Friday, January 13, 2012

Tool #10

1. I want my students to know about digital communication and how to make appropriate choices when communicating with others in the digital world.  I also want them to know about digital security and how to protect their computers and themselves against viruses & surges.  I believe it important to teach digital etiquette since people tend to feel braver and say things they wouldn't to someone's face when they are hidden in the virtual world.
2. I can see myself using NetsSmartz videos to introduce internet safety to my students.  Based on what I saw, these videos would put some reality to the horror stories you hear about and students will probably relate better if it comes from someone their own age and not a nagging mom or teacher!
3. I would probably use some of these same videos to teach digital citizenship.
4. I think I would consider sharing this information on digital citizenship with my students' parents through a letter sent home and maybe a link on my website.

Tool #9

It is important to tie technology to the objective for several reasons: First, the use of technology must be relevant and congruent to the objective and not just there for the sake of using technology.  If there isn't value to using technology in a lesson, don't use it!  Secondly, when it IS appropriate for the lesson, technology makes the lesson more engaging and enhances the learning.

Stations are a great way to incorporate technology into a lesson, but students must know that they will be held accountable.  How many times have we given students the opportunity to use a computer or phone for research or some other virtual activity only to find them on Facebook (for social reasons) or texting?  Students need a clear picture of what will be expected of them and what will be acceptable use and non-acceptable use.  It is also helpful for them to have something that must be produced to hold them accountable, i.e. analysis questions, etc that can be shared via Google Docs with the teacher.

This year, I stumbled upon a Natural Selection Game that tied in perfectly to an adaptation lab activity my Biology classes do.  The kids ATE.IT.UP!  I had to share it with my co-workers and they have also reported that their kids {LOVE} it!  So this online game could be part of a station and the Tiger Stripes adaptation activity could be how we hold them accountable.  Science NetLinks is also an amazing site chock full of animations, interactive websites, and activities that would lend themselves perfectly to station creation.  I was also fond of Thinkfinity, which is a lot like Science NetLinks - great games & tools to enhance learning and engage the learner.  I saw virtual dissections, interactive human body stuff - just perfect for Bio!

There are lots of cool apps that I explored also.  I like the Cell & Cell Structure app.  This app would be a great intro or review into cell structure!  The animations and pictures are so cool!  It's a bit pricey at $2.99, so if you are putting it and others on all your iPads it will add up, but maybe we can figure out some departmental or technology funding to help ease the cost. The app is neat too - I have used TED-talks before in my classes.  Students could view a talk on a current topic and then right a reflection blog or Edmodo conversation debating/discussing it.

I plan on using my iPads & Netbooks for data collection, having students create video tutorials, making timelines, doing research, creating presentations.  Endless possibilities.  So excited!


Tool #8

1. I learned that Net books are basically just smaller, handier laptops.  I learned how to take photos and videos on Net books.  The benefit of this over the iPad 2 is that it has a projector port, so students could just plug right in and present different information to the class.  I also learned that students will no be able to use them if they & their parents have not signed the usage form at the beginning of the year.  I have an iPad so most of the info I learned was familiar to me.  All teachers have to have separate iTunes accounts from their own personal account.  The creation of podcasts, using FaceTime and countless other apps is really going to enhance & engage learning in the classroom.  I {LOVE} that the kids iPads will be synchronized to my laptop so that I can monitor what they are doing to ensure they are on-task.

2. I plan on setting ground rules & expectations for use of the Net books & iPads. We will discuss the synchronization and make them aware that I will be monitoring what sites they are visiting and making sure they are on-task.  I also plan on implementing one lab group per week that will be in charge of making sure the iPads and Net books are returned/stored in the proper manner.  

Tool #7

Content Objective: Students will analyze data from fruit fly crosses of red and sepia eyes collected by Biology students.

When implemented: Students will be introduced to this project at the conclusion of our genetics unit as a form of independent practice of the skills they have been taught.  This will illustrate how predicted outcomes of genetic crosses using punnett squares model real life data.

