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School Pro D Days

Posted by on November 11, 2014

As a school we have identified numeracy as a area of growth.  For the October Pro D day the staff worked on developing skills and working with the digital tools available in the school.  The use of video was highlighted (Khan academy, Brain Pop) and a number of iPad apps (explain everything, keynote)

One of the main messages for the day was in the use of math vocabulary and using this vocabulary in lessons and demonstrations.  The ideas os sum, difference, product, quotient, and what the words mean were explained as was the importance of common math language through all grades.  There is a lot of math slang used in many lessons and some of the wording in the Khan academy video was highlighted in a wordle and then the word origins and meanings discussed.  The level of understanding for students especially in numeracy, can depend on their confidence in what is being asked or told in the problem.

Using explain everything was a key in recording voice and actions in a math problem.  When groups presented their recording many noticed that their math vocabulary still needed some work and how easy it was to slide back into math slang.  It was also highlighted that the use of apps by students to create content is at a higher level of thinking then consuming content in a consumption app.  During the Pro D days the apps that have been used to demonstrate learning have mostly been creativity apps.  The consumption apps have a role but real learning is in creating, this is why every top app list has explain everything at the top of the app list.

The big activity for the day was for the groups to create a presentation about a new product.  In the presentation groups had to use a list of statistical references and values to showcase their new product.  The groups then presented to the Coyote Den panel to see if they could get financial backing for their new product.  Groups were also asked to use a misleading data point and the audience was asked to look for the misleading data and analyze the data provided.  The hook for this lesson was provided in the Brain Pop video on statistics, that identified much of the vocabulary and did speak to misleading data.

Staff were again challenge to learn and create content that showed their learning and knowledge of the math vocabulary.  It was commented several times that in creating the explain everything lesson that each group had to go through the problem several times before they felt comfortable explaining it to others.  What an amazing insight for the groups to realize that students and staff can spend time on one problem and master its learning through collaboration and discussion.

Explain everything does an excellent job of allowing learners to practice doing and teach others,  perhaps that is why it is at the top of most educational app lists.

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