App of the Week: GeoGebra

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In this weekly blog, our own Emily Jeanes will be giving readers the lowdown on web apps that educators can use inside Haiku Learning. Emily is the very first Haiku Learning Sales Engineer. Edtech ninja, sci-fi writer, and proud transfer from our award-winning Client Services team, she brings with her a passion for researching, playing with and integrating awesome educational tools into Haiku Learning. Like Haiku Learning, she likes to think she plays well with others.

What is GeoGebra?

From their site: "GeoGebra is dynamic mathematics software for all levels of education that brings together geometry, algebra, spreadsheets, graphing, statistics and calculus in one easy-to-use package." From interactive diagrams, activities and worksheets, to complex (gorgeous!) mathematical simulations, GeoGebra brings math and science to life.

In Haiku Learning: GeoGebra offers a simple, yet fully interactive display of a simulation, worksheet, or graph of your choosing–along with a well-sized SSL embed for any resource you can get your hands on. Teachers can choose the size, enable zooming/dragging, and even choose their widget's border color.

Above is an example of a GeoGebra animation. You can select the play button in the bottom left to see the animations or use the sliders in the bottom left. Credit: "Ferris Wheel Carnival Slider" by elmadmongoose is licensed under CC-BY-SA.


GeoGebra embedded into Haiku Learning
Here's what that same GeoGebra animation looks like embedded into Haiku Learning. Credit: "Ferris Wheel Carnival Slider" by elmadmongoose is licensed under CC-BY-SA.

How do I get the embed code?

Create or select any existing GeoGebra resource to find the view, embed, and download options. From there, just select the Embed option, and copy the default HTML embed code they offer. It's that quick and painless.

Why should I try it?

Sometimes math + technology = hard, but complex math was one of the original catalysts for building computers in the first place! GeoGebra carries on that tradition by giving mathematical simulations a strong, interactive, visual presence on the web.

I love GeoGebra's huge inventory of already-created simulations and activities that are both visually and intellectually engaging, their easy-to-find embed and upload options, and their community of teachers and students. You can surf through their inventory without even creating an account.

And you know what? It's really fun. I'd write more, but I got distracted looking through their awesome Featured Materials!

For Haiku Learning customers: Are you already using GeoGebra in your class? Share how you're using it in our Community Forum!

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Question of the Week: How Can I Differentiate Instruction Using Haiku Learning Assessments? Part 1

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Teachers often struggle with creating assessments for students with different learning needs and styles. However, Haiku Learning gives teachers options that make it easier to create multiple versions of assessments, so you can appeal to those different needs.

Today we’ll focus on the settings you have in Haiku Learning to vary your assessments. Next week in Part 2 of this blog post, we’ll focus on how to integrate audio and visual elements into assessments for further differentiation.

Get familiar with "Save As"

“Save As” will be your best friend when it comes to differentiating your assessments. Create the first version of an assessment, and then use “Save As” to create multiple copies of the same assessment. Then, make the necessary tweaks to those other copies, such as modifying questions, adjusting the number of allowed attempts, or extending the time limit based on a student's IEP.

Use passwords to create individualized assessments

When you create alternate versions of an assessment, you can make those versions restricted, requiring a password. Give just those students the password, so only they can see and access the modified assessment.

Adjust number of attempts and time limits

You can adjust the number of times that students can take an assessment, as well as the amount of time they have when they take it. Students who know the content can prove their mastery quickly. Students who need more time can go back and review the content they learned and then retake the assessment until they prove their mastery.

Vary by roster sections

Maybe you teach several sections of the same class, but one section is slightly ahead or behind the other, or one seems to be struggling more with certain concepts than the other. You can create different assessments for different sections of your class, or create different open/close dates on the same assessment for different sections of your class.

But there's more!

Now you know some of the settings available at your disposal to begin differentiating your assessments. You can read more about them in our Knowledgebase. Next week, we’ll discuss how to integrate audio and visual elements into assessments to make them more appealing and engaging to students.

For Haiku Learning customers: Do you have any unique examples of differentiating instruction using assessments in Haiku Learning? Please share your examples with us in our customer forum! With your permission, we'd love to feature them in our blog so others can learn from you.

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EdTech Weekly News Roundup - Feb. 27, 2015

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Being an educator means you probably have very little time to read the news during the week. Here are some interesting edtech articles from this past week that you might find useful.

"Should Students Have a Role in Professional Development?" – Edutopia

Several examples of students playing a role in teacher PD are presented here. It runs the gamut from including students in discussions on driving student engagement to learning how students use technology outside the classroom and bringing that inside the classroom.

"Steps to Create the Conditions for Deep, Rigorous, Applied Learning" – Mindshift

A group of schools that calls itself the Deeper Learning Network has systemized what it believes are the core qualities of "deep learning". They are captured in an interesting infographic at the link above. In addition, they’ve created a planning guide to help educators implement and run this model.

"How AltSchool Blends Old-Fashioned Learning with New Technology" – edSurge

If you’re not already familiar with AltSchool, it’s a $20,000/year K-12 school with millions in venture funding from Silicon Valley. The author of the article visited one of AltSchool’s four micro-schools. She found that some of their success is attributed to factors other than expensive equipment and software and that other districts could learn from some of what AltSchool is doing: a combination of small learning communities, project-based learning, and personalized learning for teachers and students.

