Atomic Jolt recorded webinars.

UpThink Consulting

By Micah Murdock, CEO of UpThink Consulting and Associate Director of Online Learning at University of Utah

Timestamped Outline

  • 0:00 Introduction
  • 1:26 What is UpThink Consulting?
  • 5:44 What is the future of higher ed?
  • 17:22 Practical suggestions for here and now
  • 27:01 Using Course Templates (in Canvas)
  • 35:49 External Tool worth knowing about

What is UpThink Consulting?

UpThink primarily focuses on three areas of service:

  • Canvas onboarding and training
  • Instructional design for distance, online and live courses
  • EdTech Adoption Strategies in the classrom

What is the future of higher ed?

  • We are not “going back”
  • Ripe for disruption
  • Technology is the driver (as always)
  • Trends toward industry directed edcuation

Practical suggestions for here and now

  • Do the best you can
  • Take advantage of the support that is available
  • Zoom classes are not online classes
  • Over communicate
  • No, they won’t just “figure it out”
  • Design with consistency
    • Theme and Variation
    • Bounded Choice

Using Course Templates

Designers/Teacher/Faculty

  • Use a simple clean homepage
  • Simplify the navigation
  • Let the features in Canvas do their job
    • Due dates
    • Syllabus
    • Modules
    • Speedgrader

Designers/Admin

  • Develop a template import strategy
  • Don’t try to control everything
  • Get some faculty input
  • Get lots of student input
  • Pick your integrations carefully then hold your ground

External Tools worth knowing about

  • Atomic Apps – Search, Discussion, Polls and Assessments
  • Cidi Labs – Design Plus
  • Pronto
  • Yellowdig
  • Gradescope
  • Quizlet
  • Flipgrid
  • Canva
  • Padlet
  • H5P

Virtually

Presentation by Laura Marks, Head of Community

Overview

The Atomic Jolt team recently met with Laura, head of community at Virtually, a system to help manage live, online, cohort based learning. The goal of Virtually is to bring together business management (payments), learning management (event management, content resources, assignments), and student records (outcome tracking) under one platform. And – most importantly – save users time on mundane, back-end admin work so they can spend more time teaching and learning. We hope you find learning about Virtually as interesting and helpful as we did!

Timestamped Outline

  • 0:00 Introduction to Virtually
  • 3:27 Basic functionality
  • 8:17 What kinds of programs use Virtually and what is the benefit?
  • 8:38 Updates
  • 13:51 Creating sections from a cohort
  • 14:21 Payment information
  • 14:45 Upcoming student dashboard features
  • 15:27 Conclusion and Q&A

Narrative by Dani Morris

Purpose and Goal of Virtually

As online learning and cohort based learning started growing, the Virtually team realized there is no “one platform” to help manage live, online, cohort based learning programs. This was a problem they wanted to solve, so they created Virtually as an easy way for admins and instructors to manage their online courses and for students to navigate through.

Virtually is currently being used for bootcamps, accelerator courses, religious learning programs, extracurriculars, and more.

Integrations

Virtually integrates with Zoom, Gcal, Stripe, and Slack. A program may be using other tools, but the management of it is happening in Virtually.

Student and Class Management Made Easier

Virtually offers group posting as a way for learners to interact with their learning community and for teachers to update learners on important course information (these can also be sent out as an email as well). There is also a learner directory, where students can schedule one-on-one time with teachers and mentors or reach out to their coursemates.

As an admin you can invite students to courses, add admins to courses, and add recordings and slides to events. Further, users can also add and build assignments.

The biggest thing is being able to have one place where they can have a learner register for a course and automatically have access to content. They also want to help admin and teachers overcome the manual nature of sending events, outcome tracking, and attendance.

Virtually will flag students who have low attendance or late assignments so teachers can contact them. The goal of this is to simplify the process of intervening before students drop a course.

Future Updates

  • Admin dashboard – they want to give you a sense of their entire school/company/program, and then give you a sense of the schools themselves and then trickle down and give robust student data.
  • Earning summary (if integrate with Stripe) so you can see monthly total and see more specific info
  • Attendance tracking module
  • Student database, where users can tag students and can categorize learners. Useful because when you go to create events Virtually know who your students are so you don’t have to copy and paste student data from an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Analytics modules.
  • Enrollment function
  • Event creation dialogue is changing soon with an auto upload of recordings available with Zoom.

