Aug 13

Factors + Dancing

This is a mesmerizing visualization of the prime factorization of the natural numbers. If you go to Stephen Von Worley’s site Data Pointed you get the full experience along with the ability to pause and skip forward and back. It would be very interesting to give these diagrams to students and see if they could produce a next in series diagram. If they could do that, the diagrams could be used as a way to introduce primes and prime factorizations.

Factor Diagram

I stumbled on it via Teq another great blog.

Jul 13

Relationships and Education

There isn’t much of an argument here, but I love this talk. It echoes my basic sentiment about education: relationships matter. Whether you are using tech or chalk, classic or reform mathematics find and nurture those relationships. Why? Can I get away with “it just feels right”?

Jul 13

Building Estimation Skills

Estimation 180 is a great site for building estimation skill. I can see using this at the beginning of class to stimulate thought. Best of all the site works great on mobile devices.


Jul 13

Launch Your Own School (for free)

This is crazy. There are no shortage of sites that let you set up and manage a class online for free. Eduongo is a site that lets you set up and manage your own SCHOOL. Imagine opening your own school being as easy as starting a blog. I have no idea how good Eduongo’s platform is, but it is a clear continuation of a trajectory of digital education. It is only a matter of time before there are others. I’m not sure whether to be excited or afraid? Check out their promo video below.

Jul 13

Math Vocabulary

One thing that I notice is particularly hard to impart in my online classes is mathematical vocabulary. My online students can be very technically proficient in key skills without being able to talk about them very well. I always notice this when they come in for office hours and we’re talking about a particular problem. I’ve been brainstorming different ways to develop vocabulary remotely. Here is my latest. I’m not sure what the name for these are. (Guessing: pictogram?) But we’ve all seen these in different games. You have a series of pictures indicating a word. See if you can guess these? And let me know what you think of the exercise.



Jun 13

Great Video Sources for Math

Free Technology for Teachers has put together a nice list of video resources for math teachers. You’ll see a couple like Numberfile that I link to often.

May 13

Dictionary of Numbers

I will always remember reading the book Cadillac Desert. It was the first book that I read that was vividly able to contextualize really large numbers. Seeing this awesome new chrome extension reminded me of that experience. The Dictonary of Numbers will take any number you find on the internet and do exactly that for you: contextualize it. Check out the video.

I found this extension via my favorite tech tools blog: Free Technology for Teachers

May 13

MyScript Calculator

my script calculator

I recently downloaded the MyScript Calculator app. Some of you may have seen it on one of the iPhone commercials. It is the app that you write an expression and it recognizes the expression and typesets it perfectly. At least that is the way it works in the commercial. I think I suffer from fat fingers and poor handwriting because it doesn’t work quite as well for me. The idea is fantastic though, particularly for more complex expressions like CodeCogsEqn (13) that are easy to write, but hard to enter into your regular scientific calculator. Here is how it is supposed to work.

I hope the recognition improves. And it is free so I really shouldn’t be complaining at all. Here is the download link for iOS and android. Give it a try.

Apr 13

Exponent Mistakes

exponent mistakes
Anyone who has ever taught exponents has run into these type of mistakes on student papers. I ran into this great blog post by a teacher, Michael Pershan, that tried to figure out where these mistakes come from and what triggers them. The post is short, but really interesting. The blog is Rational Expressions.

Apr 13

The App I’ve been waiting for…

dragon box
There are a ton of great mobile apps that are beautiful, smart, and addictive that teach arithmetic and number sense. What I’ve been waiting for is an app do the same thing for algebra. Dragon Box is the first. It doesn’t handle the whole curriculum. It is really just focused on solving linear (and basic rational equations), but when you start one would never even know it. That is what is so awesome about it. It starts much like any other mobile game with some tutorials on the game’s dynamics. There are no x’s, no numbers anywhere. Slowly as you make it through the levels, the moves you make in the game start to be recognizable as the manipulations one does to solve equations, and the objects start to become numeric, and at the very end the variables start to appear. It is extremely well done. I encourage anyone interested in gamification or mobile ed to check it out. It’s a little expensive at $6, but for the first of its kind, it is worth it. I don’t regret buying it. I also hope WeWantToKnow is hard at work on other algebra games.