Friday, September 22, 2017

5 Free Resources for Math Teachers Using Chromebooks

One of the many questions that I received in my email this week came from a reader who wanted to know what some of my favorite resources for teaching math are. She added the stipulation that they needed to work on Chromebooks because her district just replaced old Windows computers in a lab with a Chromebook cart arrangement. Here are the suggestions that I shared.

Desmos is a free graphing calculator that you can use in your web browser on a Chromebook or any other computer using the Chrome browser. It is also available for mobile phones. Desmos has a robust website full of activities and lessons to use in your classroom. is a free online graphing utility that allows you to plot multiple functions through its dynamically re-sizing grid. To graph an equation on just click the "+" symbol to enter a new equation. One thing that isn't clear the first time you use is that you need to delete the existing default equations before you start.

GeoGebra Classic is the browser-based version of the popular GeoGebra software. For more than ten years teachers have used GeoGebra to teach graphing functions, probability, data analysis, and much more.

Math Vocabulary Cards is a free Chrome app designed for elementary school students. The app offers exactly what its name implies, a series of flashcards of mathematics vocabulary terms. Each card contains a term, a diagram, and a definition. By default the term is hidden and students have to guess the term based on the definition and diagram. Students can also use the cards with the definitions hidden and the terms revealed.

Geoboard is a free app on which students stretch virtual rubber bands over pegboards to create lines and shapes to learn about perimeter, area, and angles. The app is available as a Chrome app. It can also be used directly in any modern web browser. The browser-based version can be found here.

ClassTag Helps You Streamline Communication and Reach More Parents

From SMS to email to old fashioned paper notes there are plenty of ways to send classroom updates to parents. There is one service that covers all three options in a streamlined manner for you. That service is ClassTag. ClassTag lets you send on-demand (anytime you choose) and weekly summaries to parents. Weekly summaries can include notes from you, pictures, event dates, and any other information that you want to share with parents.

The neat thing about ClassTag is that it automatically records for you who hasn't read your updates. With that information you can resend a weekly summary or print a copy of the summary to send home with your students.

Earlier this month ClassTag published a video featuring a first-grade teacher who is using ClassTag. Take a few minutes to watch the video and learn how ClassTag could help you reach more parents this year.

Advertising and What YouTube Knows About You

We've all had the annoying experience of going to show a YouTube video in a classroom or to a friend only to have an advertisement play for five, ten, or thirty seconds before you can actually watch the video. How does YouTube know which ads to show to you? That's partly based on your viewing habits and the channels to which you subscribe. It's also partly based on what advertisers are willing to pay to appear on a video. That process happens in less than a second. Learn more about YouTube advertising and how much a video earns by watching the following CGP Grey video.

Applications for Education
Many students happily click from one video to the next (YouTube says that average user watches 40 minutes of video per day on a mobile phone) without thinking about the digital footprint that is left behind. Ask your students to think about the advertisements they see and how they get there. Then show them CGP Grey's video. They might be surprised by what YouTube knows about them.

You can avoid much of the video viewing habits tracking by watching YouTube without signing into your Google account and by using an incognito browser window.