Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Future Textbooks

First thing's first.  Go read this post from Dan Meyer about Digital Networked Textbooks.

The textbook of the future looks awesome.  Not only is it interactive with the student, it allows the students to be interactive with each other.  I agree, I cannot wait for that day to be here, if I even see it by the end of my career.  So yes, I agree that we need to make our voices heard to textbook publishers about our real needs and wants in the classroom.

As excited as I am about the prospect of a digital curriculum like this, I still want my freedom from a textbook.  We have to remember that it's just a tool, one of many, just like now.  Take this post Dan Meyer wrote about not being able to foresee the mistakes and misconceptions that students may have.  With this in mind I want to be able to create something interactive in a reasonable amount of time, that the digital textbook may not offer.  How about right now?

In a few weeks my students will need to graph one variable inequalities and I'm never sure what to expect.  I created a very ugly google spreadsheet to use with my students when we get that far and I'd love for you to check it out.

Click here for the Google SpreadSheet

I would ask my class to enter some numbers that are less than 4, go ahead and try it (type some numbers in the tan cells), and you will see the point show up on the number line and adjust the domain as necessary (I wish I could control the domain, bummer).   This will be awesome when we get to compound inequalities.

But it's ugly, and you can see how I was able to sneak in the zeros to make ordered pairs on the x-axis. But it works,

I love using with my students.  The sliders, the animations, the colors, tables, ordered pairs, equations, oh my.  But I do have a wish.  Wouldn't it be great if we could set up classes, have our student log in and all graph on the same grid, on nothing more than my command?  Don't get me wrong, I love the penny problem that they came up with, but it only works with the penny problems.

I would like to have a very quick formative assessment and create super quick things to discuss with students just by asking them something like, "Everyone enter an equation that has a negative slope" and we could look at the graphs and/or equations and have a discussion.  Or just like the penny problem, I could ask each student to enter their ordered pair for some activity and we could see how the data lines up.  (Does Desmos do regression equations???)  In my Algebra I courses that would be great to discuss scatter plots, lines of best fit, and make predictions.

Back to my point.  I created something for the here and now.  Like my pastor said this last Sunday, "Work with what ya got."  Well, I got google spread sheets.

Feedback please.....


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