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From: "Alan E. Davis" <lngndvs@gmail.com>
To: Venkatesh Choppella <venkatesh.choppella@iiit.ac.in>
Cc: emacs-orgmode <emacs-orgmode@gnu.org>
Subject: Re: How do teachers use org-mode
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2012 12:42:30 -0800	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <CAF-1L2TkxRa3rk_wM22Jh-7i=0k923s6Y_ZzhezPkmPd0+N8oQ@mail.gmail.com> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <CAEBduwqjsvbXe+UahTyRrZFwzVs0Ur7BHbc8BFCwi49wGziAew@mail.gmail.com>

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I recently retired from teaching (perhaps temporarily).  I was a high
school science teacher, for the most part.   I was the odd man out in my
school district, perhaps the only one who used GNU/Linux, and on the island
where I was working/living the only computer course in the public schools
was "comptuer literacy"---a term which meant "able to use M$ Office."   [I
did present an install fest workshop, where about 15 teachers were able to
install Ubuntu GNU/Linux on their laptops, and a few may still use it, four
years or so later, for personal issues.

Given this environment, I used Free Software tools to do everything,
bucking the trend, and eventually org mode became a central tool, though
mainly in the support of teaching.   Here are a few things I have done:

  - used org-mode to collect notes and readings to output using latex
export, for handouts.
  - kept daily notes as the days went on, on student progress or issues.  I
had developed capture templates to enable the rapid capture of notes on the
fly.  Tagging made it possible for those notes to be recovered by period or
subject.   I could print a report for a meeting with a parent in about two
minutes.
  -  to capture outlines of the day to day work.   This function could have
benefited by better organization.  I could clone a date tree to write
"lesson plans" or outlines.
  - twice I used org-mode spread sheets to keep grade records and calculate
grades.  It worked fine.   Graphs could be generated.
  - Carsten's relative timer has been useful in developing notes about
videos to facilitate instruction / discussion.  It was possible to sit in
class as the videos were playing, and make notes indexed to the elapsed
time of the video.   Then, since I had often had copies of DVDs on my
computer, or showed them using a computer, I could rapidly / randomly
access any sequence by referring to my outline and time marks.  I also used
these to edit chopped up versions of a video for class review at a later
time, for which I found the tool avidemux2 a perfect one.   (I took a
course in Fellini many years ago.   The professor had a whole print, and a
chopped up one.  This is an extremely useful tool, and one for which the
relative timer is uniquely helpful.)
   - Write tests and output using latex export.  This wasn't as useful to
me as examdesign.sty formated tests in straight LaTeX.  I was not able to
put together a work flow for doing this using org-mode latex export, though
I imagine it is possible.   I could, however, make up short quizzes,
sometimes projected as beamer presentation, and the various org-mode tools
allow one to keep notes on student progress.  Again, capture templates are
the key, and tags help to search and find.  Probably the most useful here
was the ability to write questions (capture again), but I had to tweak them
by hand during export.
  - use latex export to make up rapid handouts with illustrations.
Org-mode makes this extremely easy and fast.   Too bad others in the school
district didn't seem to have time for the learning curve.
  - Rapidly prepare decently presented readings from Project Gutenberg text
of chapters of books for student reading, and, when desireable, make them
available for students as a PDF.
   - In fact, rapidly format anything textual for LaTeX output, including
outline notes for lecture.
    - Rapidly produce tables of student generated data for immediate output
and feedback.  For example, we counted as a class the chirp rate of a
cricket that happened to be in the room and correclated the temperatures,
on the board.  In three minutes I could produce output for students on a
laser printer, for further discussion, and for a response assignment.
   - todo lists with capture templates to make notes on student questions
or needs for addressing later.
   - One thing that was not directly related to instruction was the ability
to take notes on student conduct and progress using a capture template.
Although this was not my favorite activity, I was required to do so, and
using org-mode I could print out a report for the school administration in
three minutes.  This was not my favorite activity.
    - I developed a template to generate a memo in one minute, or less,
that wrapped selected text in a memo header, and generated a PDF.


  This doesn't seem much related to pedagogy, I'm afraid.   Mostly it
reflects my teaching style, and is pretty much focused on efficiency,  not
including the more sophisticated usages of org-mode that you will want to
incorporate into your IT courses.  I came to org-mode through my need for
an outliner.   This is by far the greatest outliner I have ever seen.


Alan Davis

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  parent reply	other threads:[~2012-02-01 20:42 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 13+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2012-02-01  4:10 Venkatesh Choppella
2012-02-01  8:04 ` Alan Schmitt
2012-02-01  8:57 ` Brian van den Broek
2012-02-01  9:44 ` Jambunathan K
2012-02-01 11:33   ` Richard Riley
2012-02-01 12:24     ` Carsten Dominik
2012-02-01 10:35 ` BernardH
2012-02-01 17:40   ` John Hendy
2012-02-01 20:42 ` Alan E. Davis [this message]
2012-02-02 17:17 ` Scott Randby
2012-02-02 17:54   ` brian powell
2012-02-03  1:02     ` Sankalp
2012-02-03  4:37       ` Jambunathan K

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