"How Teachers Will Change the Future of Tech" – Edudemic

This article offers teachers three different ways they can take control of technology in the classroom and the effects that can have on their students and beyond. It’s divided into three parts: Teacher Tech Enthusiasm Can Change the Course of Tech Development; Getting Started: Tools for Technophobic Teachers; and Taking Technology Outside the Computer Lab.

"10 Things Students Should Know About Tech by Fifth Grade" – THE Journal

This is written by an instructional technologist in a K-12 district and it's intended for the parents at her school. Some of the “things” include digital citizenship, troubleshooting technology, and collaborating using technology.

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App of the Week: Coggle

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In this weekly blog, our own Emily Jeanes will be giving readers the lowdown on web apps that educators can use inside Haiku Learning. Emily is the very first Haiku Learning Sales Engineer. Edtech ninja, sci-fi writer, and proud transfer from our award-winning Client Services team, she brings with her a passion for researching, playing with and integrating awesome educational tools into Haiku Learning. Like Haiku Learning, she likes to think she plays well with others.

What is Coggle?

From their site: "Coggle is about redefining the way documents work: the way we share and store knowledge. It's a space for thoughts that works the way that people do — not in the rigid ways of computers." It's a web-based freeware program for mind-mapping, time-lining, and structuring documents organically, like a beautiful tree.

In Haiku: Coggle embeds into Haiku Learning like a pro, defaulting to SSL embeds. Yay! You can right-click and zoom in and out, or just click and drag to move your way across the Coggle easily. They look beautiful, and simple, and fit into the Haiku Learning design aesthetic, too. And hey, you can even store your Coggles in Google Drive!

  • Website: https://coggle.it
  • Price: Free
  • HTTPS Option? Yes, by default
  • Account Required? Yes

family tree in coggle
Here's one example of mapping relationships using Coggle.

How do I get the embed code?

Coggle has created a great how-to article on embedding your rad Coggles, but finding the code is intuitive and simple. Click on the "Share this Coggle Publicly" icon, then copy the iframe provided. Their links allow your co-conspirators to see an embedded Coggle without needing an account, but you can also create organizations, share with individuals, and other great options.

Why should I try it?

Coggle doesn't just represent your flow of information. It gives you a way to manipulate it, build it, create and move things around. It fosters new ideas, not just displays them. I used Coggle to build a rough organizational chart for Client Services here at Haiku Learning, and the drag-and-drop beauty of it helped break down hierarchical barriers and open things up to the what-if.

Plus, Coggle is organic, simple, and beautiful. Adding branches is as easy as clicking anywhere on your Coggle and choosing your color. Then just hold Alt and click to delete a branch. Love those hot keys!

Overall, Coggle is a mind-mapper's dream: pleasing colors, the satisfying ability to drag branches to move or reshape them into any curve or sway you need, and more advanced options like robust version history, markdown text support, and image uploads.

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Question of the Week: How Can I Suggest New Features to Haiku Learning?

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Whenever we visit schools using Haiku Learning, see customers at trade shows, or speak to customers on the phone, the conversation oftentimes ends like this: “You know what what you guys should do...”

That sentence almost always ends with an idea for a new feature. And since we want to make sure that we keep building a tool that delivers the experience our customers expect and love, we have a place that customers can go to suggest new features.

It is our online user forum. This forum is where we

  1. track new feature requests and

  2. gather feedback from our users on which requests are most important to our community.

Some of our customers are familiar with it and use it often! Others don't know about it or forget that it's there, so we want to make sure everyone is aware of our user forum.

It really is the best place for customers to place that thought that begins with “You know what you guys should do?” In addition, someone else may have already had that idea, so you can vote for that request or comment further on it.

Yes, we look at the requests!

We monitor this forum every day, and it influences our development plans. We also get really excited about it every Fall as we prepare for our annual company retreat. We take a few days each November to gather our team and plan our roadmap for the coming year. Your feature requests are a huge part of that conversation.

In fact…we just released a new feature that came as a result of a user request! We'll be posting a blog about it later this week, so stay tuned! It’s a great story of educators and an edtech company working together to drive innovation.

Getting started on the forum

To get started, you need to sign in to the user forum. Click the Sign In button in the top right corner and enter your email address and name. You will be sent a confirmation email with a link you can use to create a password to secure your account and set your notifications preferences. Once you have logged in, you can vote and comment on existing feature requests or create your own.

Vote for a request

To vote for a request, click the Vote button for that request and choose 1, 2 or 3 votes. You only get a total of 10 votes, so use them wisely. The number of votes for a request tells us how many users are interested in a feature. The features with the most votes also show up on the front page of the forum, so more people can see them and add their support.

user forum screenshot
You can vote, comment, and see what the status is of a request.

Comment on a request

Join the conversation about a feature you'd love to see added to Haiku Learning. Click on the title of a request, and the page that loads will show all the comments the request has received. Use the comment box to add your ideas for how this feature would improve your class, how you would like to see it implemented, or just to voice your support (in addition to your votes). Our team keeps track of these comments and will often join the conversation to ask questions and update interested users on the status of a new feature.

Make a new request

Have an idea for a new feature that isn't already on the forum? Use the Suggestion Box on the front page of the forum to search for similar ideas. If you can't find anything similar, use the Create New Idea button to add yours.

Tip: Make sure you give a good title and a thorough description so that other users can find your request and add their support. You'll need at least one vote to create a new feature request.

Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas and keep 'em coming!

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