. Some of them are:

Security and Privacy is Paramount

A number of regulations such as FERPA and COPPA have been put in place to ensure the adequate processing, storage and use of students’ information. Many software vendors see these strict regulations as a challenge to overcome, however we at The Mathist welcome the existence of such well defined and formalized regulatory acts.

No matter how strict – rules are rules – and if they are clearly defined, they are easy to follow. After all, it is in our common interest that the students are treated with respect and care, for our future ultimately depends on the generations we strive to educate today.

LTI – Centralized Authentication and Authorization

Schools usually work with multiple software vendors and use many software products. Beatriz pointed out that it is practically infeasible to provision and manage many sets of credentials for each student and for each software product. Human errors are common, and the teacher spends the lions share of their time in the classroom managing students’ accounts and making sure that everyone has access.

This problem can be solved by using LTI-enabled tools. LTI stands for “Learning Tools Interoperability”, and it is a standard which defines how vendor software can interact with the schools Learning Management System (LMS).

In short: the LMS system holds all the students’ roster information. And the third-party learning tool may need a subset of this information to properly function. LTI defines the procedures and ways of communication between the third-party learning tool and the LMS.

The LTI specification is wide in scope. Support includes use-cases from a simple Single Sign-On (SSO) to sophisticated reporting of learning outcomes. It is being actively maintained by the IMS Global organization.

Beatriz mentioned that they use Clever as their SSO provider, often using the terms SSO and LTI interchangeably, which also brings me to a point of confusion. Clever has developed a proprietery standard for accessing students’ roster information, whereas the LTI specification is an open standard. What is the relationship between Clever and LTI is a bit blurry, as they appear to support the same use-case. We at The Mathist will have to investigate this further.

Conclusion

Having had the privilege of attending this very informative webinar, I sincerely recommend that anyone interested in EdTech joins one of the sessions at edchatinteractive.org. Further I will emphasize that the efforts of digital learning experts such is Beatriz to connect to a wider audience greatly impacts education and the EdTech industry.

The LTI standard is seeing wider and wider adoption by the major software vendors of Learning Management Systems, which is a good thing, as it is one of the most important enabling factors for EdTech innovation.

Credits

 

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Life Skills Learned In Math Class

MathMaine

One of the hardest questions for many math teachers to answer in a way that is relevant to students is: “why do I need to know this?”  “For the next course you take”, the easiest answer in many cases, does not answer the question that was usually being asked.

My answers to this question obviously depend on the topic being studied at moment, and I don’t have “good” answers for all topics…  but here is my list of key quantitative life skills I learned directly or indirectly from math class, with

View original post 1,993 more words

The Mathist – Intoduction Level

Welcome to the short introduction of the options and possibilities in our loved and cherished web app. Of course, this cannot be the final list, since from the very first day it faced the web’s daylight, our team has been trying to make it better and the efforts are not unnoticed, thanks to you.

Getting started

First of all, it is created for taking math notes. If you just want to check this out, you can choose Guest Access and log in and save it later. If you need a serious and smart notebook, log in with your Google account and all the notes you write will be saved to your Google Drive.

Creating a note

How? The answer is: easily. Press the New note button in the Notes section of the app, once you are logged in.

2014-03-08 16_56_01-The Mathist - Write Math Notes, Solve Problems, Share Ideas _ Web App

It will open the editor.

The mathist editor
The Mathist editor

Start writing

Depending on what you want to write, click on one of these from the bottom right corner: Drawing (The Mathist will offer you a pencil and an ereaser, for the beginning), Text (use your devices keyboard to type common text, definitions etc) or f(x) for adding formulas. The last one will open our keyboard, optimized for mathematics.

Menu
The picture shows buttons for inserting a Drawing, Text and Formula field, respectively
Drawing keyboard
This picture represents the keyboard for the Drawing field when a pencil is selected.