Conclusion

Virtually excels at working closely with their active users to fast track new features and updates.  For more information go to the Virtually website.

Yellowdig

Presentation by Tyler Rohrbaugh

Timestamps

In case you wanted to jump to points of interest in the video, here are some timestamps:

1:30 – Purpose of Yellowdig
15:58 – Basic functionality
28:09 – Best practices
30:51 – Community building
33:46 – Measuring engagement
43:22 – Onboarding and initial training

Overview

Authored by Rich Kingsford, Software Development Manager and Adjunct Instructor

The Yellowdig platform has some pretty impressive capabilities – all in the student engagement department. Their features integrate with popular learning management systems (LMSs) and ease the instructor’s maintenance burdens.

In summary, Yellowdig offers rich, asynchronous, discussion features; similar to those found on Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Youtube, and the hundreds of other popular social media tools out there. Except the Yellowdig environments are authored by instructors and instructional designers and, therefore, seem more intelligently targeted than 90% of what I see my students (and kids) sharing on social media and video platforms.

Yellowdig also helps instructors and instructional designers identify students who are posting but not engaging with their peers. Or students who initiate topics but then drop off. Or students who frontload or backlog their comments. Or high achieving students who drive engagements for others.

Here are a few claims about the results of using Yellowdig:

I love these objectives. The claims are pretty steep – let’s see if they stack up!

What is asychronous discussion?

Asynchronous discussion tools are new to a lot of us.  These allow two or more people to raise topics, comment on topics, link to resources, attach resources, and acknowledge/respond to comments using emojis (e.g. 😀😎💣🔥♥😆).  Modern tools have more capabilities than the classic forum features (where someone starts a topic and the comments go on and on for 100’s of pages). 

We’ve been enjoying face-to-face and other synchronous discussions for so many years – and they’re great!  I love being with my students, getting to know them, learning how they think, and feeling the joy that comes when they try or learn something new.  Asynchronous discussion tools, like Yellowdig, try to bring all the goodness of the synchronous methods while addressing some of the limitations (language barriers, physical distance, and other accessibility limitations).  Of course there are tradeoffs, but we don’t have to use solely one or the other.  As we explore Yellowdig’s features, keep the pros and cons of asynchronous and synchronous methods in mind.

Emoji-responses

Yellowdig’s most obvious feature is the classic thread-and-respond functionality.  This is wonderful functionality and many tools have this natively.  I really appreciated Yellowdig’s emoji-response capabilities.  They’re bold, flexible, and easy to use.  Students are naturally drawn to these and use them to quickly (one-click) respond to someone’s comment in highly creative and fun ways (acknowledge, agree, disagree, laugh, question, empathize, etc).  Have you ever worked hard on a comment and then wondered if anyone even glanced at it?  Emoji-responses decrease the frequency of this sad event. 

Subtle Point System

Many instructors and instructional designers are accustomed to traditional discussion boards and assign students to do the classic “one topic and two comments” participation assignments. If you do this, aren’t you also discouraging the students from discussing more? What percentage of the students will post only one topic and two comments? Yellowdig’s point system is more subtle – and I love it.

Yellowdig lets the author craft the period points and their implications on grades in highly flexible ways. Tyler explained how they’ll train instructors and instructional designers to craft point systems that offer a variety of ways to gain points, preserving student autonomy. I loved his explanation on how receiving points for others’ comments and reactions on your posts will incentivize students to get involved earlier in the week – discouraging procrastination. Grades and points have long since been used to encourage the behavior we want, but Yellowdig’s more subtle approach wipes out many of the perverse incentives we sometimes don’t see.

Rich Media

We all know students learn in different ways. Some prefer to draw or vocalize their thoughts rather than typing them out. Yellowdig’s Poll, Draw, Attach, Tagging (e.g. #branding), and Record Video features give plenty of variety. These make it a little more comfortable for students to step outside of their comfort zone!

Analytics

Yellowdigs analytics features are pretty powerful.  I see two primary sets of analytics: student-centered ones and content-centered ones. 

With student-centered analytics, I can easily visualize a bell curve showing average, low, and highly engaged students.  Maybe you can help the lows by teaming them up with the highs?  Or perhaps it’s better to put the highest performing students together so they can fly even higher?

With content-centered analytics, I can differentiate between high-consumption and low-consumption content (questions, videos, case studied, etc).  It hurts a little when I see low-consumption on some of my beautiful content, but at least I know where to put my energy now.

Conclusion

I’m a fan.  Very intelligently crafted. Yellowdig has a lot of well-designed, quality, features and they’re targeted right at what students need.  Online courses are tricky.  Face-to-face courses are tricky.  But using a wide variety of activities and tools, including Yellowdig, can ensure no minute in your course is wasted.  Well-designed asynchronous discussion tools, like Yellowdig, can help generate interest in your concepts and they can even spark fires (the good kind).  They can overcome location, language, and other accessibility challenges. 

Thanks Tyler and the Yellowdig team!

Atomic Assessment Tip: Creating Item Pools

What are item pools?

Authored by Tawny Hoskin

If you are familiar with Canvas quizzes, then the term “item bank” might ring a bell. This feature is not only high on the saving time list but is also an excellent way to discourage cheating.

Item Pools save time

Atomic Assessment is already set up so you can access all your questions/items across all your courses allowing you to access the same items to use in other courses or sections.

Once you author an item, you can then create a tag for the item. This tag will not only help you quickly locate the item, but also create an item pool to randomly select from.

Item Pools discourage cheating

You can author and create an unlimited number of items to be randomly selected for an exam or assignment. In addition to creating a large item pool, shuffling answers is an excellent strategy to mitigate cheating.

Desmos

Presentation by Eli Luberoff, Founder and CEO of Desmos and Meaghan Maguire, Director of Partnerships

Overview

Timestamped Outline

  • 0:00 Introductions
  • 1:00 LTI Versions
  • 1:22 Background on Desmos
  • 3:54 Initial Reception and Takeoff
  • 4:27 Focusing on Access, High-Stakes Assessments, and Curriculum
  • 5:50 Desmos Team
  • 6:15 Business Model
  • 7:44 Partnership Integration
  • 8:34 Demo
  • 20:13 Emergent Use Cases
  • 20:48 Custom Graph Components in Curriculum (internal for now)
  • 24:58 Statistics
  • 27:48 Accessibility
  • 30:14 More Emergent Use Cases – Making Music With Graphs
  • 31:26 Unique Benefits of Desmos
  • 33:50 Drag-and-Drop support in RCE for students
  • 37:40 Performance
  • 38:44 Thanks to Desmos

Authored by Kyle Hovey, Software Developer

We are currently going through a renaissance in education fueled by the ever-growing availability of capable computers and prominence of the web browser as a software platform. In STEM especially, concepts are commonly hard to grasp, let alone express. We are seeing an explosion of tools that allow both learners and educators to be more expressive with their academic experience. Perhaps even more importantly, these tools are decreasing the interval in the try/see feedback loop that is at the heart of learning.

If you visit a STEM tutor lab, you are sure to find many screens glowing with Desmos: a revolutionary online graphing calculator. At first glance, a graphing calculator may not seem so impressive, but that is why Desmos is so exciting. Gone are the days of learning the arcane dance necessary to communicate to your ancient and overpriced TI-84 (which runs the same Z80 processor as the original GameBoy™). With Desmos, you can effortlessly play around with concepts previously only accessible to calculator savants. Not only that, but Desmos offers a level of intractability never seen before in a math tool.

The Learning Feedback Loop

When learning a new concept, especially ones abstract as those found in the field of mathematics, learners will need to produce many versions of their own understanding before they find one that fits enough to generate their own ideas on the topic. A textbook provides a pre-processed concept that will not make sense to everyone, so efficient education must focus on the personal journey of each learner and their quest for true understanding.

There are many online graphing calculators these days, but none that afford the same ease and performance that Desmos offers. The simplicity of the tool means that students can rapidly ask questions, make experiments based on those questions, and get answers with profound intractability in their creations. Also, once these experiments have been created, they can be easily shared with a link that anyone with a web browser can use.

Features

What sets Desmos apart from other online graphing tools is the simplicity of the user experience, and the cohesive nature of each component you interact with. Being a purely two-dimensional graphing utility, the most atomic concept in Desmos is that of a function. The key abstraction is that any component of a function can be made interactive by assigning it to a variable, where it becomes a slider. You may also add points, which can be clicked and dragged on the screen. Equations can reference each other, which allows for and organization of concepts that is both convenient for creation and the subsequent parsing by fresh eyes trying to understand the concept.

Recently, Desmos added colors to the app in the form of hue-saturation-value variables that may be referenced in the style for any element in the graph. The hue, saturation, and value can all depend on any existing variable in the graph, making it immensely powerful for producing dynamic visualizations that react in real-time to the users’ actions.

Check out their What do you want to learn about today? resource that links to their FREE calculators, distance and classroom learning, activities, etc.

Desmos also offers amazing accessibility for their graphs. The toolkit now offers a way to listen to graphs so that visually-impaired learners and educators alike can use the tool.

Future

Desmos is showing no signs of slowing down, and is constantly improving their feature set. It will be exciting to see what will be made and shared with their creative platform in the future. What will you make?

Help! My grading burden is crushing me!

Authored by Rich Kingsford, Software Development Manager and Adjunct Instructor

    “Every semester, it seems like I have more and more tedious assignments and essays to grade. If I have to write one more red circle, I’m going to strangle someone.”
    I hear you… Grading is a time suck. Let’s explore a few ways to reduce your grading burden.

    Switch to self-grading

    The quickest way to lessen your grading burden is to identify those assignments which are most painful to create, and then replacing them.  

    For those areas and concepts that require memorization, Atomic Assessments has dozens of question types that can easily grade themselves.  How does zero maintenance sound? 

    For those concepts that need to be applied to real-life scenarios in order to be mastered, you might consider replacing large essay assignments with a series of smaller ones.  Written discussions might be even more effective than one person essays.  After all, it’s much harder for one person to break out of their own mindset or identify blind spots or gaps in their thinking.

    Modern discussion tools such as Slack, Trello, Microsoft Teams, and Atomic Discussions make discussion template management so easy, you can do it in your sleep (or on your phone while your kids are at the splash pad).

    Templates and hotstrings

    Grading templates and rubrics are pretty common, but are yours so flexible that you can grade a two-page essay in less than 30 seconds?  One way I do this is to list out the more common mistakes I see in a given essay and then list out the feedback in a template.  Then, I paste the template into the grading system for the student and manually check and erase any irrelevant feedback items.  Easy.  I can manually grade 20 students’ essays with high quality, personalized feedback (well… semi-personalized) in 15 minutes.  

    If you enjoy dabbling in programming, you might try hotstrings. A hot string is when you press one key or the beginnings of a phrase and then press spacebar and it replaces your text (string) with the defined value. For example, I might type “readabilityIssue” (no spaces) and then press spacebar and my hotstring would replace it with “I caught one or more readability issues in your argument.  Please see Writing Clearly, especially chapter 5.”  

    “Yeah… But then you have to remember 100 hotstrings”

    • The fastest hotstring tools (I like Autohotkey) list out your hot strings in an instant and let you press just a single letter.  Pretty cool, huh? If you want to explore using hotstrings, I even created a blog post to walk you through how to use Autohotkey to reduce your grading burden

    How do you reduce your grading burden in your classes?

    No Comments on Help! My grading burden is crushing me!

    I am so sick of grading papers… Automating part of your grading burden with hotstrings

    Authored by Rich Kingsford, Software Development Manager and Adjunct Instructor

    #cryForHelp

    I was first asked to adjunct a class in 2012 – I was very excited.  For about 5 minutes…until I discovered adjuncting involved mountains of grading.  Especially essay grading (blech!).  But the non-whiny part of me really wants to build my students’ writing and logic skills…  

    Sound familiar?  Today is your lucky day – I’m going to share some hotstrings with you.  I’ll even throw in some other simple macros.  After we’re done, you’re going to wish you could buy me a meal through DoorDash.