Tools used:  Edmodo to communicate info between myself and the students, as well as peer-peer communication.  Could also use this to find other classrooms across the world that would like to share data - maybe couple with Skype???; Google Docs for data collection spreadsheets & creating presentations.

Description: Students will set up a cross between first generation flies that have red eyes to determine second generation outcomes.  This will give them the information necessary to determine the genotype of each generation.  Students will use Google Docs to record data into spreadsheets that can be shared with me, each other, and other classes both in our school and outside of it.  Presentations of the findings can be made in Google Docs as well.

Tool #6

1. I used Voice Thread.  Here's how I used it:  
 It's very easy to embed, but would be better to just link to it, so students can see the full document.

I of course, already have a Google Docs and mentioned in Tool #4 how I have used it & plan to continue using it.

Tool #5

BigHugeLabs Mosaic Maker could easily be used in the classroom.  I envision using it for a classification assignment or maybe even to create hands-on activities.  Students could use it for projects on genetic disorders, bacteria & viruses, etc.  

Wordle has lots of personal uses, but could also be easily adapted for the classroom.  Kids could use this for vocabulary terms or to review for a final.  It would be fun to put all of the vocab terms learned together at the end of the year to show kids just how much they have learned - they'd probably be amazed!    

Tool #4

Julie & I worked on information about Tool #9 together, shared it with each other only initially and then once we were finished, we shared it with several other science teachers.  This would be great for lesson planning/tweaking.  I have already used this some in my classes.  Last semester, my students did a project on genetic disorders.  They would use Google Docs to create a presentation, share it with their partner while they are working on it and then finally, they had to share it with me.  I used the comments feature while grading and the kids had immediate feedback.  It worked perfectly!  

I created a form with 2 goofy questions and shared with two other teachers.  This would be great for quizzes, checking for understanding or even for student-generated quizzes or warm-ups.

Tool #3

1. I find that Discovery Education and YouTube are the most user-friendly and would be tools I might actually use in my classroom.  I tend to already use PBS, so it would be helpful to just embed the things I use into my flipcharts.  
2. Here are two videos that I use regularly in my classes.  The first is part of PBS' Evolution series.  YouTube cuts the movie into segments, so you would have to embed all segments and click each one as the previous ones ends.  That kind of sucks, but it would work in a pinch!
The 2nd one is a video I use to introduce Genetics and the work of Gregor Mendel.  It is by a Biology teacher named Mrs. Harvey and she is very brave to get up and rap to her students!  I love it and the kids love it too!  Embedding it sure saves time hunting for the websites, etc.  
3. Basically, I learned that teachers are pretty well protected against copyright infringement as long as we are not selling or distributing it.  In addition, if you have your stuff password protected and not available to the general public.  Section 110 of US Copyright Law states that teachers are allowed to repurpose material for face-to-face instruction in a non-profit institution.  Teachers have a lot of leeway that other professions do not - score one for the teachers!
4. I already have a Dropbox account and I also use Picasa for pictures.  I don't believe students will use Dropbox very often because we have Google Docs.  I however might use Dropbox to put flipcharts in so that I can access them from my home computer.  

Tool #2

I visited many co-workers blogs.  It was fun to see their avatars and widgets and see what neat things they have been doing or creating with the tools they are discovering!  I have used Google Reader since completing the 23 Things & 11.5 Things a couple of summers ago.  It's very handy to have everything in one place and see it all in a glance.  A real time saver!  I follow Wired Science and The Onion on my other gmail account since I use Google Reader with that account more often.  I have used articles seen here in the past to introduce some current scientific events to my students so that they can see science & biology in the real world.

PLNs are a cool way to collaborate with other educators.  I love hearing or seeing things others do and then adapting them to my own students' needs.  It always helps to have a fresh set of eyes on a topic!  Since PLNs are for feedback, you just have to make sure that you monitor your commenting - keep it clean, constructive and professional since it's there for all to see.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tool #1

I have used Blogger for years so I find the program to be pretty user friendly and had no trouble creating my blog.  I totally understand the necessity for students to use an avatar instead of their real picture, but I find Voki to be sort of cheesy.  It was easy enough to navigate, but a bit ridiculous!