Thing 19: YouTube, TeacherTube, we all scream for YouTube

Exploring YouTube in always fun. As required, I found the four requisite videos. Just for kicks, I’m including them all here.

The first was a “Just for Fun” content-related video, That’s Mathematics, by Tom Lehrer. I think that Tom is Canadian, since he uses the term “maths” and spells using “-ise” instead of “-ize.” This is just a fun song to answer the question, “When will I ever use this?”

The two content related videos I thought might be interesting include one on limits (my precalc students always have a hard time with this concept) by TeacherWalt:

and this one by MathTV on solving trig identities, another concept these girls have trouble with.

By making tutorial videos available, I can offer additional explanation for those students who need it. Sometimes hearing things in a different way, or from a different person cam make a difference, and just seeing different examples will be helpful.

As for the how-to video, I thought that this one on paper airplanes was pretty cool.

There was actually a better one, but it had an ad in the beginning and could not be embedded. Here is the link if you are interested in taking a look:  How to Make Dangerous Looking Airplanes by VideoJug.

I also checked out TeacherTube, and I definitely agree with the comment that the advertising is ANNOYING, so I thought I’d see what happens when I embed a TeacherTube video, like this Abbott and Costello classic:

Interesting. At least the intro commercial goes away. Good to know.

Overall, either YouTube or Teachertube might be useful tools for additional explanation and practice on difficult concepts. The key is finding good videos that aren’t too boring and are short enough that the students will sit through them. I really like the idea of embedding them into a blog or wiki (I’d like to try embedding them in Moodle) to avoid having students go to YouTube where they are exposed to so many other videos as well. It is also easier to show them is class without all of the other nonsense cluttering up the screen, even with the safety feature on.

Off to explore more videos.

Thing 18: The sights and sounds of Podcasting

Exploring podcasts was one thing, creating my own was another. I checked out Tony Vincent’s Learning in Hand how-to on creating podcasts, and followed the instructions, picking a topic, writing a script (you can see my script here,) and recording all of the sections with Microsoft Sound Recorder. I was feeling great until I noticed that the files created by Sound Recorder were WMA (Windows Media Audio) files and not WAV. Undaunted I moved on to iTunes which I already had installed. After uploading the files and having them converted to AAC (Advanced Audio Coding)  format. Back to the original Thing 18 directions. I updated my preferences and tried again. Success.

Then I went to The Freesound Project to look for some sound effects. Since I talked about roller coasters in my podcast, I looked for roller coaster sounds and found one I liked. I downloaded the MP3 file and noted the proper citation. Good to go. After some trial and error at Podbean, I went back to Tony Vincent’s guide and downloaded Audacity. After more fits and starts, I figured out how to combine all of the pieces of my podcast into one, reasonably coherent file, which I could then upload to Podbean.

Here is the finished result:

Note: Sound effects – Roller coaster, By Marec (http://www.freesound.org/usersViewSingle.php?id=40072),  downloaded 7/28/10
This podcast gave me a chance to see if I could create some materials for my engineering service learning class, Engineering Through Community Service (ETCS), that starts in a few weeks. Since I will meet with students on a limited basis (twice per month as a group), I thought that this might allow me to spend our meeting times doing other things. “Lectures” so to speak could be developed as a series of podcasts for the girls to listen to when they have time. We shall see.

Thing 17: So Many Podcasts, So Little Time

Talk about a jungle! The options and possibilities for podcasts border on the infinite. I almost didn’t know where to start, so in true fashion, I checked out the suggested options and settled on the following:

For professional use:

Teaching with Smartboard from The Education Podcast Network – I now have a Smartboard and want to learn more about using its features

The Math Dude from Quick and Dirty Tricks – I thought I might find some ideas for my students here. The series provides “clear explanations of math terms and principles … strengthen your fundamental skills [and] help you better understand the language of math…” (The Math Dude)

TedTalks selections such as Math Curriculum Needs a Makeover – I don’t necessarily want everything here but want to pick and choose podcasts rather than simply subscribe.

For personal use:

Diary of a Foodie from Gourmet – I miss my Gourmet magazine 🙁 so this will give me a bit of a “fix” when I need it.

Food Trip with Todd English from WGBH, Boston – I love anything related to food and this provides some insight into the culture of food beyond America.

The Book Tour Podcast from NPR – This will give me a chance to listen to current authors discussing their newest work and get some ideas of books to add to my collection. I sometimes catch bits and pieces listening to NPR on the way to or from work and enjoy it.

I have been using an iPod Touch for about a year and a half now, but I know that I don’t take advantage of all of the ways in which I can benefit from it. Podcasts are one of those ways. I know from reading the Tech & Learning post A Day in the Life of Web 2.0 that I should be more like the science teacher, Ms. S and make it a habit to scan and listen to a variety of podcasts on the way to work or while grading papers each day (just as I should be scanning my reader each day) but that doesn’t seem to happen. The jungle is teeming with predators trying to distract me, whether they be family, friends or housework, students, colleagues, planning for 4 courses, meetings, or grading, or simply my absolute favorite TV show, finding enough time to fit everything into my day is becoming more and more difficult.

In a perfect world, without the predators seeking my time and energy, I would love to incorporate everything into my classroom. Unfortunately, that world is not here yet. I need to prioritize my options. Would it be great to prepare my own podcasts for students who need to hear an explanation one more time, or who were absent? Sure, but I’m not sure I can fit everything in. As I navigate this technology jungle, I need to chose my path wisely, keeping the end in mind.

Thing 12: Bogged Down by Flickr

My journey led me deep into the jungle to Flickr, where I found a great chasm separating me from my task – selecting a series of photos shareable via Creative Commons, that I could use in a slideshow. I wallowed in a sea of photos, most of which, initially, I found were copyrighted. I finally forged my way to the area where I could find CC photos that I could download for use. Now I could select a handful to represent my idea (more than story) of the ways in which geometric forms are found in architecture. This will ultimately be part of a larger project – Geometry All Around Us. Since this was essentially a collage format, I used slide to create the show below

or on my wiki page, Life in the Math Lane.

NOTE: Scroll over photos to see the credits.

All in all, I’m Proud of my efforts.