Monday, November 12, 2012

My first attempt at Educreations!

Lately I have started making mini-video tutorials for my students. I record them in educreations and then can copy the link and post it on our class website. The kids click on the link and the video opens in their web-browser, so it works whether they are on the iPad or not!

Now I'm totally self-conscience of the sound of my recorded voice - and I seem to go an octave higher as I talk through these problems. It's a little cheesy sounding.

Here's my first attempt: Nuclear Symbols. This 2 minute video took me about 5 tries, but came out ok. It is on finding the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom when given the atom's nuclear symbol. I didn't make watching this tutorial mandatory. I just told my students I'd posted it and it turns out almost all of them went and watched it. They were really excited to tell me they'd seen it and that it helped them a lot (their subsequent quiz on atomic number, mass number, protons, neutrons, and electrons attested to that as well). They seem totally amused to hear my voice over the computer... I wonder when that will wear off!

This morning I recorded two more tutorials for my classes.

Electron Configuration and the PTable

Electron Configuration and Valence Electrons

 Each one only took one try and I finished both in the time it took my husband to make me waffles for breakfast! They are better than the first, though still my voice gets higher and higher as I go. These will be part of a homework assignment. They will watch the videos (students more advanced should only have to watch the second one) and then answer a bunch of questions. We'll see how it goes this week!

Here are the links to the videos above: Electron Configuration and the Periodic Table and Electron Configuration and Valence Electrons.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

iPad inspiration: Saturday Nov 10th, 2012

Just this week I went to the EdTech Teacher iPad Summit at Harvard Med School. After two days surrounded by people immensely excited by how iPads (and other handheld devices) can and will change the face of education, I was finally inspired to start writing about my experiences. I am part of an iPad pilot team at the all boys high school where I teach Chemistry and Anatomy and Physiology. My Anatomy class will be getting iPads to use 24 hrs a day starting second semester. In preparation for that, I am trying to use the communal iPad cart as often as I can get my hands on it (which isn't all that often since I work with lots of other motivated and creative people also using the cart). I am working closely with the other 5 teachers and memebers of the tech department involved in the pilot. We meet weekly, give each other ideas, and generally talk, blog, email, and google-doc our experiences. 

Anyway after two days at the conference two themes hit home:

1) Time! Teachers need more time to find ways to use iPads to transform learning. Particularly time to play with the iPads, to get crazy new ideas and to share apps and ideas with each other. It seems a lot of the school administrators I spoke to  at the conference think teachers are resisting the iPad idea because teachers are stodgy or uncreative or afraid of losing control. In talking to teachers however, the problem seems to be more of one of time and support. Saying "we support you with the iPad" is one thing. Devoting paid time to play with apps, develop new ideas and practice is another. 

2) The SAMR model:
The SAMR model basically says that iPads can be introduced into the classroom in many ways. The least helpful way (and most annoying way in my opinion) is just to substitute the iPad for the current tool, but not actually change the lesson at all. In some cases the iPad may be replacing something that already works well (i.e. take written copy-this-down notes on with this app instead of on paper). Although this can be fun and can reduce paper, this is not the best way to use the iPad. The real goal is to use iPads to do things we’ve never been able to do or maybe never even thought of before. I spent most of the conference taking notes on ideas I am developing to transform how the students learn, rather than on just what the presenters were saying. Now I just need the time to further explore my ideas, watch videos on line, read blogs, and figure out how to make them happen!!

The best session I attended at the conference was by 4 women from NTA in Chicago.  Each of these presenters are currently teaching in the classroom (which, unfortunately is not who usually runs professional development sessions). These four teachers from Chicago described how they have introduced the iPad as a tool for learning in different ways. They discussed real ideas that are actually manageable and could be transformative as well. Over the course of this year I hope to update this blog with some of the ideas that I 'stole' and how I work to implement them in my classroom - as well as the ideas of my own that have springboarded from what I've learned. In the meantime, check out the blog of Jenni Magiera's: My fellow teacher Elizabeth showed this blog to me today and we realized it was one of the amazing presenters.  

Ok -well this is a start. Until I actually have another free minute to write - have fun!