In my role as a special education inclusion teacher, my Math co-teachers have shared with me
two barriers to implementing more technology in the Math classroom. One common issue is
when certain things cannot be done digitally, with the technology we have, such as having the
students graph on the computer. The other common issue is that creating Math assignments,
quizzes, or activities in digital form takes an inordinate amount of time.
This week, I stumbled upon something in technology that Math teachers are ecstatic about. It
is something that will make their lives as Math teachers easier. It will save them time, as it
allows you to create digital Math problems and formulas so much quicker. The piece of
technology of which I speak is a Google Chrome extension called EquatIO. It will also benefit
any teachers who have a need to type up equations or formulas, such as for Science or
Engineering. A bonus of EquatIO is that it is free for teachers! It must be purchased for
students, but the website says the pricing for school districts is as little as $1 per user.
This extension allows the user to type from a keyboard, but there are three features to use,
that save so much time. First, is the ability to handwrite on a touchscreen and have it
transposed into a typed version. Second, is my favorite part about EquatIO. Through voice
input, it allows you to dictate your equations or formulas and convert them into a typed end-
product. Last, is the library of pre-made, commonly used formulas, equations and math
expressions that comes with it.
As a special education teacher, I found this last feature to be very useful for any students who
need to use a screen reader. EquatIO integrates with Google Chrome’s Read&Write and that
allows students to have Math problems read to them. This is something that is not possible or
is not done accurately with most screen readers. I have just recently started using EquatIO, but
I am excited to see what possibilities it unleashes!
Lisa is a Math inclusion teacher at Richmond High School. She earned her Bachelor’s degree from IU East and her Master’s degree from IU Bloomington. She started her teaching career in 2000 and came to Richmond Community Schools in 2011. She is very interested in working with technology. Lisa and her husband, Brian, have one son, Andrew. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends
I like change, no I love change! I love when the seasons change. I love taking a new
way home from school. I can even learn to love when my favorite T.V. show gets moved to a
different time or night. As I think about the changes that I love, I realize that in order to make
these adjustments, I only need to adapt to what is going on around me. When it snows, I wear
a warmer coat and slow down when I drive. When I take a new route home, the road has
already been laid out, I just need to navigate to my destination, and when my T.V. schedule gets
rearranged, I still have DVR, so I can watch it whenever I want.
In order to make meaningful change in my classroom, I have to be the one to lead the
charge. I can’t just adapt, I have to put in the effort to make learning better for my students.
Over the last few months, I’ve realized that this is not easy. It takes lots of planning, trying new
things, and sometimes failing. In the end, if I can make learning better for my students, it has all
been worth it.
So, let me amend the title of my post. I love to adapt to change, but I am learning to
Matt Hasecoster is a 3rd grade teacher at Richmond Community Schools. He has been teaching at Crestdale Elementary since 2004. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Ball State University. Matt has previously taught 2nd grade and 4th grade, and year of Math Intervention. He has also spent the last few years training other teachers throughout the state of Indiana to use the Indiana Science Initiative curriculum. Matt and his wife, Sarah (a fifth grade teacher), have two children, Mira, age 8, and Landon, age 3. In his spare time, Matt enjoys playing and listening to music, and spending time with his
It is never easy getting up in front of your peers to present at a professional meeting. This experience was especially challenging for me recently, as I was a new teacher in Richmond Community Schools district this year. The new year started off with a teacher work day, followed by a day of professional development at the high school. Needless to say, I was anxious about being a presenter that day!
The professional development day began with the entire staff gathered to hear a keynote speaker, Alice Keeler, who is well-known in the connected educator world. She is the author of several books, and travels extensively to share her knowledge of methods she has used with students. During her presentation, one could sense the enthusiasm she has for utilizing technology in the classroom. She also shared an interesting idea about students needing to figure things out for themselves. Several of my building colleagues enjoyed hearing that and the following week, we heard a lot of "figure it outs."
It was getting closer to the assigned time for me to make my presentation, but first, I had to attend the session that I signed up for after the keynote speaker. I have to admit, it was difficult to focus on the session because I was already going over my slides in my head. So, I left that session a few minutes early so I could walk to the classroom to which I was assigned. I was using the high school Spanish teacher's room that day.
Upon arriving to the classroom, I took out my technology, then proceeded to log on to the desktop computer in the room. I had prepared a Google Slides presentation for this PD day. My time slot was for 40 minutes, the session right before the lunch break. My topic was "Why Should I Be a Connected Educator?", and I had tons of information to share with my audience. I was pretty nervous, wondering which teaching colleagues would be there, and if any administrators might attend. Of course, when you are nervous, you tend to talk fast, and I think that just may have happened.
I started my presentation and had some short video segments imbedded to enhance the experience. Well, the computer or the monitor was muted, so I did not have sound on the videos. Thankfully, one of the attendees made a suggestion to solve the problem, and the subsequent videos had sound. When speaking in the future, I will know how to handle this, or anticipate the possibility. This was a great "teachable moment."
I continued talking to the participants and shared the information about the topic, and realized that I had a plethora of information and far too little time to disseminate it. I think this happens in the classroom as well, when we have a daily lesson plan and don't have a chance to cover all of the material for one reason or another. Several attendees asked questions during the talk, and this participation was encouraging. I concluded my presentation, thanked everyone for listening, and we broke for lunch.
Following the PD day, speakers received feedback from the administration. Most of the comments I received were very positive, and several teachers had questions that I will answer via email. Several participants suggested having more hands-on time to utilize the technology platforms I mentioned, so a longer time for a session would allow this to happen. I also hope to edit this presentation and use it this summer at the Richmond Summer of eLearning PD meeting. Several participants suggested having more hands-on time to utilize the technology platforms I mentioned, so a longer time for a session would allow this to happen. Feedback from my peers will provide me with the opportunity to improve the next time I speak at a professional development event.
I have done an incredible amount of networking and met some rock star educators by challenging myself to share knowledge at professional development meetings. Since I have given presentations previously, my recommendation for anyone reluctant to dip their foot in the water is, just go for it! With each time you step out of your comfort zone, it will become easier, or at least less difficult!
Elizabeth Stracener is the 8th grade science teacher at Dennis Intermediate School in Richmond, IN. She has been teaching for 15 years, mostly at the high school level. This is her first year teaching at Dennis. She was thrilled to be chosen to participate as a member of the Next Gen Leadership Cadre 2.0 this year. Elizabeth earned her B.A. in Sport and Movement Studies, (biology minor), from Earlham College, and a M.S. from Indiana State University in Physical Education (Athletic Training Specialization). Elizabeth was chosen to be a speaker last June at USM (University School Milwaukee) Summer Spark, a popular professional development event. She has also been a speaker the past two summers at the RCS Summer of eLearning Tech Expo. She is passionate about sharing her love of science, especially biology, with her students. Elizabeth has two grown children, Sarah and John. Her extracurricular activities include bicycling, playing several instruments with local musical groups, participating in local theater productions, quilting, and vegetable gardening.