Jigsaw 103: Making the Grade

posted Oct 6, 2017, 7:02 AM by Emily Kroutil
This session focused on Panes 3 and 4.  Pane 3 shows a map by default, but can be used for a variety of activities.  The one I've used most is the Notes function.  I like to go over what I call "Housekeeping Information" at the beginning of my synchronous sessions.  I discuss the upcoming due date and what is due for that due date and then the upcoming week until the next due date.  Sometimes I provide links to important resources for them to check out over the week, even though the links aren't live in the recording.  The first time I tried it, I forgot to share the notes, which ended up in a recording that looked like this:
My one student in attendance was too shy to ask why she wasn't seeing anything on the screen and I didn't know to ask if she was seeing what I was writing.  I only found out when I viewed the recording.  I was able to figure out what I'd done wrong via Yammer and the next time I tried the notes function, it worked better:
The text showed up, but even on "Follow Me", it was VERY small.  There is no way to make the text larger at this time, so I've actually stopped using the Notes function for this "Housekeeping" part of the synchronous session and have transitioned to using the whiteboard, which is Pane 4 in Jigsaw:
This way, I can make sure that the text is large enough to read, even on the recording.  As I'm writing, I discuss important parts of the items I'm writing down, such as, "this test is scheduled the same day as the due date, so make sure you are following the schedule so you don't get behind and you have time to take the test and get full points for it!"  If I want to add links, I post them in the chat box.  They still aren't live in the recording, but students can still see them and could type them into their browser, since the links are usually fairly short.  The whiteboard has proven better for listing these "Housekeeping" items than the Notes function.  

I haven't yet tried a poll because when I do have students in attendance, its usually only one student, so I just verbally ask them how its going or what they have questions with or what they understand or don't understand from what I just discussed.

I also annotate quite a bit with my classes, but I tend to use Pane 2 for that.  For me, it's easier to upload a PowerPoint presentation with a physics problem already written out on it and annotate that way.  Those end up looking something like this:
As far as best practices go, I've found the following to be important to keep in mind when utilizing these panes:
  • If you have students in attendance, always ASK them if they can see what you're writing/talking about.  Just because you can see something DOES NOT mean students can see it.
  • The Notes function uses VERY small type and the recordings are often made at a lower quality than your screen resolution, so this, combined with the small type, can make the Notes difficult to read during recordings.
  • The whiteboard has a variety of tools.  Try these out before you use them with students.
  • I like using different colors for different parts of problems I'm working out.  I think this makes it easier for students to follow and when you're done, you don't have a huge wall of similarly-colored text.
And here's my attendance check: