Archive for the 'Teaching' Category

Oct 12 2012

Google Apps for Educators Workshop – Using Google forms to gather and analyze data from your students

Published by under Teaching

Part 1 – Demonstration:

As a teacher of a subject in which data forms the basis all understanding, I like to put my students to work finding and analyzing the data most relevant to our subject. In my unit on Macroeconomics (the study of entire nations’ economies), I teach that the primary objectives of government and central bank policies is to achieve four goals. These are:

Each of these objectives can be measured using data recorded by every nation in the world which are, fortunately for me, made public through many online databases. The one I find most useful is the CIA World Factbook, which publishes economic data for all countries for which it is available. The link below will take you to the CIA World Factbook, where you can find economic data for your own country.
The CIA World Factbook
One of my favorite lessons at the beginning of my Macroeconomics unit is to have students find their own countries on the CIA World Factbook and enter the data relating to the four macroeconomic objectives into a Google Form. To demonstrate how this works, follow the link to the CIA World Factbook above, find your own home country, click on the “Economy” section and find and enter the data requested in the form below:
Macroeconomic Indicators Around the World – Google Apps for Educators Sample Form
The cool thing about Google Forms is that the creator of the form has total control over the results as they are submitted by students. For example, as you and the other attendees of this workshop are submitting your results, I am examining the results in real time. Every time the ‘submit’ button is pressed, a spreadsheet of all the form results is updated in real time right in front of my eyes. Now, I can begin to organize the results of this data into interactive charts which we can then analyze as a class. For instance, here are some  charts showing the results from the submissions by students in my year 2 IB Economics course this earlier this semester:

Now, as a class, we can gain a deeper understanding of some of the most important macroeconomic indicators using current data from our own countries, researched and aggregated using Google Forms, analyzed using Google Spreadsheets and the charts it can be used to create.

Part 2 – Brainstorming

As an Economics teacher, there are loads of data relating to nearly every topic I teach available online for students to research, aggregate and analyze. But what about in your subject? The second part of this presentation requires you and some of your peers here today to get together and brainstorm how Google Forms and Spreadsheets could be harnessed in your own subject area. Please get together with two or three people around you and discuss the following questions.

  1. What do you teach or what is your role in your educational community?
  2. What role does data play in your field?
  3. How could you harness Google Forms and Spreadsheets to more efficiently and effectively collect and analyze data either for educational or productivity enhancing purposes?

Take 10 minutes and discuss these questions with the people around you. Once you’ve discussed the questions, follow the link below and share your your thoughts on how you could use Google Forms in your role as a member of a faculty or staff in an educational community.

Brainstorming Form – How can I use Google Forms to enhance data collection and analysis in my classroom or workplace?

At the end of this session, the results from everyone’s brainstorming session can be viewed publicly by clicking here: Google Forms for Data Analysis – Brainstorming Results

If you have any questions about how I use Google Forms or other Google Apps in the classroom, please send me an email at I hope you enjoyed today’s presentation, and thanks for coming!

One response so far

Aug 09 2012

Preparing for a new year of AP and IB Economics

Another summer has come to an end and I’m in my classroom preparing for another year of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Economics. There’s a lot to be excited about this year, including the fact that the co-author of my textbook, Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma, Sean Maley, has joined me at Zurich International School as a teaching partner. He will be taking two sections of IB Year 1, two of IB Year 2 and one AP Microeconomics this year. I will have the same IB load and one AP  Micro/Macro combined course.

I’m also excited because this year I will be using my brand new PowerPoints and Lecture Notes created over the summer, which are a huge improvement on their popular predecessors.

In addition to adding to the already large library of video lectures on The Economics Classroom created last year, I plan to produce even more 8-15 minute YouTube lessons covering the remaining topics from AP and IB Economics. For each new lesson I produce, I plan to create a practice activity to go with it (all of last year’s activities are already available for free here). I’ve received several requests from teachers and students for answer keys to go with each activity, which is also something I plan to create this year. By this time next year, I hope to have a workbook for AP and IB Economics available for purchase through my website.

Other exciting developments in Welker’s Wikinomics include:

  • Flashcards on key terms from every section of the AP and IB course, developed late last school year to help my students study for their exams,
  • A comprehensive glossary of over 330 Economics terms, also made for exam review last year,
  • Floating definitions on the Economics Classroom, so that no matter what post you’re looking at, the definition of any key term can be read without having to leave the page,
  • My free mobile app for the Android and iPhone, which provides convenient access to the mobile versions of both Economics in Plain English and The Economics Classroom, along with full access to the flashcards and glossary on your mobile device.

