Using ShowMe to Develop Student Created Math Tutorials

This guest post is written by Kelly Wroblewski, a High School Math Teacher in Austin, TX. She and her coworker and fellow teacher William Kiker assigned a fantastic class project to their students, resulting an an entire website of support materials for their Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus classes. Check out the website here. 

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This past semester, William Kiker and I (Kelly Wroblewski) applied to be part of a pilot iPad program at our high school.  As members of a small project based  learning community within Austin High School in Austin, TX, we latched on to the ShowMe app pretty quickly.  Some of our students use the Khan Academy website as a resource to supplement in-class instruction, but some topics were either unavailable or were not tailored to our courses or textbooks.  Mr. Kiker and I determined we could use the ShowMe app to create videos similar to those found on the Khan Academy website, but specific to our courses at Austin High. Rather than having students hear their teachers yet again in video, we decided to design a project where the students create the instructional materials.  Since we were implementing this project towards the end of the school year, it provided the opportunity for students to review for the upcoming state exam or reflect upon a specific topic from the school year, depending on the needs for that course.

This project required that students create a short instructional video supplemented by a video guide document to lead the viewer through the content and a quiz to assess the viewer’s knowledge over the skills that were taught in the video.  The topics ranged widely from specific objectives from the state exam to specific Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus concepts.  Though the concepts were quite specific, it was interesting to observe the unique ways in which the students decided to present the topics in their videos.  Using ShowMe as a medium allowed for creativity and individuality while still guiding students to accomplish the overarching video creation task.  What we have compiled as a result of student submissions is our significantly more customized AHS Academy website where students can go for Austin High specific assistance with their math courses.

Overall, this project was a great learning experience for all involved, especially the teachers.  Mr. Kiker and I will be implementing version three of this project next school year in the hopes of expanding and improving upon the current content.  For more information on this topic, or to provide feedback regarding the website, please email me at kwroblew@austinisd.org or Mr. Kiker at william.kiker@austinisd.org.

Announcing ShowMe 3.0!

We are so excited to announce the release of the newest version of ShowMe! In this version it becomes easier than ever before to follow new people, discover great content, and watch ShowMes easily.

Big Changes:

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  • The Look: Unlike older versions, We now have 3 columns at the top of the page. Activity, Explore and My ShowMes.
  • Create an Account: When you create a new account we now ask that you follow at least one topic. New users automatically follow a few of our favorite users so you can see awesome content in your activity feed from day one.
  • Facebook Integration: You can now add ShowMe to your Facebook timeline! Let your friends know when you create a new ShowMe or like a lesson.
  • Easier to upload and add topics: It is now easier than ever to share your ShowMes publicly and include topics!
The Look:

There are now three different sections in ShowMe. Activity, Explore and My ShowMes. You can always create a ShowMe by selecting the button in the top right corner of the app. You can edit your profile or log out of your account by selecting your name in the top left corner of the app.

Activity: The activity page lists the most recent activity taken by the people you follow on ShowMe. You’ll know if someone you follow creates a new ShowMe or likes another user’s lesson.

Explore: This is where Search is permanently located. You can also peruse Featured ShowMes and Featured Users, chosen for their exceptional content, by our staff. Or you can click on a topic image to browse what that topic has to offer.

My ShowMes: This page is where all of your ShowMes (on iPad and uploaded to web) are located. On the top of the page you can edit your profile description. Above your ShowMes you will several options. You can view ShowMes on your iPad, on the web and manage them by uploading or sharing with others. You can see the people you follow, the topics you follow and ShowMe’s you’ve liked in the past.

Create an Account:
Now when creating an account you are asked to follow a few topics. With this information we compile a list of stand-out users that create awesome content for you to follow! You can also create an account using information from facebook or twitter.

Optional Facebook Integration:
Now you can automatically share ShowMes you’ve recently watched or created on your Facebook timeline. The first time you login it will ask you if you’d like to integrate. If you are interested in integrating later, simply login to your account on the website (not the app), hover over you name and select “settings”. There you will see the option to activate ShowMe integration on your timeline!

Easier to Upload ShowMes and Add Topics:
We’ve made it easier to add topics with topic buttons listed for some more popular topic choices. After you create a ShowMe you are automatically sent to upload, making the process more streamlined. To share a ShowMe to twitter or facebook simply click the their corresponding gray icon. To upload the ShowMe privately, simply click the small lock on the left side of the box.

After you update the app, let us know how you like it by sharing ideas, feedback, or questions!

ShowMe 101, The Basic Steps to Begin Creating!

So you’ve downloaded the app, created an account and you’re ready to create your first ShowMe? Awesome! Here are the basic steps to create a ShowMe, upload and share your lesson.

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Pro Tips before we begin:
1. Always speak clearly!
2. Always be writing! (Just listening to voice can be dull)
3. Try to keep your ShowMe short and concise. We find the sweet spot typically ranges from 2-6 minutes.

