Using ShowMe to Develop Student Created Math Tutorials

This guest post is written by Kelly Wroblewski, a High School Math Teacher in Austin, TX. She and her coworker and fellow teacher William Kiker assigned a fantastic class project to their students, resulting an an entire website of support materials for their Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus classes. Check out the website here. 

This past semester, William Kiker and I (Kelly Wroblewski) applied to be part of a pilot iPad program at our high school.  As members of a small project based  learning community within Austin High School in Austin, TX, we latched on to the ShowMe app pretty quickly.  Some of our students use the Khan Academy website as a resource to supplement in-class instruction, but some topics were either unavailable or were not tailored to our courses or textbooks.  Mr. Kiker and I determined we could use the ShowMe app to create videos similar to those found on the Khan Academy website, but specific to our courses at Austin High. Rather than having students hear their teachers yet again in video, we decided to design a project where the students create the instructional materials.  Since we were implementing this project towards the end of the school year, it provided the opportunity for students to review for the upcoming state exam or reflect upon a specific topic from the school year, depending on the needs for that course.

This project required that students create a short instructional video supplemented by a video guide document to lead the viewer through the content and a quiz to assess the viewer’s knowledge over the skills that were taught in the video.  The topics ranged widely from specific objectives from the state exam to specific Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus concepts.  Though the concepts were quite specific, it was interesting to observe the unique ways in which the students decided to present the topics in their videos.  Using ShowMe as a medium allowed for creativity and individuality while still guiding students to accomplish the overarching video creation task.  What we have compiled as a result of student submissions is our significantly more customized AHS Academy website where students can go for Austin High specific assistance with their math courses.

Overall, this project was a great learning experience for all involved, especially the teachers.  Mr. Kiker and I will be implementing version three of this project next school year in the hopes of expanding and improving upon the current content.  For more information on this topic, or to provide feedback regarding the website, please email me at kwroblew@austinisd.org or Mr. Kiker at william.kiker@austinisd.org.

 

A Great Tool for Graphing

WARNING: Math-related content! Handle with care!..

My math teacher in high school was really good at drawing figures and graphs. He could draw a circle almost perfectly with only one move. Though my drawing is good, I am not as good as him. Especially, I have a hard time when it comes to drawing accurate graphs in the class. By the time I started suspecting if a ruler might help, I discovered this website; GraphSketch.com.

It is extremely handy if you teach how to graph functions. You can use this website to draw your graphs accurately for hard-copy worksheets, or to draw your graphs while teaching, or to have images of the graphs for your ShowMe’s.

Introduction first:

When you go to the website, what you see is a coordinate plane. If you scroll down, you see the parameters. Here, you can type up to 6 functions, each graphed with a different color, adjust the size of the coordinate plane, display the numbers on the axes according to your choice, adjust the thickness of the graph, and even the size of the image!.. I can write a long paragraph for each setting, but it is always the best when you explore yourself.

At the bottom of the page, you may see the table for assistance on how to write certain type of functions. This is really helpful as the website doesn’t have a tool to type mathematical symbols, like the powers or the square roots, etc.

And the best part is, you can either save your graph, or get a “permanent link”. To save your graph as an image, click on the link just under the coordinate plane, and then save the image as usual. To get a permanent link, just right click on the “permanent link to this graph page” and click on “copy link location”. Then you can share the graph by sending this link via e-mail or pasting it to your website, etc.

I really enjoyed using Graphsketch in teaching graphs of radical functions. I no longer draw graphs with color pens on the board, which actually are ‘sketches’ rather than accurate graphs. I can graph several functions in Graphsketch, but “three is a crowd” in my manually drawn graphs. Moreover, I save time; typing the function is all that I have to do. And here is how I used this amazing yet simple tool in my ShowMe. You can compare my manually drawn graphs to the ones drawn with Graphsketch.

My students also liked the website. Actually, it is a good way for them to discover the nature of the graphs of functions. They can start with a parent function ( y = √x, in my case), and then insert numbers and four operations to realize the graphing process, understand the transformations, or compare the graphs of different functions, etc.

If I was asked to improve it, I would add “percentage” option for changing the size of the image. This is a good option if you want to change the size but keep the scale of width and height of the image. Also, I’d like it to draw graphs of implicit functions, as well, but I think this option is way too harder to add than the percentage option.

For the ones who dare to read this article until here, feel the relief; it is over. Thanks for your patience.

 

How-To: Email ShowMes directly to Evernote

Evernote is a really fantastic organization tool for both teachers and students.  The notebooks you create can be accessed on your computer, iPhone and iPad. But did you know you can also email your ShowMes directly from you iPad to your notebooks in Evernote? With this strategy students no longer have to worry about losing schoolwork. Teachers can also create e-portfolios for each student and students can email you directly with their name #hashtagged! This can be a powerful and efficient way to have students submit ShowMes (or other work). Here’s how to do it.

