CL Newsletter, March 2021 - Our Favorites

Last month, we asked you to share your favorite aspects about building activities using Computation Layer. This month, we’re going to share your ideas and experiences with the community. We’ll keep our narration minimal and spotlight some of the amazing responses that you all submitted.

Sometimes the simplest bit of code can make a huge difference in the responses your question invites. Setting an initial content string does just that

Rebecca McKee @mckeemath

One of my favorite easy CL features is to use initialText: "" to provide sentence starters for students to explain their thinking!

Nick Corley @mrcorleymath

initialText and initialLatex Simple CL both help guide student thinking and can help add consistency to dashboard

We were delighted to see so many of you talk about the ways you bring animations to life in order to create different worlds for your students and deliver meaningful feedback in context:

Elizabeth Provencal @BethProvencal

I love so many things about the various CL features, but my new favorite is number(`t_0`): button.timeSincePress()

Mx. Epstein @lwThinking

My favorite hidden gem in CL is using animationTime with animationDuration. This sink/source combination completely transforms the graph component and opens up so many new ways to engage students.

And we love the ways you use these tools to highlight the brilliance of student thinking.

Michael Birkeland @BirkelandMr

My favorite thing about CL is how dynamic, visual, and personalized it makes my Activities feel. Using sinks and sources like number and simpleFunction to provide interpretive feedback allows my students to feel empowered. They aren't told they're wrong, just "here's what you said, is that what you meant?" Their brilliance comes alive with the help of technology.

Katie Bookbinder @kbook10

My favorite thing about CL is being able to have students enter their thoughts into a variety of components (math input, table, sketch) and have a graph pull in those thoughts. When students are able to see if their thinking matches reality, they are more able to make changes based on a mathematical reason than by guessing.

Taking a student’s response or the whole class’s responses and using it later in the activity also got some love.

Jessica Balli

I love the option to have student work carried from one slide to another! I have adapted a MARS task where this is built in for both a drawing and a written response.

Mr. G. Laursen @OGLaursen

I can pull sketches students made on a previous slide for them to analyze or add to in the next ones. Students look at a turning Ferris Wheel and sketch the height as the basket moves around in my linked activity. I made use of the source sketch, and the function sketchLayer to grab the previous slides' sketches and put them into the background (sink) of the current sketch. To my joy I found that you can superimpose layers using layerStack, so I built that up through several screens.

Todd Feitelson @toddf9

I made an activity for T/F and Multiple Choice questions, meant to be done as a group in class. Each student answers the question, then shares their thinking. Once they do that, they see other students' responses and a bar graph of the class responses, using the aggregate feature. As a class, I ask whether anyone wants to change their answer. So, we are hearing from a student who has refined their thinking rather than someone who knew the answer all along.

Nolan Fossum @NolanFossum

I love that CL allows me to offer a learning experience that is dynamic rather than static. I also love how CL helps me customize the student's experience, giving them choice on how the activity develops, making for richer classroom conversations.

There were also a few mentions of using CL to determine if a student is correct or incorrect, and in some cases, how to deliver that feedback to a student.

Tim Calford @CalfordMath

Rather than do a string (text) comparison, I parse their value as a function and check that it evaluates to the correct output for some chosen inputs (as a check). While not impermeable, it eliminates many false-wrong answer flags inevitable with a string comparison.

And we received a hodgepodge of different sink, source, and function recommendations:

Melissa Hesterman

I love to use the hidden sink to build in layers of support. Whether that's giving students options of clicking to see specific review topics, pop ups that let them know when they have gotten an answer right or wrong (with built in help), or layering in specific videos based on what they did, it's a powerful tool, especially when designing for asynchronous learning experiences.

Javier Cabezas @CabezasMath

My favorite thing about CL changes based on what I'm working on because of CL's versatility. One CL function that I find very useful is parseOrderedPair, and I like to combine it with an errorMessage or cellErrorMessage sink to nudge students into conventional notation. I also like to call on the x- and y-coordinates, much like a point can be parsed in the graphing calculator, in order to feed information to variables in the graphing calculator.

Some folks even made escape room activities!

Maggie Weinreb @teachtips_tpt (instagram)

My favorite thing to create using CL is escape rooms. I use coverText for the whole next page and it only uncovers when all previous pages’ answers are correct AND they have pressed the check button. This way they find out if their answers are right and they get a piece of a final puzzle.

Jeremy Knight

In this "Virtual Escape Room", students are trapped inside a sporting goods store and they need to find the clues to escape. Students can work as individuals or groups to solve problems and puzzles. If a problem is not answered correctly, the door is not opened and they have to try again until they emerge victorious!

All in all, our favorite part about CL is really similar to yours: this community of learners has been so helpful and supportive of one another, and the difference that has made for the students who ultimately benefit from your hard work warms our hearts.

Jared Schulz

Using CL has been a challenge for me with limited computer programming knowledge. The community support form is full of great ideas and helpful people who make CL accessible. In the remote learning environment CL has allowed me to create activities where students can make sure their answers are correct instantly. Some favorites include students being able to check whether their sketches of graphs are correct, and the card sort feedback where students can't just guess and check to get it right.

A quick note before we wrap this up. We didn’t have the space to feature everyone’s responses here (even though we really wanted to), but we made a collection with the activities that you all shared with your responses. Check them out here!