Friday, October 26, 2012

Weekend Reader on Khan Academy

I have some pretty strong opinions on this topic, but I'm going to save that for another time. Instead, I want you to be aware of the ongoing debate about Khan Academy and its place in education.

Wrath At Khan? What Should Teachers Expect From Khan Academy? [Eduwonk] - Read the comments for more insight into the debate over this new resource.

My thoughts on tech & education [The Game Theorist] - On KA and more.

Video: Khan Lessons Merely Adequate, Says Rubenstein [This Week In Education] - This guy misses the point (like he does on most issues) but not all of his criticism are unfounded.

'Mystery Teacher Theater 2000' Contest Calls for Critiques of Khan Academy Videos [GOOD] - I get why the professors involved started the contest, but really, there isn't anything in education more worth criticism like this?  Here's another article about MTT2K: Critiquing Khan Academy: Teacher Theater and the Power of Satire.

YouTube's Looking for the Next Education Superstar [GOOD] - Beyond KA?

Is Khan Academy a real ‘education solution’? [WaPo - The Answer Sheet] - Another reviewer who misses the point, but that's pretty much the rule when it comes to Valerie Strauss.

Friday, October 19, 2012

October 2012 Weekend Reader on Tablets & Apps in Education

7 Essential Apps for Grade School Students [Mashable!]

Tablets Will Transform the Classroom [OPINION] vs. Why the iPad Won’t Transform Education — Yet [Mashable!] - A good point-counterpoint on the use of tablets in the classroom.

This New App Turns Your iPad Into Your Classroom [GOOD] - The app I used in my classroom last year that my kids found easy to use (as did I). It's simple to make Khan Academy-style videos that are way more engaging than a PowerPoint.

A New Algebraic Math App: Polynomial Long Division [Wired:GeekDad]

iPad Game Run For President Teaches Kids About the Election Process [Wired:GeekDad]

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fixing a Common Problem With My Like Terms Card Game

Jen B, a high school math teacher from Kansas recently wrote me with a dilemma using my Like Terms card game:
My students are playing the game and our biggest problem is getting someone to go out. They use all the draw pile and then the only card left is ,'take 1 card from another player' Sometimes they can go out, sometimes they are at a stand still. What did we do wrong? They are in groups of 3 kids and I only let them create matches of 3 or 4 like terms at a time. It seems like you'll need a discard pile. Please advise us.
What I told her was that I avoided using a discard pile in my original game because my students were not familiar with rummy style (draw, play, discard) gameplay, but you can certainly add it back in.

The other option is to allow students to add individual cards onto other people's piles, which some people allow in rummy type games. So if my opponent has x, 3x and 5x and in my hand I have a lonely 2x, I can add it on to my opponent's group. I would put it with my own cards and I have to announce what I'm adding it on to, so that players aren't just throwing down cards they can't make groups of. In this way, they're still making groups but have the flexibility they need to get out.

After my response, she let me know how she fixed the problem:
For my second class, I added the discard pile back in. My students seemed to be familiar with Rummy and even asked if they could take the top card off the discard pile instead of draw, which I just might do next time.
Adding the discard pile back in solved our problem.
Earlier posts on this game: