Steps to Efficient and Effective Math Blog Posts
Today was the 10th day of class for my Grade 9 Applied students and we’re starting to get into a bit of a flow with our iPad iOS Productivity. Rather than having to take the time to model every step on the iPad for a particular task, more students are becoming very comfortable with the multi-tasking or “App Smashing” that we do on a daily basis. Although we have only managed to get a few math blog posts up, students are becoming more comfortable with the process of taking a task and posting to their individual student blogs. We still have a way to go before the quality of the student blog posts are at the standard I had envisioned when the idea of student blogs in math first came about, but I’m happy that their iPad workflow ability seems to be improving.
How Do You Blog Efficiently and Effectively in Math?
I’ve had quite a few people ask me about what blogging in math class looks like. I recently created a quick student blog setup guide for the Blogger platform, but never quite modelled what I wanted to see my students posting. So let’s get to it!
1. Students Take Screenshots or Photos of a Completed Math Task
To keep things simple, students are completing math tasks in the GoodNotes iPad Annotation App and then taking a screenshot of their work by simultaneously tapping the Home + Power buttons on the iPad. This step could be easily modified to include tasks completed on lined paper by simply taking a photo of the task with the iPad.
2. Crop Your Math Task Image
Although this step is not necessary, it is always a best practice to have the math task cropped to eliminate any unwanted details such as portions of a different math task, toolbars from an iPad app or other distractions. You can do this in the iPad Photos app.
3. Create a New Post
Students should tap on the blogging app of their choice. Since my students are using Blogger this year, they would login to the Blogger app with their Google Apps for Education account and create a new post. For the first few weeks, I have been providing students with the Post Title such as:
Sec. 1.3 – Area of Composite Figures
and Labels such as:
Unit 1, Sec. 1.3, Area, Composite Figures, Level ___
Note that the Level ____ label is a self-assessment where the student has the opportunity to essentially tag their post with how they feel about the topic. In Ontario, we use Levels 1 (weak) to 4 (strong).
4. Insert Math Task Image and Communicate Understanding
Students can then tap on the Post Content area of the iPad screen to insert the screenshot of their math task and then provide a description of the work they have completed.
Edit: October 12th, 2013
Please keep in mind that this is only the beginning. A student blog can be used as a place for posting work for the world, but consider the great things we can do once students build confidence and can begin providing descriptive feedback for their peers. Learn more about how I want this project to evolve here: Redefining Digital Learning in Mathematics.
Get Your Kids Blogging and Join the Mathlete Blogs Network
Blogging in Math Class is a great alternative to math journaling and what better way to give students an opportunity to share their understanding with the world. If you’re interested in getting your kids blogging through Blogger, WordPress, KidBlogs or any other option, we’d love to get them connected with others through my new Math Student Blogging Community. Whether your students will be blogging once a week or once a month, we’re hoping to get kids commenting and providing feedback for each other.
Have your students submit their blog details and I’ll get them imported into the database within a day in most cases.
Good luck as you get started and feel free to leave a comment if you need a hand!