Monday, December 21, 2009

Using neighborhood data to create statistical models

High school math teacher Matt Townsley encourages students to use data that interests them as much as possible.  In a recent project, students were asked to answer the question, "Is size a useful predictor of a house's assessed value?" Data from websites such as the Johnson County Assessor were made readily available for students to access and research the ins and outs of houses on their own streets and in their housing developments.  Additional resources were posted on his website for students to use as they created a second statistical model with Iowa City or Cedar Rapids houses as data points.

Students were asked to produce a 1-2 page double-spaced report summarizing their findings:

  • A brief summary of the data in each mini-study (Solon neighborhood and CR/IC).  This included a response to the following question using data, graphs, regression lines, significance tests and correlation coefficients to backup your opinion - "Is size a useful predictor of price in your neighborhood? ...and in Iowa City or Cedar Rapids?"
  • A prediction of the students' house's assessed value based on square feet using his/her neighborhood model and the Iowa City or Cedar Rapids model.  Does this match-up with the assessed value according to the websites?  Explain a few possible reasons why or why not.
  • Finally, include a paragraph explaining any possible errors observed in the way data was collected or the process in which this study took place

Scatterplots, regression line equations and prediction intervals using Microsoft Excel were the norm for each student.

This project parallels quadrant D learning as written in the 9-12 Data Analysis/Statistics & Probability Iowa Core Curriculum essential concepts.

If you have any questions or comments, contact Matt at

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

BLOG de la tecnologia este semestre

Spanish instructor, LeeAnn Gilroy has integrated a number of technology tools into her Spanish classroom. She has created a Google Sites blog web page to chronicle some of her ideas and activities. Check out this site:
to read about her use of ePals and Skype.
For more information contact LeeAnn at:

Using Edmodo

7th grade Language Arts teacher Justin Turner selected THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUMAN SCHOOL by Dorrie Hillestad Butler as a recent class read aloud. It tells the story of what happens when a student run web site gets out of control. Using a social networking tool to discuss the book online seemed like the perfect pairing:

Justin writes:

I have recently started using a classroom social networking/blogging site called It allows teachers and students to communicate with each other outside of class, and also encourages the quiet students to share their opinions because they don't have to speak in front of everyone in class. It is really easy to use and the students really like responding to books on it. I really like using the feature that allows you to create polls, so that you can gather info anonymously from your students.

If you have any questions about using Edmodo, contact

Monday, December 14, 2009

Artsonia at Lakeview

Lakeview Art teacher Jackie Meier has invested a lot of time and effort in cataloging student art work for posting to Artsonia and the investment is starting to pay off, both financially and educationally. Parents of Lakeview students may purchase products with original artwork, with a percentage of the sale coming back to the school. Also, family and friends can post comments to student artwork, giving them valuable feedback.
Check out the Artsonia web site. If you have any questions or comments, contact Jackie at

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Technology Integration Matrix

Where would you put yourself in this matrix?

Does it make sense to you?

More visualizations

Here are Wordle visuals from SMS and LV taken from the text entered in response to the last survey entry which was an open-ended opportunity to comment on district technology.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Visualizing our tech thoughts

The last entry on our building tech assessments asked for your thoughts about district technology. I copied the text from the high school replies and pasted it into for a snapshot of our thoughts.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's time to share

Every day I see technology being integrated in interesting, engaging and innovative ways in classrooms around the district. Teachers are taking risks, stretching out of their comfort zones and challenging students to learn new skills and gain knowledge in new ways.

Innumerable times I have thought to myself how great it would be if there was a way to share these ideas (successes and failures) with other members of the faculty.

For awhile Matt Townsley and I have discussed the possibility of an online district resource and we both agree that its time to stop talking and start sharing!

To get the ball rolling, Matt and I will be editing the SCSD Technology Corner Blog, but the focus will be on your classrooms. We'll be looking around, talking to people and bringing information, artifacts and suggestions back to this blog. Let us know what you are doing and we will post a blog entry. I honestly believe that everyone has something to share, even those of you who don't think of yourselves as "techies", so don't be shy.

Thank you in advance for sharing your creativity, enthusiasm and even your frustrations! We can learn so much from each other.