# Classroom tools

Edward Cherlin echerlin at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 18:24:23 EST 2008

```2008/1/14 Wade Brainerd <wadetb at gmail.com>:
> Yeah, I was thinking along these lines with the Pop Quiz activity.
>
> The teacher (the activity initiator) gets a screen showing a box for a
> question, a box for the answer, and a box for every student that is sharing
> the activity.
>
> She types in a question, it is posed to the children, they type in their
> answers.  When done, she types in her answer, which is delivered to the
> students, and their boxes are marked correct or incorrect on her screen.

You are making important assumptions here. The first is that the
is that the "right" answer is actually correct. This is frequently not
the case, particularly outside the realms of math and physics. But
even in math, teachers and textbooks frequently give incorrect
information. The notion that you can't add apples and oranges, for
example. This is what algebra is *for*. It is true that when you add
apples and oranges, you don't get a total that is all one or the
other, but to claim that you just can't do it is simply insane.
According to Richard Feynman, the books used in the Los Angeles
Unified School District in his day were appalling, and I don't know of
any reason to suppose that any others are any better, except the few
written by serious mathematicians like Ken Iverson.

I am interested in the case where the teacher asks an open-ended
question for the children to explore in some manner. I am also
interested in other cases, such as the original "out of the box"
puzzle, which asks for the minimum number of connected straight lines
that can be drawn to cover nine dots in a 3 x 3 square. Five is
trivial; four is the classic "outside the box" solution; children have
discovered solutions in three lines and one line.

"It is nothing short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction
have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiousity of
inquiry."--Albert Einstein

"The world we have made, as a result of the level of thinking we have
done thus far, creates problems we cannot solve at the same level of
thinking at which we created them."--Albert Einstein

>At
> this point she can manually adjust correct/incorrect/partially correct
> answers for individual students.  Then she clicks the Next button, and the
> interface is reset for the next question.
>
> The students see a vertically scrolling list of question/answer pairs with a
> current correct and incorrect count at the bottom. When the teacher's
> question is posed, they will see the question followed by an input box to
>
> This would be a massive improvement over the standard "write test, photocopy
> test, pass out test, receive test, grade test" system as the questions could
> be adjusted in realtime based on how well the class is doing.
>
> This should be implementable using the current activity interface, right?
> It just means that the initiator of the activity receives a different
> interface than the participants, which is easy to do.
>
> Regards,
>
>
> 2008/1/14 <david at lang.hm>:
>
>
> >
> > On Mon, 14 Jan 2008, Wade Brainerd wrote:
> >
> > > My mother-in-law is an 8th grade teacher in Nobleboro, ME.  Maine has
> > > Apple laptop program for the past few years in which all 8th graders
> > > personal iBooks that they can take home with them.
> > >
> > > She has a feature where she can silently watch a single student's screen
> at
> > > a time via a VNC connection (a simplified Apple Remote Desktop). She
> uses it
> > > when kids look distracted, and simply calls across the room to ask them
> if
> > > what they're doing is "appropriate" after checking out their screen.
> Plus,
> > > the child's knowledge that they *can* be watched at any time is
> generally
> > > enough to prevent them from doing anything really bad during class time.
> > >
> > > A secure remote screenshot utility should be considered essential for
> > > teachers to maintain control of their classrooms (IMO).  A "TV wall"
> view
> > > showing a number of kids screens would be even better.  I'm not sure if
> > > remote control is needed, as this would be a much greater security risk.
> > >
> > > I'm not an educator, but I think the idea of a room full of kids looking
> > > down at their screens waiting to be "called on" virtually seems a little
> > > strange when you can just look up and talk.
> >
> > I think the thought is to replace the useual situation where the teacher
> > asks a question and then calls on a single student to answer with one
> > where the teacher asks a question and then everyone provides an answer,
> > and the teacher then picks an answer to proceed with.
> >
> > David Lang
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > > Perhaps if you guys are
> > > thinking about much larger classrooms and/or remote education it would
> be
> > > worthwhile, but these things can be accomplished through chat as well.
> The
> > > question / answer idea does seem useful though, perhaps a Pop Quiz
> activity
> > > where the teacher's instance shows a different interface from the
> student.
> > >
> > > BTW, if you haven't already, I think it's absolutely worth studying
> these
> > > existing US programs to determine how a classroom is run with this kind
> of
> > > technology present before designing systems around usage patterns.  If
> you
> > > would like to talk with her (or other teachers) I'd be happy to try and
> set
> > > something up!
