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Monday, August 29, 2011


I just found this link from twitter:  It leads to an interesting article about reforming STEM teachers and what not.  But what I like is apparently MIT created a repository of videos for use in STEM classrooms.  I haven't looked at the videos yet but the author of the above article relates these videos to Khan academy and I really like those.  Here is the link to BLOSSOMS: 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Review of Setting the Stage Reflection from June

In the first paragraph of my original post I discussed how I was used to reading with a highlighter and that I didn't know how to apply that skill online.  Well now I have found multiple tools that help in that area whether its using ditto or other tools, and I even updated my adobe reader and it includes highlighting the document and adding sticky notes to the text.  Fantastic!!

After going through this course I know quite a bit more about what it means for a tool to be 2.0.  It requires the tool to not only be useful but to have some sort of ability to share thoughts and ideas and comment on the thoughts and ideas of others.  This course has been a ton of fun going through different tools and finding what could be useful and how it could change my teaching or making something easier.

My thinking has changed a little in that I have a better understanding of what each of the articles was trying to get at when discussing the use of technology.  I still wonder if, in the end, most classes will have an introductory unit on technology that could, or will, be used in the class because there are so many options for tools.  Some students might already have some background knowledge on certain tools but I don't know that all students will have an idea of how to use all tools.  Something I have found is that for most web tools there is almost always a tutorial on youtube that shows how to use the tool.  The tutorials I have found also tend to be well written and really give a good idea of how to use a tool.  I have even noticed that some tools are incorporating those tutorial videos into the create an account page of their websites.  Awesome!

I would say that since I was originally open to the idea of web tools that my thinking hasn't changed so much as it has grown to include all the different tools and ideas that we have discussed in this class.  This class has been a great opportunity to explore web-based tools and pick each other's brains for ideas on how to integrate those tools!

Thank you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FInal Project 2

Here is my final project.  I have taken my wiki page for Biology A and changed it to reflect my idea for flipping my classroom.  Each of the eight units includes a video or videos that introduce the concept along with different activities to help students grasp the concept.  It took two almost five minutes screen casts of to do my project justice and you can find them embedded below:

I decided to use screen casts to explain my project because I thought it would be easier to both see the changes and hear why or why not I made certain changes for my class.

If you have any ideas or suggestions please include them as comments.  I am really interested to hear what people think about the flipped class and my idea of how to implement that idea in my class situation!


Desire to Learn Discussion Reflection

I thought that the Desire to Learn (D2L) discussion assignment was a really nice way of having everyone come together in groups and discuss what we have liked, disliked, or need help with from this course.  This course has been really open-ended and allowed us the freedom to do what we wish in the framework of web tools.  Through the discussion we were able to link our thoughts together and here new ideas that may have been floating around but were not on any of the blogs we have been following.  It also helped to keep everyone posted on new comments unlike googlereader.  Though I just saw a classmate post on co.mments which sounds like it allows you to save a post that you commented on and tells you when someone else comments on that post, which sounds amazing to me because I keep asking questions and then forgetting which blog I posted on and then never finding the answer to my question.

The D2L discussion was a great way to wrap up our ideas on what we have learned the most about in a concise format and lead to great discussions on what was the "best" tool or tools we found and how those tools will affect our teaching this year.  I have come to realize how important my personal learning network (PLN) is and how I will continue to use it to find new ideas in science education and to apply them to my teaching scenario.

As an aside, I am thinking about writing a post on here about how to create a PLN and things you can do to make your PLN do the work for you in finding great information.  One of the reasons for this is I am going to invite my colleagues at my school to read through this blog and I think it might be useful to provide the "how-to" of constructing a PLN for educators interested in continuing their thoughts and ideas for their classrooms!  Please comment if you have any ideas for this!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Final Project 1

For my final project I want to flip my Biology class.  My goal is to flip all my classes but I wanted to start with one first.  My thought is that I can use my wiki to store the videos and assignments for the class so students could use that as a resource for the entire course.  Different parts of the project will include finding and adding videos to the wiki in their appropriate spaces.  Giving directions for what students are expected to do during or after viewing a video and any assignments that go along with the video.  My vision is that students would be able to watch a short video, take notes or come up with a few discussion points for each video that they would post on their blog and discuss with classmates and me, and then the majority of our class time would be spent doing activities, labs, and simulations to actually do the ingraining and teaching of the scientific thoughts and processes.

For the first part of the final project I wanted to show what the wiki looks like right now in a screen cast, with a microphone, to explain what the wiki has now and where I want to take it.  I used a different screen cast tool this time, screenr, which was easy to use like the other web-based tools but you only have 5 minutes of time again.  I recently found a fantastic user on youtube called bozemanbiology and he has tons of fantastic podcasts and videos for many scientific ideas and he uses a couple of different types of software to make his videos, which tend to be 10 minutes long, and he pays for those software because they are better quality and allow you to edit the video.  I think if I decide to make my own videos, down the line, I will have to put some money into buying some quality software for my computer.

Here is the first screencast: