Sunday, May 24, 2009

In the Beginning?

In the beginning it was dark – I was surrounded in my math classroom, black slate chalkboards were everywhere!  Then there were a few computer rooms and marker boards, just a glimmer of the light….
Then there were SmartBoards!  Of course, I did not have a SmartBoard in my classroom, but I could use the SmartTech software that was licensed to my school.  So, I began the year recording my lessons with Smart Recorder as videos in windows media format.  The problem was I could not write notes freehand as you could on a Marker Board as Smart Notebook is very hard to use with just a mouse.  So, I wrote my notes with equation editor in MS Word.  I emulated a TI-89 graphing calculator with VTI.  Sometimes, I showed a calculus demo using free materials online using Mathematica Player.  I even found some funny math related youtube videos to show from time to time!  However, I only had a standard PC Mic, so needless to say, I was stuck in the back of the room at the teacher PC (that was hooked up to the PC Projector) to give my lectures.

In the middle of the year, I finally got a Smart Airliner Slate which is like a small portable SmartBoard.  Its really a tablet you can draw on with a magnetic pen that is designed to work with Smart Notebook software and connects to the PC via a BlueTooth USB transmitter.  I combined this with a Radio Shack 170 Mhz Lapel Mic so I was finally not a prisoner to the back of the room!

I’ve been recording my AP Calculus BC class in this manner all year.  I have a video record of every single class.  If a student was absent or wanted to review an old topic, he or she could still see the class at home after school!  I also save all my Smart notebook files as pdfs or ppts so the students can download any notes they missed.  Aside from the usual classroom handouts, I save all this information on an ftp site I set up that my students can access on or off campus.

You may view a sample class: 

A. Jorge Garcia, 

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