Quizizz (careful to type the z’s in the right spot if my malware detector is right) is another classroom quizzing app. It can be run like Kahoot!, but the timers and scoring can be turned off. The questions also appear with the answer choices in the student app instead of projected. For this reason I see Quizizz useful for when I want groups to discuss and post answers. Or, I might also use it when I want to do a lot of quizzing and it is worth having all the students who don’t want to use their phone log into the classroom Chromebooks.

I was able to set up a three question quiz in about 10 minutes.

3 question quiz for Math 131
3 question quiz for Math 131

I could easily get superscripts and subscripts if I needed them and there are a few more math symbols under the menu labeled with a Euro symbol. It is not a full-featured math editor, but it is much stronger than those available at Plickers, or Polleverywhere the last time I looked. (It has been awhile – these two may have improved!)

It was easy to toggle of the stressful time and scoring options that caused me to move away from Kahoot!

Settings for a Quizizz quiz
Settings for a Quizizz quiz

The students take the quiz either in a browser, or via a phone app. The app was easy to use. Students type an instructor provided code, enter a display name, and then just select answers. They can get instant feedback about whether they are right. Mildly snarky and famous internet memes can also be part of the feedback.

When everyone is done I can see question summaries and drill into the data to see which groups, or students made which error. So, we could discuss common errors on commonly missed questions as time allows. I did not investigate the extent to which data can be saved, but the game I played showed up on a reports page which leads me to believe the data are saved for each test, but not easily aggregated across a semester as players/students are not formally logged in.

Discussion in the College Classroom


I have started to read Jay R. Howard’s Discussion in the College Classroom based on a recommendation from a speaker at our school. The second chapter is where the serious content and suggestions begin. The chapter focuses on moving students from civil attention- being polite, but not necessarily more than that- to active participation. Like many discussions of this type veteran practitioners are already doing much of it so I am just going to list the things I found interesting. Not all of them are central to the theme. This is not a full summary of the chapter.

  1. He recommends card stock for name tags if you use that to help you learn names. This is kind of an obvious improvement on my folded paper. I’ll probably invest in some for future semesters.
  2. There is a reminder to ask “How?” rather than “What?” and to give students time to reflect if you want more participants. I do this, but it is good to be reminded of from time to time.
  3. He gave a witty response to the “student as customer” trope. He says if the student is a customer then the teacher is a physical trainer. Would a customer accept a physical trainer that does not make them work hard?
  4. In think-pair-share activities maybe ask folks if their partner said something worthwhile. Then the first volunteer can start the discussion just by picking someone else. You don’t pick on the person who has to give the substantial information. And the person who does give the information is slightly lauded before speaking. This was the most useful idea from the chapter for me.

Latex and WordPress.org


Hack, hack, hack.

OK. I used mark up of latex and /latex enclosed in brackets instead of the $ a web search indicated.

I could not make the background be white instead of gray so I changed themes to one where it shows up as white by default.

I guess it works. See: https://morford.info/2018/01/22/math-131-january-24-2/ for instance. And changing themes every couple years is like rearranging a room. It doesn’t improve content much, but feels productive.

This is probably supposed to work better than that.

I am using Wiris to get the code to go between the Latex tags.

2018 Prepping Considerations


Use low floor-high ceiling problems to introduce most lessons

Mindset: Weekly sepnd 5-10 minutes on encouraging a growth mindset. In particular use the opening day activity from MichMATYC (How did you get good at it?)

Theme: Each week summarize how what we have done fits in the major course themes

Mixed practice: Add practice from former lessons to the homework for some interleaving.

Remember that Geogebra, spreadsheets, and Desmos exist and can sometimes make good visiualizations

Consider using Plickers for informal assessment when it makes sense to use Plickers for informal assessment.

Look back at this when designing lessons.

More on AMATYC


I notice I have been off-theme and not writing “not baseball” on each of these.

Here is a quick summary of the rest of AMATYC:

I went to two OER sessions. Both showed no decrease in student success when they switched to OER, so students can save money and not have increased risk of failure. One group talked about how they had to overcome some faculty resistance (which really seemed to be inertia.) They offered a stipend to make the change. It seems to me this is just your regular curricular work, but more power to them if they can get a stipend to do what they are supposed to be doing anyway. They reminded me that I can use Geogebra and Desmos for demonstration software. I have gotten away from that a little bit lately.

I went to a session on apps in math for Liberal Arts, but found it a little slow and the presenter did not seem to know his audience, so I left it and went to a session on BASEBALL. The presenter had some interesting applicable calculations that could be done by students at almost any level. Unfortunately he also offered a total offense statistic that he said improved OPS because the denominators are different in OBP and SLG. What he missed is that when you add as rational expression SLG and OBP you get 1/PA*(Good Linear Weights Formula) + small error. This will correlate with total offense much better than the cleaner version he has because his linear weights do not correlate as well with actual offensive performance. His over-weights extra-base hits.

I went to one session on the new professional development document. In one sentence, it seems they have added mindfulness (Dweck’s work) and utility value to the standards. If I were to have a second sentence I would warn that it is a little stilted. They use the acronym IMPACT (Improving Mathematical Prowess and College Math Teaching) whenever the word impact is used in the text, for instance. PrOwESS is also an acronym (Proficiency, Ownership, Engagement, Student Success). The acronyms themselves seem pretty useful as I recalled these without looking back. I do hope they remove the stilted writing.

A session on training folks to teach QR courses was interesting, but really focused a lot on the Carnegie curriculum they were using.

New Examples of Linear Equations for class had a hand out that made it look like it could have been new in 1975 so I went to Projects in Liberal Arts Math. I have a couple ideas from hearing other attendees describe their projects.

I’ll write one more post with my goals for 2018 soon.

Reflections on OER

An Oregon (PCC) school adopted OER in Math. I have detailed handwritten notes (see me if interested). Their most important advice is to understand colleagues concerns. 

Some things- look me campus-wide team building we are already doing. 

Other things- generating buy in- we do not have to do as Michael Nealon and TB have bought in already. 

They also say their notes will be in the proceedings. They are not there as of 11-10-2017. 

OER at Baltimore City Community College

Scott Saunders reported on the experience of Baltimore City Community College. They phased in OER through developmental courses starting at the lowest level. Students saved (a little less than) 90% of the cost and success rates were not significantly changed. They still used software.

Based on costs and their claim to have had one software product through the whole chain of courses I think they were Pe4rson based. (The 4 is in case Pe4rson trolls the web looking for their name.)

Their numbers are small, but the results are encouraging.

This is Session 064 in the conference proceedings. https://amatyc.site-ym.com/page/2017ConfProc

This became a round table after 20 minutes or so. That was interesting,