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > >
> > >
> > > 2008/1/14 Jameson Chema Quinn <jquinn at cs.oberlin.edu>:
> > >
> > >> The idea of activity sharing supports several important forms of
> classroom
> > >> interaction, and can be stretched to accommodate many more. However the
> > >> focus on constructionism means there's a lack of support for
> teacher-centric
> > >> interactions, even ones which are useful in constructionist learning.
> Raising
> > >> hands
> > >>
> > >> The fundamental model that's missing is the idea of questions or
> > >> assignments, posed by the teacher and answered separately by each
> student or
> > >> team of students. It is possible to accomplish this 'manually', but the
> > >> technical shuffling makes it impractical to do so in a real-time,
> classroom
> > >> situation, especially if it is desirable to keep data for later.
> > >>
> > >> For instance, I as a teacher want to be able to pose a question and
> have
> > >> each student individually type a response. I could see, and record for
> > >> later, who responded what and who didn't respond. After giving a brief
> > >> interval, I could 'call on' a student either by my choice or randomly,
> and
> > >> continue the discussion based on their answer. There are several
> obvious
> > >> variations on this pattern - for instance, instead of typing a complete
> > >> answer they could just indicate whether they have an answer, ie, 'raise
> > >> their hands'; teams could present shared answers; etc. The software
> would
> > >> help the teacher to keep track of each student's participation and to
> 'call
> > >> on' students in a systematic manner.
> > >>
> > >> This type of interaction is so fundamental that it would be great to
> have
> > >> it available independent of the currently shared activity. The obvious
> place
> > >> to put it, therefore, would be in the bulletin board. This means the
> > >> bulletin board would have to have some support for active logic. There
> are 3
> > >> ways to do this that I can see: somehow using AJAX for the bulletin
> board
> > >> processor hog, needs some server technology on the teacher's side);
> > >> hard-coding this one case into the bulletin board (advantage: can be
> > >> optimized better; disadvantage: inflexible); or somehow making a plugin
> security
> > >> issues, the world doesn't need yet another plugin architecture)
> > >>
> > >> (One disadvantage of using the bulletin board is that it could
> perpetuate
> > >> the UI chasm between on-line and off-line communication. In-class
> questions
> > >> are no more then small versions of out-of-class assignments, and the
> > >> interface should be as similar as possible. But that is a bigger
> problem,
> > >> one which permeates the XO, and deserves a separate discussion.)
> > >>
> > >> Homnq <http://wiki.laptop.org/go/User:Homunq > 08:12, 14 January 2008
> (EST)
> > >>
> > >>
> [edit<http://wiki.laptop.org/index.php?title=Software_ideas&action=edit&section=16
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > >> ] Classroom management
> > >>
> > >> Motivation and interest are the best ways to achieve engagement, but
> > >> social pressure and good examples are also a part of the picture, and
> these
> > >> are impossible without transparency. If there is no easy way for
> teachers
> > >> (or, for that matter, other students) to tell the difference between a
> > >> student who is working on the laptop, and one who is playing DOOM, bad
> > >> things happen.
> > >>
> > >> Intel/Microsoft's "Classmate" competitor is rumored to have tools for
> the
> > >> teacher to freeze or take over the student's laptop, "to guide them
> through
> > >> the interface". Regardless of whether this is a desirable relationship,
> it
> > >> would be hard to accomplish within the security model and memory
> constraints
> > >> of the XO.
> > >>
> > >> However, it would be good to have tools for all members of a shared
> > >> activity to see the current state and recent history of all other
> current
> > >> members. This protects privacy (after all, you can just quit the shared
> > >> activity for privacy) while creating transparency. For it to be useful,
> it
> > >> has to be simple and fast. Useful things to see are which activities
> have
> > >> been used, and whether out-of-band communication has happened, over the
> last
> > >> minute.
> > >>
> > >> _______________________________________________
> > >> Devel mailing list
> > >> Devel at lists.laptop.org
> > >> http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/devel
> > >>
> > >>
> > >
> > _______________________________________________
> >
> > Devel mailing list
> >
> > Devel at lists.laptop.org
> >
> > http://lists.laptop.org/listinfo/devel
> >
> >
> >
>
>
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>

--
Edward Cherlin
Earth Treasury: End Poverty at a Profit
http://www.EarthTreasury.org/
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay

```