Evernote provides an email for every account. You can find it by logging in and clicking to human outline on the top right corner of the page. Here you will see a “Settings” option. When you click that it will take you to a page that lists information about your account, including your evernote email. Use this email address to send ShowMes directly into your account. Emailed notes will go directly into your default notebook.

You can direct your ShowMe to a particular notebook by simply including key tags in the subject line of your email. (Use the guide above from Evernote to help.) Happy organizing!

 

 

How-to: Embed your ShowMe into a Prezi presentation!

This How-to comes to us from Peg Hartwig of Marshfield, WI. One of her students was asked to make a STEM project and discovered the ability to embed a ShowMe into a Prezi presentation. It looks really awesome and she has kindly shared instructions so that you call can make your own.  Make sure to watch the original presentation (and inspiration for this post) Distance of Celestial Bodies in Space.

  1. Upload your ShowMe to your account from your iPad
  2. Log into the ShowMe website and navigate to your name in the top right corner. Hover over it to make a menu appear
  3. Click on “Edit ShowMes” and select the ShowMe you wish to download by clicking “download”. The file will save to your computer as an mp4.
  4. Next, open Prezi and go to the tool wheel to insert a file. Select the ShowMe from your downloads folder and click OK/Upload. The video will appear in your Prezi!
  5. You’re all set to go!
Peg also kindly created this ShowMe tutorial to help you follow along!
 

How-to: Have students use ShowMe to teach each other!

I recently went to 7th grade classroom in Mineola, NY where they proudly declare their classroom motto is “think different!” I was incredibly impressed with the students and teachers and totally jealous of the things they were getting to work on!

One really awesome thing that they told me about was the way they use ShowMe. Instead of the teacher creating lessons to share with students, after assessments the teachers figure out where each students’ strength lies. Students are then assigned a topic or a problem to teach using ShowMe. The last step in the process is to assign a student created ShowMe to another student who might be struggling or need a little extra help with the topic. Students get to learn from and help their peers which is what a 21st century classroom should look like!

If you think this is a great idea for your classroom, here is how to do it:

  1. Give your students an assessment or temperature check for understanding. You can also let them volunteer their favorite part of a unit!
  2. Assign each student a problem set or area of study to teach. They should be able to cover the subject in under 5 minutes.
  3. If you have one iPad in the classroom, set up a station in a quiet part of the room and create a schedule to let students know when they will be creating your ShowMes. If you have a cart or 1-to-1 classroom, let students work on their ShowMes in waves. The room can get quite noisy with 28 students all teaching at once!
  4. Each student should save and upload their ShowMe and then email the link to you. Save these links all in once place on a class website or blog.
  5. Assign these student created ShowMes as review work to help students who need to strengthen their skills!
 

How-to: Use ShowMe for in class presentations!

Today’s blog post is written by Julia Wilson, our awesome community intern, who you will be seeing more of on the blog! 

Have Students use ShowMe as a Replacement for In-Class Presentations

I’ve always been a fan of in-class presentations. From my experience, students tend to put more effort into something when they know it will be shared publicly with classmates. They also tend to gain a stronger grasp of the material when they are required to present it in their own words.
In Short: the students work a little harder and learn a little better.

Now think of ShowMe as a twist on the typical class presentation method. The students are still required to work together, research a topic, and practice public speaking skills while creating a well thought out presentation. But instead of having students preform in-class presentations, break the students into groups and have them use ShowMe to create a presentation instead.

Benefits:

1. Save class time. Student presentations are time consuming and it can be difficult to keep the attention of all students while their classmates present. If each group of students is given an iPad, ShowMe can save valuable class time because each group can create their presentation at the same time.

2. A Great assessment method. After the students upload their ShowMe you will be able to go back and watch the presentation at a convenient time for you. If you wanted the presentations to count as a graded assessment, you could easily go back and watch each ShowMe more than once. (Instead of racing to fill out a rubric for students while they present in-class.)

3. Easy Sharing. It is really simple to share a ShowMe, you can even embed the videos onto your school website! Did one group really create an exceptional lesson? You now will be able to share any of the presentations with other students, teachers and parents as often as you’d like.

So the next time you are considering in-class presentations I challenge you to have your students use ShowMe instead. Be sure to let us know how it works in your classroom!

 

How to: Use ShowMe with Speech and Language Learners [Part 2]

Yesterday’s post about using ShowMe with speech and language learners is actually part of a longer series of How-tos I’m going to write. Of all the ways we imagined people using ShowMe, hearing about how it has helped students with learning and speech differences is the most powerful and moving to me. I think for educators in this field there is something awesome about ShowMe because it allows for personalized lessons that foster independence and reflection. For students who don’t have these resources at their fingertips, I’m proud that many of these lessons have been uploaded to the community for anyone to learn from!