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Let’s get started:
1. Open the app and hit “Create” in the bottom left corner of the screen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  This is the Create page. Here you will see all the tools you can use. You can add images, use various color markers, undo, clear screen and erase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. If you want to add an image, you can do this by selecting the add image icon (it looks like a landscape scene) You have the option to add images from the web, add images from your ipad, or take a photo for the ShowMe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. You can prepare the screen before you create by adding images or text. When you are ready, hit the record button. Make sure to speak clearly! The bottom center of the page has a timestamp so you know how long you’ve been recording (and how long your ShowMe will be.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.  Click pause when you need to take a break to add more images, collect your thoughts or go to a quieter room. You can guarantee that your ShowMe has paused because there will be a pause icon next to your timestamp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. When you are finished with your ShowMe click “Done” located in the top left corner of your screen. Now you can Title your ShowMe, pick something clear and informative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. After you save your ShowMe it will replay for you to watch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. If you made a mistake at the beginning or end of your ShowMe you can Trim to shorten by using the trim tool at the top of the page. Once you are satisfied with your ShowMe it is now time to upload! Select the cloud icon to begin the upload process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Once you select the upload icon you will have the option to share your ShowMe Publicly (“World”) or Privately. We suggest uploading publicly so you can share your knowledge with our entire community!

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. To share your ShowMe give it a description and add topics. Topics allow your ShowMe to appear more often and more accurately in search results! Click “Finish” to upload.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.  Once it’s uploaded you can Share your ShowMe via twitter, Facebook and email! You can also copy the URL to share anywhere else you’d like!

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’re all finished! Now the entire ShowMe community can learn from your lesson!

Click here for tips to make your ShowMe Stand Out!

Still have questions? Click here for our FAQ page.

 

A Great Tool for Graphing

WARNING: Math-related content! Handle with care!..

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My math teacher in high school was really good at drawing figures and graphs. He could draw a circle almost perfectly with only one move. Though my drawing is good, I am not as good as him. Especially, I have a hard time when it comes to drawing accurate graphs in the class. By the time I started suspecting if a ruler might help, I discovered this website; GraphSketch.com.

It is extremely handy if you teach how to graph functions. You can use this website to draw your graphs accurately for hard-copy worksheets, or to draw your graphs while teaching, or to have images of the graphs for your ShowMe’s.

Introduction first:

When you go to the website, what you see is a coordinate plane. If you scroll down, you see the parameters. Here, you can type up to 6 functions, each graphed with a different color, adjust the size of the coordinate plane, display the numbers on the axes according to your choice, adjust the thickness of the graph, and even the size of the image!.. I can write a long paragraph for each setting, but it is always the best when you explore yourself.

At the bottom of the page, you may see the table for assistance on how to write certain type of functions. This is really helpful as the website doesn’t have a tool to type mathematical symbols, like the powers or the square roots, etc.

And the best part is, you can either save your graph, or get a “permanent link”. To save your graph as an image, click on the link just under the coordinate plane, and then save the image as usual. To get a permanent link, just right click on the “permanent link to this graph page” and click on “copy link location”. Then you can share the graph by sending this link via e-mail or pasting it to your website, etc.

I really enjoyed using Graphsketch in teaching graphs of radical functions. I no longer draw graphs with color pens on the board, which actually are ‘sketches’ rather than accurate graphs. I can graph several functions in Graphsketch, but “three is a crowd” in my manually drawn graphs. Moreover, I save time; typing the function is all that I have to do. And here is how I used this amazing yet simple tool in my ShowMe. You can compare my manually drawn graphs to the ones drawn with Graphsketch.

My students also liked the website. Actually, it is a good way for them to discover the nature of the graphs of functions. They can start with a parent function ( y = √x, in my case), and then insert numbers and four operations to realize the graphing process, understand the transformations, or compare the graphs of different functions, etc.

If I was asked to improve it, I would add “percentage” option for changing the size of the image. This is a good option if you want to change the size but keep the scale of width and height of the image. Also, I’d like it to draw graphs of implicit functions, as well, but I think this option is way too harder to add than the percentage option.

For the ones who dare to read this article until here, feel the relief; it is over. Thanks for your patience.

How-To: Download, Delete or Edit your uploaded ShowMes.

Would you like to download your ShowMe into an .mp4 file to watch offline or burn to a CD? Or maybe you accidentally uploaded a ShowMe and you would like to edit the title or delete it all together. It is very easy to do these things on the website! Here’s how:

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1. Login to your account on ShowMe.com. (Currently you can’t do this on the app.)
2. After logging in you will see your name in the top right corner of the screen. Hover your cursor over your name and then click “Edit ShowMes”
3. From here you will have the option to download, edit, or delete your ShowMe!

HowTo: Add a ShowMe.com Tile to your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch Homescreen

Many teachers have told me their students watch ShowMes on their iPods and iPhones using the Safari browser to access ShowMe.com. Did you know you can save webpages you open in Safari directly to the tiles on the home screen of your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch as if they were apps? You can watch any ShowMe on the iPad app, but this is a really easy way for to access ShowMe on an iPod or iPhone!

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Simply open the webpage you would like to save in Safari. Then select the share button. This will give you a list of ways to share the webpage. Select “Add to Homescreen.” You will have the ability to customize the title of the tile. Simply select “Add” and you’re all done!

For Android: 
This can also be done on an android phone or tablet! Thank you for this tutorial from androidcentral.com!

  1. Launch the browser
  2. Bookmark the page you want
  3. Press Menu then select Bookmarks
  4. Long press any bookmark and click Add Shortcut to Homescreen

This will place an icon on your home screen allowing you to tap that and launch which ever site you had bookmarked.  You also can do it in reverse: Long-press on your homescreen and add the bookmark that way.

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