    Intro to hotstrings

    A hotstring is when you type in a short string (series of letters – or a word) and the string gets replaced with whatever other string you’d like.  

    Here’s my ‘mycell’ one:

    I love to set up hotstrings (and other macros) for grading statements.  Here are some grading hotstrings I recently used for a Finance class in my MBA program:

    • Q1.  Must mention EBIT volatility
    • Q3.  K-wacc = 9.41%
    • Q4.  NPV: $7.99.  PI: 1.7.  IRR: 22.6%

    You could make hotstrings like “q1, q2, or q3” and then the hotstring would erase your one string and replace it with another string.  Hint: a string is just a series of letters, like ‘asdf’ or ‘dog.’ 

    To use hotstrings, you first need to create a macro and then run your macro.  A macro is a set of instructions that tell your computer to run a process (e.g. replace ‘this string’ with ‘that string’).  My favorite hotstring or macro tool for Windows is Autohotkey.  For Macs, see how to setup hotstrings on a Mac.

    Your first hotstring (using Autohotkey)

    If you’d like to make your first Autohotkey script, here are some instructions:

    1. Install Autohotkey

    2. Copy the two lines below

    ::Vaguee::Some arguments are a little too general.  It’s good for the arguments to be brief, but they should be specific, insightful, and well defended.
    ::Unclearr::Some readability problems here.  Please reference the guidelines on this clear writing resource:  https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar/writing/10-tips-for-writing-clear-concise-sentences.htm

    3. Open Notepad

    4. Paste the two lines and save the file as whateverYouWant.ahk

    5. Double-click the Autohotkey file to make it run

    6. Type ‘vaguee’ (did it replace the word with your grading statement?)

    Cool huh?

    “Why did you spell ‘Vaguee’ and ‘Unclearr’ like that?”

    • So it wouldn’t mess me up when I type normally. 
    • Remember Jim’s prank on Dwight in The Office?  If not, here’s a youtube video on the topic.  Go ahead and watch it… I’ll wait.

    So… you actually use these?

    I do!  Especially when grading essays.

    Except I often use another method, that’s far easier to setup.  I just copy/paste whatever grading statements I want for the assignment and then just erase the irrelevant ones.  So if a paper was perfect, I’d erase all of them.  When I’m feeling especially motivated, I’d copy/paste the student’s statement right before my feedback. 

    A quick example: 

    “Here’s a dumb sentence a student write.”   Some grammar/sentence structure issues throughout. Suggest using GMAT practice exams to study up on proper grammar.  http://www.majortests.com/gmat/sentence_correction.php

    I use this method for my finance papers.  I’ll paste my statements again here:

    • Q1.  Must mention EBIT volatility
    • Q3.  K-wacc = 9.41%
    • Q4.  NPV: $7.99.  PI: 1.7.  IRR: 22.6%

    For essays, I used these grading statements (I used my second macro 👆 to navigate these): 

    The response contains too many details describing abstract concepts.  Be brief in describing concepts and do so only when explaining your response to the prompt question.

    Slightly breaches the length limit.  Specificity, thoroughness, clarity, and insightfulness are good, but should be done within the limit.

    A few too many facts from the case without original thought.  The focus should be on original insights in the context of case facts.  Case facts can also be used to illustrate or explain your thinking.

    Argument fails to adequately address the question

    Insufficient detail on some responses.  Arguments should be specific, insightful, and well defended.

    Some grammar/sentence structure issues throughout. Suggest using GMAT practice exams to study up on proper grammar.  http://www.majortests.com/gmat/sentence_correction.php

    Please include the questions as topic headers in future assignments

    Very good arguments.  Well articulated.  I had a hard time finding flaws in this essay.

    Use topic headers.  These help give the reader context and make it so he or she can interpret the content as fast and effortlessly as possible.

    Some arguments are a little too general.  It’s good for the arguments to be brief, but they should be specific, insightful, and well defended.

