Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Assessing the Blog Posts of My Students

I have to assess the blog posts of my students so that they will be accountable, otherwise, they will produce awful work. I want the blogs to be a change from the usual, traditional "chalk and talk" method of teaching math. I want to use blogs to:
  • give students practice at being more reflective (so I'll have to use questions from Bloom's level 6)
  • give students practice at being better writers i.e. write with clarity and precision, while not using extraneous words and finding their writing style.
  • students will be allowed to create a blog with their peers, 3 students pre blog max, so as to have them collaborate and to reduce my marking.
  • I will tell them to be brief, get to the point; questions will need answers of at most 5 sentences, like the Communications questions I give on tests.
So here is the marking scheme for each posting:
  1. one mark for for a post that is sufficiently clear and precise i.e I understand what point you're trying to make
  2. one mark for backing up any and all claims with a fact/example/reference such as a hyperlink
  3. 1 mark for not using extraneous words, extraneous phrases, or chatspeak like "btw" or "on the other hand".
These will be worth 5% of your term communications mark.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Test of Uploading Excel Graph

I had to save the graph as a jpg:
LC on graph so that you see black dots at corners and centres of borders.
Open MS Paint...Edit-> see graph appear...File->Save As...->choose jpg.

Here is the graph, which is uploaded as any pic; I chose "medium":

Test of ThinkFree

I have created a Word doc in ThinkFree, an online Office Suite. I'd like to introduce it to my students so that they can collaborate on their ISUs. That is, with only 1 working draft, they won't waste time on doing work that their partner will reject. They'll always know what the other is doing.

Btw, to put a TF Calc graph into TF Doc, highlight the graph by a LC, then choose Edit->Copy, then go to Doc and RC->paste.

Here, I'm testing if I can post the "published url" that ThinkFree gives me when I PUBLISHED (i.e. make the doc publicly viewable):
Go here for my doc.

And when I use PRIVATE, using the only url given,
go here

And when I use SHARE, using the only url given,
go here.

All links work.
publish== using the "published url", anyone can power edit right in the browser window, without signing in to TF and without downloading my document. Must sign in to download.

private== using the only url given, anyone can download, but not edit on web; can edit once downloaded.

shared== using the only url given, allows one to download, share, quick edit, publish.

Test of Gliffy

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Teaching Schedule for Web 2.0 Software

If I can't follow the schedule prescribed here, relax, do the best I can. That is, get into the computer lab as soon as I can if I can't get the days I want.

All of the following is to be done in Room E200.

All of the following instructions will be posted on the MDM4U1 blog. Just tell the students to go there. Create the blog entries using Zoho.

1st Day of Classes:
Distribute the letter to the parents (about blogging) and distribute the Responsible Blogging sheet to students.

2nd Day of Classes:
Explain to the students that using this social software is a new idea, and we are experimenting as we go along.

Tell them to download Firefox at home, but read the brief description now.
Have blog show:
      • tabbed browsing (explain advantage of this for research)
      • re-name tabs
      • extensions; show 2 examples
      • show the dictionaries and other s/w I can put into smaller field
      • key combo to get to smaller field (control+ k then up/down arrow keys); for dictionary searches
      • key combo to get to url field; then "google: " search
      • other keywords to do other searches in url field
  • explain that blogs are a popular way of distributing info
  • I will be asking them questions (assignments) that must be answered on their blogs; they will be marked; purpose is to improve their writing and understanding.
  • marking: 1 mark for each post, if it sufficiently answers question
  • 1st show a popular blog: Paris Daily Photo
  • have blog show (with screenshot)
      • where is title of blog, and that url and blog title don't have to be the same (but more convenient if they are)
      • explain this edit window in which I'm now typing is like Word
  • tell them that for profile, do not use last name, no pics, and nothing that identifies them
  • explain that labels are tags; explain their use for data management
  • include a link to one of your classmate's blog and a link to your favourite web site (keep it clean!)
  • go to 43Things web site, click on Learn More, create an account, create list of 43 goals, and then put a link to this list on your blog in the Links section
  • REMEMBER your blog's url!!
  • tell them: go to the MDM4U1 blog and leave a comment with their blog's url.
  • tell them to go to "definition of a planet"; notice that it's a current event i.e. wikis can change quickly, and everyone contributes
  • tell them to go to the different tabs, and have a written explanation of each tab.
  • go to the MDM4U1 Wikispace page
  • we will each be contributing to this soon, on a daily basis.
  • what we will be doing is creating the textbook i.e. each day, a student will have to summarize the day's notes. The student is chosen by the previous day's writer.
  • 2 students a day will create entries (1 from each class).
This work with blogs and wikispaces is worth 5% of your 15% Communications mark.

Sign back into Blogger, and write a post describing which university you wish to attend, what program you wish to enter there, and why you made those 2 choices. Assign the label Miscellaneous.

If they finish early, tell them to explore their blog and to personalize their blogs by including links to their favourite web sites. Suggest some sites, like

nth Day of Classes:
Excel worksheets
  • this is to be done according to lesson plans
  • there are different Excel lesson plans for the chapters 2 and 3
  • book 3 days for each (when I know specifically when, delete other 2)
  • after class on histograms, do Excel lesson 1, etc.
  • put the blm's on zoho, and point students there via class blog.
n+1 Day of Classes:
Introduce this after showing ISU stuff:
  • Bloglines (make feeds publicly available)
  • and Diigo

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Beta Blogger

Hi to all,
I was invited to convert this blog to the new type of Blogger blog called Beta Blogger. Not all Bloggers have been invited, but all will be invited soon. Posting is easier.

NB: if you have not converted to Beta, you can only leave comments here as Anonymous.

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