A Teacher in the Trenches: A Firsthand Account of Using Free in the Classroom • John Seelke • McKinley Technology High School
Teachers still use textbooks, but textbooks often are not enough The Internet offers teachers a wealth of free lessons, tests, and other activities Publishers CAN combine tools on the internet with their publishing to create powerful tools for teachers Three main topics of presentation
Textbooks provide one source of material for teachers Students in urban schools are often behind. They need review on material not found in the textbook or review material Teachers thus turn to the Internet to find such resources Textbooks are not outdated, but they are too heavy
The internet offers multiple resources for teachers on trends that are “hot” in education The Internet offers a resources for teachers on various topics and various levels, making differentiated instruction easier. The internet even has videos that can be used as lessons for students at home. Many supplemental material from companies cost money, the web is FREE! Why do teachers turn to the Internet as opposed to publishing companies?
The Internet offers teachers resources on recent trends in education • Many teachers turn to the all powerful oracle, Google, to find resources that their administration want to see in the classroom • Google search for rubrics • In this era of accountability, teachers are often judged on having these tools, not on how they use the tools, so they seek the easiest way to get a hold of what they need.
Differentiated instruction leads teachers to seek material at different levels • In today’s classrooms, particularly in urban settings, some students are 2-3 years behind their grade level • While textbooks offer some forms of remediation, they often don’t offer enough practice material • Teachers turn to the Internet to find such resources. • A sample math resource website • Such websites offer worksheet, quiz and test generators, making it easier for teachers to offer much needed practice.
The Internet also offers multiple resources to challenge stronger students • Another quick search of the internet leads to various math competitions and other challenge problems that can be used with stronger students: • Newton Math Competition • University of Maryland Math Competition
The internet offers teachers an easy way to “share” ideas with one another • Teaching is a profession where the best ideas are often taken from others (with or without credit) • Even with their multitude of resources (workbooks, instructional guides), teachers often turn to the web to find collaborate with colleagues Note: the sharing here is done legally, as opposed to buying one copy of a product and then “sharing” it with others.
“Freeware” offers teachers chances to use programs without cost • Geometry Sketchpad (Key Curriculum Press) • $70 for a single user • $250 for 10 computers • $999.95 for 50 computers • $1499.95 for unlimited use • Geogebra (developed by individuals in France and US) • Cost for single user, multiple users, or unlimited use: FREE
A quick comparison shows these two programs are very similar Sketchpad Geogebra
A calculus lesson from iTunes U allows students access to visual lessons It also provides teachers another means of sharing information with students at no cost. This method also allows students to take lessons with them on their music players. Programs such as Itunes now offer visual learners another way of learning
You Tube - Began in 2005 Offers free content and video sharing Cannot upload copyrighted work Hulu - Began in 2008 Offers free videos of movies and television shows Focused on quality of presentation (larger screen, clearer picture) Hulu versus You Tube
Many textbooks offer CD’s teachers can download with extra material Student versions of the CD provide the content to the students. But having extra CD’s is like You Tube, it’s an “old school” idea… Yes, publishers offer resources, but…
Offer quality content on the web, even if it is for free, to teachers and students Connect web based lessons from teachers to their websites Offer resources on their websites unique to their textbooks Even consider making PDF versions of their book available to students and teachers online – no longer will students be able to say they couldn’t do their homework because they didn’t have the book Publishers need to be more like Hulu – thinking outside of the box
There will always be a need for textbooks (for not all schools have the same technology access) Most importantly, this gives teachers more resources from the publishing company Teachers will more likely turn to the websites of publishers as opposed to other sources But won’t this mean no need for textbooks?
Be willing to partner with other resources (on the web or businesses) to provide free content to teachers The better the content, the more likely teachers will use it, which will lead to more recognition for the publishing company Take a chance on giving resources as opposed to charging for them…
Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments or, if you want a teacher’s perspective on your company can better participate in the “world of free” Questions? Comments?