    Some readability problems here.  Please reference the guidelines on this clear writing resource:  https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/grammar/writing/10-tips-for-writing-clear-concise-sentences.html

    Conclusion

    I joked around in my intro, but I truly believe the best teachers preserve their energy and apply it to the highest priority activities.  Rarely is grading papers my highest priority activity… I’ll admit to some laziness and desire to minimize the time I spend grading papers, but I also care about my students and want, very deeply, to strengthen their logic and writing muscles.  Macros and hotstrings are fun and help me with all of this.

    Atomic Assessments: The Gridded Question Type

    Authored by Tawny Hoskin

    We love building quiz questions that are 1) self-graded, 2) interesting, and 3) are phone-friendly! Let me introduce you to the Gridded Question type – one of the 64 different item types in Atomic Assessments.

    The Gridded Question type has been developed based on the STAAR science assessments standards (Griddable Questions For Science), which use a type of open-ended question known as a griddable item.

    In this question type, students are presented with a grid of columns containing bubbles, with the numbers 0 to 9 in a vertical list underneath.

    The answer grids can include a fixed decimal point, or floating decimal points where the top bubble in each column contains the decimal point.

    Students enter their answer in the top input field by clicking (or “shading”) a numeral / decimal / plus / minus bubble underneath, or they can type directly inside the input field and the question will automatically “shade” the corresponding bubble in the column underneath.

    When to use it?

    The purpose of griddable items is to provide students with the opportunity to derive answers independently without being influenced by answer choices provided with the questions.

    This question type is not only ideal if you want to truly test student knowledge, but this question type is also graded automatically; no tedious, manual, grading required!

    How to use it?

    First, make sure Atomic Assessments is installed in your Canvas instance. If it is not, you can schedule a demo and get a free 30 day trial for this Canvas plugin. The Gridded Question can be found when you add a new item and navigate to the “Other” tab.

    Location of the Gridded Question Type

    This question type can be used in summative and formative assessments by embedding it into a Canvas page or in quiz form, both options have a wide variety of configuration options available (unscored options, response specific feedback, multiple attempts, penalty points, etc.).

    A gridded question type embedded into a Canvas page with 3 allowed attempts.

    We hope you enjoy creating assessments with Atomic Assessments!

    How do have you used or how do you plan to use the Gridded question type? Happy Gridding 🙂

    Harmonize

    Presented by Michael Hakkerinen

    Thank you to Michael Hakkarinen, Harmonize Success Coach at Harmonize for sharing a product demonstration with our team here at Atomic Jolt!  Harmonize has many rich media features that make it fun and easy for students to engage with classmates and course content.  I was especially impressed by the variety of content types (audio recordings, video recordings, annotated images, annotated videos, emojis, text and more).  Below are some highlights.  Thanks again, Michael!

    Timestamps

    In case you’d like to jump to a highlight in the video above, here are some highlight timestamps.

    • 1:20: Executive summary of Harmonize
    • 3:10: Basic functionality
    • 5:21: Detailed engagement on a post
    • 8:46: How an instructor creates a topic
    • 13:30: Some advanced features
    • 21:10: Zoom integrations (and other integrations)
    • 25:45: Upcoming features

    Purpose of Harmonize

    Authored by Rich Kingsford, Software Development Manager and Adjunct Instructor

    Harmonize boosts student engagement in the online or in-person classroom through asynchronous communication tools similar to popular social media platforms.  Harmonize integrates with popular Learning Management Systems (LMSs), including Blackboard, Brightspace, Canvas, and Moodle.  This integration makes Harmonize more accessible to students, teachers, and instructional designers (it can also decrease your set-up hassle too – Woohoo!).

    The Essence of Harmonize

    The essence of Harmonize, to me, was its peer-to-peer engagement tools.  I’ve seen a few tools that offer asynchronous discussion, but Harmonize’s tools seemed more intuitive, more attractive, and more accessible.  I loved the card concept, where instead of a standard text discussion they engage with a more visual card-style layout where there are images and reactions that are intuitive to students.  On the back of the card, there are more details and space for responses and comments. It’s designed to help students think of their own discussion questions and engage in their own way.

