The app I need right now
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
So I and every other teacher right now are scrambling to get ready to teach school online. Here’s a problem I’m grappling with that I would welcome your advice. In my Geometry class, we do a lot of group problem solving on wall mounted whiteboards using problems from the Exeter curriculum. It is so helpful for me as a teacher to be able to walk around the room, see students work, ask them questions, give them feedback, and then return later to see how their work has progressed. I’ve been wondering a lot about what this might look like online. We’re using zoom, and of course there are break roo ..read more
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Challenging Coronavirus with Connections and Puppets
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
My school, just like every other school in the world, has told students not to come back from break, and asked faculty to begin to make plans for virtual school. If you check twitter, you’ll see it’s filled with plans and ideas for teaching virtually, and there are a ton of great resources there. More importantly, there’s a real community of people out there who are lend advice, listen, help out and so much more. One idea that has stuck with me in the past two weeks is this one from Evan Weinberg, who’s been teaching online for the past five weeks: The biggest thing that has come out of our ..read more
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Pivot Interactives and Tychos—even better together
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
I’m a huge fan of physics teacher written software. At the moment, I think three of the most useful pieces of software for physics teaching are written by physics teachers: SBGbook: This is the best standards based grade book I know of, created by Josh Gates. Pivot interactive: One of the most easy to use tools for video analysis, featuring an awesome library of Direct Measurement Videos, where students use a virtual meter stick and stop watch to make measurements of objects in the video. Pivot was created by Peter Bohacek, and he and his team of incredible students have done some amazing wor ..read more
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Climate week warm up—let’s analyze some data
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
This week is climate week, and on Friday, I wanted to have a short assignment that would get my students thinking about climate change before we headed out for our observance of the worldwide climate strike. I decided I would create short warm up activity where I would give students a data set of some quantity. I anonymized each data set so that all students knew is that they were analyzing a time series of data for some quantity and asked them to spend 5 minutes analyzing and making a graph, and then we would share our work with the class. After each presentation, I then revealed what the dat ..read more
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Teachers Coding: exploring CalDav files
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
It’s the start of the school year, and for me on of the big mundane tasks is getting my calendar set up for the school year. Our school’s home-brew SAS has this great feature that will generate .ics file containing all of your classes that you can import into Google calendar or any other calendaring program. But it has one problem—all of your class data is in the single file. Since we have a new rotating schedule, I was hoping I might be able to put each class into it’s own calendar in order to let me better see how a particular class is mapping out through the upcoming weeks. When I thought a ..read more
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Measuring the length of a pendulum with a microbit
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
Here’s a write up of another activity I’ve been working on as part of my sabbatical. In college, I remember a dean telling us the joke about the student who was challenged by their professor to measure the height of a building using a barometer, and all the ingenious ways in which the student came up with complete the task: tying a piece of string to the barometer and lowering it from the side of the building to measure the heigh, dropping the barometer off the top of the building and measuring the time it takes to hit the ground, offering the barometer as a gift to the building superintendent ..read more
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Some updates to Physics Coach, we’re ready for beta testers
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
Note 2 (May 28): I think I’ve fixed the bug, but if you encounter an error loading the site, I’d greatly appreciate you reaching out via twitter, this blog, or email.  Note: it seems like the site has a bug I missed and isn’t loading in production. I’m traveling now, but will try to take a look at it tonight and fix it. When I announced Physics Coach a couple of months ago, I thought I was just a few edits from being done. Of course, I’d totally forgotten the lessons I’d learned from reading The Mythical Man Month back in college. But with two more months of tweaking, I’m ready to share a ..read more
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Introducing Physics Coach—an app for tracking physics “workouts”
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
While on sabbatical, I’ve had much more time to devote to working out. Back in it was warmer, I developed a decent slow running habit which I tracked in Strava, and once it got colder, moved to gym workouts which are tracked by an app built by my gym. One of the things I’ve noticed is how helpful these apps have been for motivating me to workout—seeing a graph of how many times I’ve worked out this week is usually a good nudge to push me out the door when I’m not feeling fully in the mood to going to the gym, and Strava gives me a wealth of tools for analyzing my runs, even showing me all the ..read more
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Computing in Mathematics: Build your Own Calculator
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
For the past few Fridays, I have been teaching my first ever lessonsto a class of Norwegian students, and I wanted to write about the experience here.  This class was a class of 30 or so Norwegian students in Mathematics 1T, which covers the the topics of precalculus and differential calculus. The students in this course had just finished studying functions, and function notation. I asked students about their previous programming experience—many students had done some programming in scratch, one had done some work in HTML, and none had any experience in Python. Here is initial throught th ..read more
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Coding as conversations: Pair programming
Quantum Progress
by John Burk
1y ago
Recently, I saw Aatish Bhatia share this excellent TEDxCalgary talk from Marie-Claire Shananhan and Pratim Sengupta about coding in public spaces. My favorite quote from the video was, “Learning to code isn’t about acquiring a thing or a skill. It’s about participating in rich and meaningful conversations together.” I’ve seen this quote in action in many ways this year, in conversation with colleagues at UiO and across the world, on twitter, via Skype and more. But I think the most powerful way in which I’ve seen coding as a conversation has been with two former advisees, H and Y, both of who ..read more
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