This how-to idea comes directing from Gailyn Ryan in Minnesota. Gailyn works in an elementary school and is always coming up with new innovative ways for special education teachers to help students. Every year incoming students focus a good chunk of time learning how to write their name. However, with many students in a class it can be hard to differentiate for every one, which is where ShowMe comes to the rescue! This is how Gailyn changed the way the lesson was taught:

  1. Create a new ShowMe
  2. Tap record, pick your pen color and start writing the name of the student across the screen.
  3. While you are writing each letter, explain how you are doing it (“A” start at the top and make a line to the bottom…”) Make sure to pause after each letter to say it out loud. Depending on the abilities of your students you might want to say the sound the letter makes too.
  4. When you are done writing, say the whole name out loud and then hit stop. Save your ShowMe and upload it.
  5. Have your student sit in front of the iPad or the computer with a paper and pen. Push play on the video player
  6. While your student is watching, they should be following along on their paper mirroring what you are doing in the ShowMe. They can stop, pause, rewind or re-play as many times as they’d like until they are confident in their new skill.
As with yesterday’s ShowMe, its important to have this ShowMe readily available on the internet for your student to watch at home or share with others! This lesson can definitely be adapted for many other writing lessons–names are just the start!

 

 

How-to: Use ShowMe for speech and language learning [Part 1]

I’m super appreciative of everyone who emails and tweets all of the awesome ways that they’ve been using ShowMe. Today’s How-to was inspired Dana Hagan, a speech + language pathologist in Deer Park, NY who’s class I had the privilege of observing last week.

In Dana’s class, the 5th graders were learning about the Gold Rush in 1848. Using ShowMe with her group of 3 students, she had

  1. Choose an image from Safari that you’d like to discuss. Hold your finger down on it then tap Save Image when the button appears. This will save it to your image library. If you already have an image cued up, skip this step!
  2. Open a new ShowMe and write a sentence about what you and your students will be discussing
  3. Tap record and read it out loud. Clear the screen when you’ve finished this.
  4. Add the image from the photo library that you prepared at the beginning of the lesson. For Dana, this was a map of the United States from around 1849.
  5. Let each student pick a color and interact with the map while answering questions. For Dana, this was asking them to identify locations on the map that were significant to the Gold Rush.
  6. When you are finished, hit Stop. Take the time now to play back the ShowMe to your students and ask them to reflect on what they just made. Perhaps they have goals with speech and language that they can think about while they watch.
  7. Lastly, make sure you upload your ShowMe by hitting the Upload button. Not only will the lesson help other learners in the ShowMe community but it will also be helpful for your own students to re-watch their ShowMe, add it to their digital portfolios and proudly share with others!
Send the lessons you creating using Dana’s method our way, we’d love to see them!
 

How-to: Use ShowMe as a center in the classroom

On one of the school visits that San and I have been taking lately we visited a 9th grade Algebra classroom to learn more about the types of learning taking place on a daily basis. Our wonderful hosts at FDR High School were Brian Halling and Arisa King, who welcomed us enthusiastically to watch how they used ShowMe with their students.

Like many schools out there, FDR only has one iPad in each math classroom. However, Brian and Anita didn’t let the scarcity of iPads limit them, instead they showed us how they use ShowMe as part of centers and group work. How cool! Here are instructions for you to adapt to use ShowMe as part of center time in your classroom!

  1. Create or find a ShowMe on your iPad about a short concept that you want your students to learn about in class. Don’t forget to upload it to the site or send them the link so they can watch it at home after class!
  2. When its time for centers or group work, break up your class into small groups. Depending on the size of your class you could have more, but groups of about 3-5 students should work
  3. At the ShowMe center, have students watch the lesson you created. Allow time for them to watch it a few times, and answer questions about what they are learning as they go along.
  4. Once they’ve completed watching the lesson you’ve assigned, have them create their own ShowMe of what they just learned and save it for e-portfolios, to aid in future assignments or for them to show off to their friends and family!
Has anyone tried using ShowMe in centers for their class?
 

How-to: Let your students take the lead

We’ve had loads of teachers creating ShowMes over the past several months and they are really awesome ones at that. Lately however, I have been hearing about more teachers putting iPads in the hands of their students which I think is an excellent idea. Teaching a concept or process is a great way to demonstrate understanding! Here are a few ways I’ve seen ShowMe being used by students:

  • Keeping it Simple: Students create lessons around concepts being learned in class and share publicly through the ShowMe website or a class blog. This is a great way to show your students that their teachings can have a global reach!
  • Interactive Test: During a test, sometimes it can be difficult to assess a students learning or the choices they made to solve a problem. Using iPads and ShowMe to have them answer a question can be a great way to hear and see all of their thinking.
  • Collaborative review: One school in Minnesota was using ShowMe to create study review lessons for an upcoming test. The students worked in pairs to teach sections of the review and then were responsible for watching and grading the other sections with a class designed rubric. Creative and reflective!
  • Parent-Teacher conferences: This one is just an added bonus that can used after any of the above. Watching a ShowMe in a parent-teacher conference can give great insight into where a student is at in his or her learning process.
Do you have more ways for students to use ShowMe in class?