praying mantis from our front yard

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Follow Up on Setting the Stage

Most of the feedback that I received from my my peers after my initial post was in agreement with many of the points that I mentioned.  I ( and others) still have some concerns with the reliability of technology in the schools.  For example just this week we were administering state tests online for a summer program, and one student was not allowed access to the test because the system did not acknowledge his entry code.  This ended up costing the student and personnel valuable time on the day of the incident, and tomorrow when he tests "again" he will have lost opportunities to work on projects.

However I am more excited to incorporate all the new technology that I learned about in this class, and so I feel that my early negativity has subsided.  I really look forward to teaching my students how to use technology using screen casts and incorporating shared documents for working on projects.  Hopefully I won't get so behind in the next few years, in terms of technology, otherwise I will be back for another round.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Final Project

So for the final project, I worked on my Edmodo page.  Here is a screencast (through Jing) that will teach my students how to use their Edmodo page,

Obviously this will continue to be a work in progress throughout the school year.  I hope that it will streamline some of the information for my students, and I hope that this will give students a chance to explore their opinions comfortably.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Web Tools Week 6

I used the Top 20 WebTool link to explore tools this week.  Here is what I came up with:
-  Wordle- cool tool, easy to use, I would like to create one per unit and have students use it to study with by making connections, perhaps they could use Mind42 to to this
- Linoit- I really want to use this tool, but I haven't had any luck yet creating an account.  I can envision using this on a personal level, having my students use this for major projects that require collaboration, and my Biology PLC using it for planning out our tasks for the year.
- Wallwisher- looks too similar to blogging for me to have my students use both, but perhaps for the classes that I won't be using Edmodo with.

Discussion Board thoughts...

After reading many of the reflections in my discussion group and writing my own reflections, it seems as though everyone has a positive opinion of their progress in the course.  While everyone had different opinions on what they will implement in their classroom and how, everyone learned something new.  I must admit when I first started the course I was overwhelmed and frustrated and concerned that I wouldn't get what I wanted out of the course.  But as time has gone on I can see how wrong I was.

I look forward to seeing everyone's final projects in the next week or so, since everyone has quite a different take on things.  I'm sure I will learn a lot just from reading them.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Web Tools Week 5

This week I looked at photo tools.  I felt that I was pretty familiar with programs associated with photos, but I was wrong.  First I looked at Flickr.  I know that is blocked by our school system, so I looked into at home.  For personal use I really like the ability to link pictures to maps- I found that really interesting- it gives visitors to your pictures a unique perspective.  Again thought it is blocked- so I can’t use it at work.
Then I looked at Picnik- which was awesome.  I can envision either taking photos and uploading them to this site or using their upload from the web feature, and having my students label diagrams, processes.  Here is an example of what my students might try:

I found Animoto and PhotoPeach to be very similar to PhotoStory, but perhaps easier to use and with the web access capability, I think that my students would find this easier to use.  Again though  I need to see if these are blocked at work.

Week 5 Reflection on Blogs and Wikis

Blogs and Wikis
The only blog that I have used to date in my classroom is Edmodo.  The only use that I have had for it was to post current events and have students respond to  those events.  So based on the Science 2.0 article on blogging I feel that I have a good start.  I feel like I am providing students with an opportunity to show that science is ongoing, like Elissa Hoffman stated.  However I would like to add to my blog and make it more useful for students.  I liked Chris Cimino’s suggestions on having students complete online simulations.  And after reviewing several other blogs last night I see that it can also be used as a platform for students projects for my review and for when students need to work together on a project.  This is where I will probably focus my attention for my final project.
As for wikis I am still not sold on them.  They seem to overlap greatly with blogs in terms of their use for group projects and feedback.  My other hangup on them is they are in chronological date order and I  am used to seeing most information on the internet in reverse date order.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Week 4 Readings

I enjoyed reading both chapters outs of the book this week.  Initially when I started reading Chapter 3, I was surprised by the study by Geban, Asker, and Ozman (1992) in which they found that student performance was better with online simulations than real labs.  I have always been under the impression that first-hand is better.  Then I started thinking about the problems that my students and I run in to with labs, lack of materials, failure to read directions, results just aren’t correct…and it became clear.  Removing all the extraneous issues from a lab allows the student to focus better.

In Chapter 6, I was truly introduced to a new concept.  I have only used data in my classroom one time, and the assignment had been borrowed from another teacher.  This type of lesson just never really entered my mind.  I really liked the arsenic well example, and plan on trying to do something like this for my assignment this week.