Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thing #23

I almost do not know where to begin as I reflect over these 23 things. The number is actually not that grand, but what I have learned is huge. My learning curve has increased dramatically and I feel as if I have tools to play with this year that will add greater depth to my teaching. A sincere thanks to each of the captains.
  1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? I really have wanted to be able to blog with students for a long time. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I intend to start this communication by throwing out questions about current events in hopes of encouraging conversation within the classes.
  2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? I always tell students that it isn't a good day if you have not learned something new, even in the summer. Wow, has that been true of mine.
  3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? I did not know much about wikis and I am really pleased to have this new medium for students to use with projects and group work. I'll have to write about the outcome. I feel certain that after using this format, I will make modifications. I also found Rollyo to be a potential time saver.
  4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? The main problem I had was with the computer itself. Ex. the microphone and being certain the internal one was on. This particular Dell computer is new to me and I had less experience with it.
  5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? Most assuredly. I can actually use the majority of what I have learned.
  6. How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities? After many professional development sessions that the district has offered, I can say this is one of the top ones.
  7. Now go and comment on some of the other Players' blogs? Will do!

Thing #22

I reviewed Teacher Thing and found it to be rather interesting. I actually prefer a site that is just for teachers when I am searching for instructional materials. This decreases the time spent "hunting". It was relatively painless to locate high school ninth grade biology worksheets, labs, etc. I did not have the same luck with more advanced items, ie., AP Biology. Perhaps this is to be expected since there are fewer teachers in this field on a nationwide basis.

One other point, is that as a long time member of this district, I have a number of "tried and true" labs that I often use; therefore, some of the ones I saw here might be more useful to beginners. I plan to mention this at our science curriculum meetings in a few weeks. This said, I often tire of using the same materials over and over. Who knows? As I continue to peruse this site, I might find something better.

Thing #21

I decided to use Photostory to experiment with. I selected pictures from a family vacation in the summer of 2007. I had so much fun and cannot wait to use this during the school year. The entire process was very time consuming because I had never done anything like this before. My first problem was with the audio. My computer was set to an external microphone instead of the internal one. Perhaps this was due to the docking station that I normally use during the school year. My second issue was the actual uploading of the finished product. I tried to embed the actual project instead of the Real Player file. Once both of these situations were remedied, I had smooth sailing, so to speak.

Hope you enjoy two of my boys!!!

Thing #20

I have found many wonderful clips on You Tube. It is easy to navigate through the sites and spend an entire day just watching the ones that deal with science. I like this one in particular. I am not sure why, but I had to use Zamzar to upload this clip and the one that follows.

Teacher Tube had many videos that focus on biology, but I thought this one was pertinent for students when we talk about the impact of microbes and antibiotic resistance.

Thing #19

Revolution Health is wonderful, filled with great information. I frequently make a point of talking about some current health issues because many of them link to what we are studying in biology.

Upcoming, a site that posts events planned for Houston, was interesting to me. The education tab listed events that might be of interest to students and me as well. Locations included Museum of Natural Science, Rice University, and the Holocaust Museum. All offer great programs.

I checked out Twitter, too. I imagine it would be very interesting to try particularly with my biological children.
They are adults with their own lives and I would enjoy knowing how they spend their days.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thing #18

I often take for granted that all students at my school have Open Office with PowerPoint capability. Of course, this is not always correct. The good news is the free software. I actually used this last year on a computer in my classroom. Students might download this at home, too.

I think that Google docs might be an answer to another problem that I have encountered. When students do their work at home and bring it to school on a flash drive, I will sometimes run into problems with my computer recognizing the device. Perhaps, Google docs might be an easier format for the classroom.

Thing #17

Rollyo is a great way to help students find the websites that are most helpful. I have noticed that they become quite frustrated when given a research assignment involving the Internet. As indicated in the video, Google overwhelms them with the vast number of choices. I set up my Rollyo account and plan to update it according to the units that we cover as students are given assignments. The address is http://rollyo.com/straitj/.

The process was overall relatively simple, but I think this was because of the clear directions given by Bruce Goodner.