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Google Apps For Education

In May 2015 our school announced we would trial Google Apps for Education (GAFE). I knew colleagues in schools that I had previously worked in that were using Google, but I had never used it before. I had not even used Drive before, all my documents were stored on Dropbox. I dipped my toes into Google in June, and immediately saw the benefits for my classes, so decided to spend some time over the summer holidays exploring more.

Over the summer I started to create Google Forms, updated my YouTube channel with more videos, embedded forms into videos and started to explore Classroom. During September I introduced my classes to Classroom, which initially was a point of conflict for some as they were used to other systems such as ManageBac.

In late September, I was fortunate enough to spend 3 days on the European Google Summit in Zurich. I attended the Boot Camp and then the workshops. My eyes were opened, and I returned with a huge amount of ideas and inspiration that I implemented into my teaching, using Classroom, Docs and Drive, Forms, 3rd Party Apps, Youtube and Google Sites.

In October I qualified as a Google Educator Level 1 and in November as Google Educator Level 2. Google has transformed the way I teach, providing me with more opportunities to get instant AfL for my students, massive reduction in photocopying, better and faster feedback for students, documents are not lost as so much is online. Homework is now set better, and students are carrying around (and losing) less items such as textbooks (stored online) and worksheets. My lessons are now truly blended with more opportunities for differentiation both in and out of class.

The drawbacks? Very few. One of the major drawbacks is that there is a reliance on students having computers with them every lesson. I am fortunate that at present in my school all students are required to bring a computer to lessons. However, we have issues with chargers, and also that we are unable to control the browsers of students. As well as the occasional forgotten or broken computer. But, Google does work across all platforms so although many use Apples, the occasional PC user and Chrome user are catered for. The next step is to get Chrome-books in my class to iron out some of these issues.

Quadratic Sequences

I have just taught quadratic sequences to my top set Year 9. I like them to find the second differences, and then take away the n squared, or the 2 n squared etc. This investigation was the start of this.

Quadratic Sequences – This is a link to the worksheet.

Video Explanation of the method.

ToK History – The Hillsborough Disaster

I wanted the students to think about how History is recorded, who writes it and in particular the importance we place on Primary resources,  and the problems with them. We watched very emotional footage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. I did not tell them about how the events following the disaster unfolded, but I gave them some media reaction including inflammatory headlines in the week following this by the Sun newspaper.

Follow up questions to consider:

Did each eye-witness see things from the perspective? (The police/the fans/the chairman of the clubs.) – think here about the WoK, especially emotion, reason, but also perception.
What are fallible eye-witness accounts?
Who was listened to the most? – This brings in social bias, and to a certain extent confirmation bias.
Deliberate manipulation – The follow events and enquiries that that took place and the subsequent re-recording of the event, and the evidence of government intervention.

For those non-UK teachers you may want to look into some media articles to get an idea of what happened and how the events were dealt with start with some of the following links:

What the Sun said?

David Conn Guardian

BBC Hillsborough, how it happened?

Diagnostic Questions

Here’s a post to big up the fantastic Craig Barton and his Diagnostic Questions.

I don’t love ICT in my classroom for the sake it, I love ICT that enhances learning and feedback, and this website delivers. Most questions are Maths based, but you can use and create your own questions for any subject.

I have registered all my students and all have completed a quiz this week. It took about 2 minutes to get all the students registered using their G+ accounts. I made up one quiz of my own questions and used other teacher questions for 3 others.

So why do I love Diagnostic Questions?
It enhances my AfL by giving me instant feedback and allows for immediate intervention, I watch the answers live on my laptop and stop students and them to go over wrong answers.
Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 07.19.27

It makes the students think. It is more than multiple choice as the students have to give a reason for their answer – it shows the misconceptions and allows for future planning.
Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 07.21.20
The heat-map helps future planning – I need to teach the concepts from Q9 and Q10.
Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 07.22.35

Finally I can download a pdf of any students results and questions, with the correct answers and the correct students’ reasoning with it. I send this to those students who are struggling (or save it and share via Google Drive).
Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 07.24.24

Get on Diagnostic Questions and improve your AfL.

ToK Summer Reading

These books are useful for new teachers or students to ToK, or for students looking for some inspiration for their presentations or essay writing. The books are not text books, but just great reads with a ToK slant.

The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

Nudge by RichardThaler and Cass Sunstein

The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines by Janna Levin (fiction)

The Man Who Only Loved Numbers by Paul Hoffman

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

read more…

Using Flubaroo

This is a great add-on to google sheets and easy to use to help mark and assess student work.

IB SL GDC Things You Should Know

This is a quick selection of videos of things of things you should know how to do with your GDC when you have completed the course.

This is my Top Eleven  things your must be able to do with your GDC:

1. Reset and set between degrees and radians.
2. Draw a graph and change the v-window.
3. Find information from a graph (roots, vertex, y-intercepts).
4. Solving simultaneous equations and using the equation solver.
5. Using the combination for binomial expansions.
6. Finding averages without frequencies and with frequencies.
7. Regression and correlation.
8. Binomial probabilities.
9. The Normal Distribution.
10. Finding a gradient without differentiating.
11. Finding areas and volumes without integrating.

Do Numbers Exist?

This Numberphile video explains in clear terms the difference between the 3 schools of philosophical thought on the existence of numbers: Platonism, Nominalism, and Factionalism.

Judging Art

Thanks to the ToK teacher at Parkside Federation in Cambridge, UK for this video.

Is it right to lie?

As an introduction to the Ethics course we will look at what are views are on lying. This is an excellent BBC page on the discussion.

There are 5 excellent TED talks on lying available from the TED BLOG.

And here is our class activity Prezi on the subject:



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