    Interface view highlighting the assignment and card layout.

    Rich Media

    This part impressed me the most.  Harmonize includes all the popular text-editing capabilities (dynamic links, tags, embedded images, styling, and drag-and-drop attachments) plus the ability for students and teachers to record audio and or video!  Straight from your phone or pre-recorded.  What’s more, students can annotate images and video (timestamps) without needing to use a separate tool.  “A picture says 1,000 words,” indeed!

    These images show the video and image annotation within Harmonize , allowing you to to drop time markers and add notes to help students.

    More Features

    A few additional features I could help but mention:

    • Native 1:1 and group chat, facilitating asynchronous & private conversation (student or teacher initiated). 
    • Student tagging, making it easier for students to get their team members’ attention.  
    • “Flag as question for the teacher” toggle on any post
    • Engagement analytics, including views, comments, responses – both on the positive and negative side, making it easier for the instructor to identify less-engaged students and possibly nudge them.
    • Online presence, making it easy to see who is online in the moment
    • Zoom integration, allowing you to create Zoom rooms without leaving the window and the ability to post recorded zoom sessions easily in the discussion to engage all members of the class (sidenote: I find it easier to just use a single, personal, web conferencing room the entire semester – I just bookmark and hotkey the room url).

    Conclusion

    Harmonize offers fantastic engagement capabilities for online, hybrid and face-to-face classes.  Even in my face-to-face courses, I’m using asynchronous discussion tools more often to engage students.  This  can help a shy or embarrassed student move out of their comfort zone and engage in richer conversations. Additionally, it can open the door to self-paced learning, allowing each student in the class to learn as much as they can as individuals. They facilitate organic mentorships – where one student helps another.  Harmonize is easy-to-use and accessible with a WCAG 2.1 Level A and AA rating. I’m especially impressed by their attention to detail on those small, often forgotten, challenges students and instructors face.

    You can learn more about Harmonize by attending a webinar or exploring their Best Practice Guide, eBooks, or Product Reviews.

    GeoGebra – Empowering Learners With Tools of Math Construction

    Presentation by Michael Borcherds, CTO at GeoGebra

    Overview

    Do you want to take your math instruction to the next level? Use GeoGebra to create endless interactive works and assessments that have the ability to give your students a true intuitive understanding of the topics in your curriculum. This is no simple online graphing calculator, but a powerful mathematical tool capable of expressing concepts as simple as the quadratic formula to more high-level ones such as Möbius transformations and non-Euclidean geometry with the same level of clarity.

    Timestamp outline

    Don’t have the time to watch the whole thing? Here are some highlights

    Authored by Kyle Hovey, Software Developer

    Diverse

    GeoGebra’s suite of tools can work with any math topic. Whether you are giving instruction on algebra, calculus, differential equations, statistics, or topology, GeoGebra will offer a formidable suite of tools to aide you in expressing concepts.

    Adaptive

    Constructions in GeoGebra are constraint-based, meaning that you can add certain qualities to your diagrams that must hold, and any remaining degrees of freedom are available for interactivity. For instance, you could create a parabola, a point on that parabola, and a line that goes through that point that is tangent to the parabola. The line is now fixed to the curve, but notice that nothing is specifying where the point must be on the curve. This means that you may move the point around and observe the consequences of the movement you impose.

    Instruction

    With GeoGebra Notes you can use a smart board, touch screen, or tablet to give a lecture on an overpowered whiteboard capable of adding graphics that you can annotate freely. If a student asks a question about something on the whiteboard, rather than re-drawing you could simply interact with the graph or include another one on the fly.

    Assessments

    With GeoGebra Classroom, you can leverage the power of custom interactive constructions in your assessments. Instead of assigning simple fill-in-the-blank style math assessments, you can have students interact with the problem and have GeoGebra determine the correctness of the answer. GeoGebra Classroom also lets you ask your whole class a question and see their responses in real-time as they interact with the problems.

    Conclusion

    Give GeoGebra a try in your classroom. It will quickly become your go-to resource for conveying mathematical topics in a clean and understandable fashion.