If you’re not already subscribed to the weekly update from Economics in Plain English and the Economics Classroom, go ahead and enter your email address into the field in the upper right hand corner of this blog, or on my home page. You’ll receive one email newsletter per week (Monday morning) containing the latest posts or video lessons put up in the last week. You can also follow me through your favorite social media, indluding:

As always, I love hearing from students and teachers using my resources. Please feel free to post your comments to this blog or send me emails directly at I love hearing suggestions and talking to teachers and students about Economics about any topic whatsoever!

Here’s to a new school year and another exciting year of Economic teaching and studies!

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Aug 03 2012

Macroeconomics and International Economics PowerPoints and Study Guides NOW AVAILABLE!

Published by under Lesson Plan,Teaching

Welker’s Wikinomics Lecture Notes – PowerPoint and PDF Study Guides: ORDER HERE!

Two weeks ago I finished a complete overhaul of my popular Microeconomics PowerPoints and Study Guides. Now the Macroeconomic and International Economics PowerPoints and Study Guides are ready to order.

Here’s what you get when you order the Macro and International Lecture Notes:

The Macroeconomics and International Economics Lecture Notes include the following units of study:

  •     1.0 Introduction to Economics (45 pages with 2 video lessons)
  •     2.1 GDP and its Determinants (23 pages with 3 video lesson)
  •     2.2 Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply (38 pages with 2 video lesson)
  •     2.3 Macroeconomic Objectives (40 pages with 3 video lessons)
  •     2.4 Fiscal Policy (28 pages with 5 video lessons)
  •     2.5 and 2.6 Monetary and Supply-side Policies (36 pages with 3 video lessons)
  •     3.1 Free Trade and Protectionism (27 pages with 3 video lessons)
  •     3.2 Exchange Rates (26 pages with 3 video lessons)
  •     3.3 Balance of Payments (24 pages with 4 video lessons)
  •     What you get: A 287 page set of lecture notes including 28 video lessons

Here’s a quick look at one of the units:

Sample Welker’s Wikinomics PowerPoint – Exchange Rates from Jason Welker
Follow the link at the top of this post or click HERE to order you lecture note bundle now!

One response so far

Jan 29 2012

Welker’s Wikinomics Video Lectures – 50 lessons and still growing!

Since September 2011 I have been producing and publishing around three video lessons per week covering the topics I’m teaching in my three Economics classes at any given time. With an AP Macro class, a year 1 and year 2 class going on all at the same time, this means I’ve been making videos covering everything from linear supply functions to protectionist quotas to monetary policy.

This week I posted my 50th video lesson. Since I began producing lessons on my YouTube channel, they’ve been viewed over 35,000 times and nearly 200 people have subscribed to my YouTube feed.

If you haven’t checked out my new website, The Economics Classroom, consider subscribing to the weekly newsletter from that site. You’ll receive one email a week with links to the latest videos covering Micro, Macro and International concepts. In addition, I’ve been creating and posting free worksheets, practice activities and even unit quizzes and tests to the resource page.

If you’re wondering what my videos are like, check out the one I posted tonight to introduce the new IB Year 1 unit on Theory of the Firm, which I’ll start teaching on Tuesday this week!


3 responses so far

Sep 26 2011

Pacing in the new IB Economics Syllabus – a special post for IB Economics teachers

Published by under IB Economics,Teaching

I received the following email from a new IB Economics teacher in Prague today:

Dear Jason,

While I’ve taught Economics previously at an international school in Indonesia, I’ve never taught it at the IB level.  I am having trouble working out a long term plan for sequencing my lessons to make sure to teach everything in depth enough.  I was wondering if you were willing to share some tips or even examples of your own planning tools.

I thought it might be helpful for other new IB Economics teachers out there if I shared how I pace my own class. Below is the overview of the new IB Economics syllabus, along with the chapter from my new textbook associated with each section, and the amount of time I spend teaching each unit.The following table presents a possible pace with which a class could move through the IB Economics syllabus, with the corresponding chapters from my textbook, Pearson Baccalaureate Economics

The timeline below is based on my school’s calendar over the two years of the IB program. In year 1 there are approximately 35 weeks (not all complete) of contact time with students. In year 2, IB classes meet for a total of 29 weeks, for a total of 64 weeks of contact time.

In my school, IB classes meet on average three times per week, for a total of 3.25 hours per week. Over the 64 weeks, an IB class will meet for a total of 208 hours. To meet the 240 hour requirement for instructional time from the IB, I use several online learning resources including this blog and Google docs assignments, as well as social bookmarking, and video lectures (learn more by exploring my resources at Welker’s Wikinomics)

2 responses so far

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