Monday, September 17, 2012

In my undergraduate studies, homework was a chore. Now, in my graduate studies, it's become a hobby.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Interactive Whiteboards

Interactive whiteboards are a fantastic tool. Below is a video of my colleagues and I discussing how one brand of whiteboards ("Mimeo") works:

Teaching Moment: Interactive Whiteboard Demonstration from Aimee Smith on Vimeo.

Also, here is a link to the video on Vimeo, the website used to condense this video into a viewable size:

Vimeo Whiteboard Video

Friday, November 4, 2011

Google Sheets: Charting Raw Data

This was a good experience. After watching a few brief tutorials, I was able to quickly transfer data to a new spreadsheet, analyze it by finding averages, and then graph a growth trend. Plus, it was easy to embed the link below so that others can view it.

Click below to view:
Sheet and Chart

Here are the trends I observed:
  • All students had a considerably better score on test 10 than on test 6. 
  • Most students improved their score with each test. The exceptions to this are Jason, Katherine, Walter, and Queen. 
  • Katherine realized the greatest improvement from test 6 to test 10.
As a result of these observations, I'd do several things in the classroom:
  1. I'd send Katherine a letter congratulating her on being the "most improved player."
  2. I'd personally congratulate each student on their overall improvement in a discrete way, such as by attaching a note of congratulations to homework I returned to them (so as not to embarrass them in front of their peers).
  3. I'd give each student a graph showing their personal achievement from test 6 to 10 and then administer a survey with the following questions:
    1. What helped you the most to improve your scores from test 6 to 10?
    2. Was any one test harder than the others?
    3. If your test scores didn't improve with each test, what do you think was the cause?
    4. What would have helped you to learn better?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


This is a great tool. I especially appreciate that it has a ZERO tolerance policy for inappropriate content.
Simply put, UStream is a way to quickly and easily create audio and/or video recordings that are broadcast on your very own channel. I created a channel called "Zachervision" and figured out this morning how to embed my first video here on my blog (you can view it at the bottom of this post).

There are a number of ways to leverage this tool in the classroom:

  1. Have students create a commercial in class about the current subject being studied.
  2. Create a video lecture(s) for students to view in the event that inclement weather prohibits them from attending class for an extended period of time.
Once a video is created, it can be uploaded to sites such as Facebook, YouTube, or embedded in a blog (SEE BELOW).

Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

Friday, October 7, 2011

OTEN Conference 2011

The OTEN Conference was definitely worthwhile!
Click "PLAY" to hear more...

My Favorite Web 2.0 Tool

What is Web 2.0? It really depends on who you ask.

Tim O'Reilly has quite a lot to say about it in the YouTube video of the Web 2.0 Expo SF 2010:

According to the Collins Dictionary, it's:
"the internet viewed as a medium in which interactive experience,in the form of blogs, wikis, forums, 
etc. plays a more important role than simply accessing information." web 2.0. (n.d.). Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition. Retrieved October 07, 2011, from website: 2.0

According to The Encyclopedia of Management, Web 2.0 is:
"The term Web 2.0 refers to new social applications and methods of communication implemented over the Internet." Web 2.0." Encyclopedia of Management. 2009. Retrieved October 07, 2011 from"

To me Web 2.0 emphasizes that the internet is now:

  • a tool for interaction, not just investigation
  • used for collaboration, not just individual accomplishment
  • social versus isolationist

    We have myriads of ways to stay in touch such as, Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Now, more than ever, the internet connects people to each other, not just information.


    That's the Web 2.0 tool that I chose to investigate. Simply put, it's a web-based collection of bookmarks or favorites. I like this because it's accessible from any browser, whether I'm using Chrome, Safari, Foxfire, or Internet Explorer. I simply log in to my Delicious account, and I'm ready to surf my favorite sites from any computer with any browser.

    But, the question begs, how would it help in a school classroom? Let's think about a teacher who wants students to create a project solely based on internet research. The student could easily create what Delicious calls a "stack" to do so. For example, they could create a project about mustaches and have a visual/audio bibliography in a stack. Check out this example by clicking on the link below and playing the video on that page:


    Once the student created this project on Delicious, they could easily share it with the teacher and other students by clicking, "make public".

    Google Docs Group Project

    We created a Google Docs project titled, "Sheets." The purpose of the project was to experiment with the use of Google's version of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. On Sheet 1, we created a sample grade book that lists different students' grades on various projects, including their final grades in the form of points and percentages. We then created a corresponding colored chart that provides a visual representation of the same data on Sheet 1 for the more "visual" viewer.

    You can view our spreadsheet by clicking HERE.

    I was impressed by Google Sheets. The product is superior to Microsoft Excel because:

      • it’s free, whereas Microsoft Excel costs around $100 when purchased with the Microsoft Office Suite of products.
      • it’s accessible from any computer, whereas Excel is often saved to the hard-drive of just one computer.
      • it’s collaborative, whereas Excel is not.

    One way that Google Sheets could enhance teaching is as a collaborative tool for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in special education. The spreadsheet could be used by both general education and special education teachers to layout specific learning objectives and to track the progress of each of those objectives by day, month, quarter, etc. If the teachers desired, they could also grant access to the parent of the special education student as well as the professionals working on that students behalf (speech pathologists, etc.).