Keyboard

One of the main advantages in The Mathist is keyboard which opens when using the formula field. Unique and recently updated, it is meant to be easy to use and effective. Above the standard QWERTY keyboard, there are two additional rows: one with the numbers and the other with most common mathematical signs. Through this and other formulas mentioned later in the text, you can navigate by arrows on the right. The small button in the bottom left corner offers the possibility to choose between QWERTY and Greek keyboard (lowercase and uppercase).

Math keyboard

Inserting a predefined formula

We offer you auto complete feature: start typing the name of what you need and choose the right formula from the drop-down list that will appear. For example, when you type the letter i in the formula field, this list opens up:

Auto complete example

Here we choose the Integral from the list and in spite of the typed letter, the symbol appears:

integral example

First you are offered to add the limits of the integral, but if you do not feel like it, move through the formula using left or right arrow.

Using Wolfram|Alpha in The Mathist

Once you entered an expression in the formula field, use the Select button and then the following will happen:

Light bulb

To solve or simplify the expression using Wolfram|Alpha, press the light bulb and choose between or any combination of what The Mathist offers you:

results
Note that what is offered depends on the kind of expression you entered.

After choosing all of them, for example, this is what appears in the editor:

solutions in the editor

Deleting a formula or some of its content

For deleting the whole formula field, press the red x in the corner of the formula and for deleting part of it, use the backspace button from your device or use ours.

delete formula button

Saving note

If you are logged in, your note will be automatically saved to your Google Drive. On the other hand, if you are not logged in, in order to save the note click on the Log in & save button. Once you are logged in, it will be automatically saved.

Log in & Save button

Background for the main picture was taken from http://www.grsites.com


The Mathist & Google Drive

Nowadays, Google Drive means a great opportunity for teachers and students to embrace the 4Cs of 21st century educationcommunication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

We found this really inspirational and creative pin-board that illustrates some of the best ways to use technology to your advantage in the classroom:

Inspiring pin-board on using Google Drive in education
Inspiring pin-board on using Google Drive in education (this image originally appeared on: http://www.teachthought.com/technology/12-roles-for-google-drive-in-the-classroom/)

Lets dive into the features that can boost your productivity and help you seize the day with your students. We promise it is going to be easy and fun. Here are some good practical suggestions on how to use Google Drive in your classroom.

We strongly believe that such technologies will transform the ways we teach, study and work together. That is why The Mathist from now on uses Google Drive to store all your mathematical notes enabling you to organize, share, tag and search through them easily, so you can reach Zen in your classroom. 🙂

The Smartest Notebook

The Leap Forward

We are very proud to present you the new MathistIt is a real sneak peak into the future, that allows you to easily solve and compute anything you write with a single click!

Here are some examples;

  • Simplify any expression to speed up problem solving,
  • Plot graphs,
  • Evaluate expressions and get approximate values,
  • Solve equations and inequalities (with visual representation),
  • Solve definite and indefinite integrals (with visual representation),
  • Crunch difficult logarithms,
  • Find derivatives and much more…

You can do all of this with just one button: solve-on

Why is this important?

Have you ever worked on a problem, that is easy to understand, but just requires too much number crunching? – So did we!

We understand that learning a million new things every day as a technology or a science student doesn’t leave too much time for crunching math. And yet in most cases you cannot solve anything without it.

We decided create a solution to this problem with the help of cutting-edge technology.

The Mathist allows you to focus on problem solving and not number crunching, so that you achieve better results at things you are interested in!

Feeling Lucky? – Total Probability Theory

Total Probability Screenshot

When Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat studied a problem related to a gambling game they developed what is now widely known as the probability theory.

They were hired by two very rich man, that were interrupted in a middle of a gambling game, to determine in which proportion the stakes should be divided based on the current score.

The formula of total probability is widely used and is very significant in the probability theory. 

The fun fact is that the interest in probability was solely influenced by gambling games throughout the 17. 18.  and 19. century. Only way later was probability studied for theoretical reasons. :)