Duck, Duck, Goose!

 

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I am a people watcher, an observer if you will.  But more importantly than that, I am a listener.  My students often say to me “how did you hear that”?  To which I reply – “Did you forget, I am a mom”?  But honestly – I think it is very important to listen to the chatter that happens in school, especially before class begins.  It is at this time that I am able to truly find out who my student are and where their interests lie.  It is in these conversations that I am consciously observing (sight and sound) what types of learners I have in my room.  Some are checking their texts or texting someone, some are reading a book in between classes, some are snapchatting and some are just talking to one another!  You see, by observing these individuals, I am able to design meaningful lessons that engage my students in their own learning styles.

Like Logan, I need my class to be kinesthetic, visual and interactive or I get bored…and if I am bored it is guaranteed that my students will be!  My classes are guided by Google Slides but embedded within those slides are varying types of media including “games” (Kahoot, mentimeter) for student interaction.  I am conscious of the people in my room, and I try to tap into their learning styles during the class.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-10-09-28-pmIn this screenshot of one of my googleslides – I have video embedded within text – this hits on my audio learner as well as my visual learner.

 

I am a science teacher.  Some of the concepts that I am teaching about are either too dangerous to expose my students to, too expensive as a field trip, or just too abstract to explain with text alone (think bonding in chemistry – thank you to bozeman science ,  crash course, Discovery news).

Different media (text, video, picture) all contain a unique experience to the learner.  The learner needs to combine the mental integration of the written information along with the type of media that is presented (video, picture) to help enforce the content learned thus creating or building upon a deeper level understanding of the subject knowledge being conveyed.  This is especially true when conveying abstract knowledge vs concrete knowledge.  Media can relay concrete knowledge in a variety of forms while abstract knowledge is generally relayed through content.  But in science, there are very good computer simulations that can help students understand abstract knowledge or knowledge of microscopic processes (bonding of a chemical).  The learning of such concepts needs to be structured in such a way that allows for the students to learn and understand the content – depending on the types of learners you have in your classroom, this could be very tightly or loosely arranged.

The power of video helps put a visual to the abstract.  The above youtube channels are so well done, why wouldn’t I use them?  And honestly, sometimes a good movie trailer is the best hook that I can have to get my students attention. This is how I introduced Environmental Science 20 this semester.  They are totally hooked now!

As Bates points out one of the strengths of video is that it is able to “link concrete events and phenomena to abstract principles and vice versa” as well as “demonstrate ways in which abstract principles or concepts developed elsewhere in the course have been applied to real-world problems”.  

I completely agree with Andrew, giving students choice in the type of medium the students choose to learn, is giving power in learning to the student.  Students have choice in the way they use the media presented to them, they can choose to listen to the screencast (if they learn better being taught in a traditional lecture style) or they can use the notes given and supplemental videos provided.

Not to ignore text, as Ashley points out, audio may be best to learn a language.  But as a science teacher, I personally find that video works best for my preferred method of learning. It’s not that I don’t listen to audio, it’s just that some concepts are difficult for me to picture without a visual for reinforcement.  BUT, I do have my student listen to snippets of StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson (honestly, how could we not, our class guinea pig is named Tyson, and not after Mike).tyson

As Bates speaks about in his framework for analyzing pedagogical characteristics, I am definitely a connectionist teacher as I try to give as much power to my learners as possible.  I also like to have power in how I learn! Therefore, as I reflect on my preferred medium of learning would be video and text as my top two and that is reflective in my own style of teaching.  But as Amy notes in her vlog, I really am enjoying having a PLN in an online space via this course and an opportunity to learn from each other.

So to bring this back to my title, don’t be afraid to be a goose in a flock of ducks – do what is best for you and your students.  Do you agree?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Puzzles! Puzzles! Who Love’s Puzzles????

Well, this week I thought I would try my first ever vlog!  I used screencastify to review EDpuzzle.  Actually, I really did learn a lot this week as I had to learn how to use screencastify, EDpuzzle AND upload from Google Photos to Youtube!  I know that I am no Casey Neistat, but I can’t wait to polish up my vlogging skills and add some of these into my modules.

Now to rate both screencastify and EDpuzzle:

Strengths:  

  • I love the fact that I can use a video already made with Edpuzzle – why re-invent the wheel?
  • Screencastify was super easy to use!  I also liked that there is a box where you can see the person giving the lesson at the bottom, I feel that it makes the lesson a bit more personal.
  • It is very easy to add to your own youtube channel – just make sure in google photo setting that you have the sharing set “on”.

Weaknesses:  

  • I am unsure if I would use EDpuzzle to make audio notes or voice over when using a video that does have a lot of speaking on it already.  I did note that the voice movement and sound were a little off – so if you are easily distracted by the two not matching up, this may bother you.
  • The only weakness that I have found so far with screencastify is that when you move your cursor over an area, the focus “circle” gets in the way.  Does anyone know if you can shut that off?

Potential:

  • Easy peasy to use and make quick videos for your students – think of the potential for snow days! Lol!  Honestly, this is something that I will definitely be using in my classes.

Update – I had a goal last week to have all of my students using Canvas to be comfortable with it within 5 days.  Woohoo!  Surpassed that quickly.  By the end of the first period they were navigating around the site very easily, using the discussion and collaboration components of the LSM and have been sending me documents to mark – all within this platform.  So far, so good.  Also – I have only received email contact from Canvas and no phone calls.  I did respond to the email once and have not heard anything since.  🙂 

 

Update:  I have also been directed towards another site called PlayPostit which allows you to insert questions directly into videos such as Crash Course, TedEd, Ted, etc…  This is a nice site because you can use pre-made “bulbs” (videos already created) or you can make your own.  The only things that I could not find on this site were how to upload to my own “bulb” to my YouTube channel and the search function would not allow you to really narrow your search down.  I think I like EdPuzzle better than this site, but it is nice to have options.  Check out the link below:

PlayPostit

Canvas – My Scientific Hypothesis

 

hypothesis

A hypothesis is simply defined as an “educated guess”.  In class, I have my students create hypotheses all the time.  I am looking for my students to make predictions (or educated guesses) as a centre of focus within their exploration of topics.

Okay – so I have had a change of heart with the module that I am going to be working on.  I have decided to forgo working on Science 10 and focus on Environmental Science 20 AP – a course that I am teaching semester 2. Why the reason for the switch?  Simple – I want to take canvas on a “test run”, and the only way to accurately do that was to test it out on a class that I am currently prepping for.  My rational is very similar to Sarah’ s post about her grade 9 music class. To gather data, and feedback from my students.  I have chosen the advanced placement students for this data collection for a few reasons:  they will need to be independent learners (I teach the at the same time as the regular environmental science group) and I feel that they will be the be very honest about their experience with Canvas.  I also think that these students will be very strong advocates for themselves and their educational goals, therefore if something is not right on Canvas, I will no doubt hear about it immediately!   The data I am searching for is how user friendly this platform is and I am looking to see if the students will be able to independently keep a pace that is required for completion of the course (I have entered all important dates into their class calendar as gentle reminders and I have entered approximate timeframes for each lesson on the google slide presentation – we only have 3 months to complete the course).  I also really like how it is compatible with Google Drive, which I use all the time now.

hypotheisPhoto Credit: old-fogey Flickr via Compfight cc

My hypothesis for this course module is:  IF I use the Canvas LMS platform and create a  self-directed course module (Atmospheric Systems) for my APES students, THEN the students will  become comfortable with the program within 5 school days and be able to keep pace and move through the course content  independently of the regular ES20 students.

I am very intrigued about Google Classroom, although I have decided not to look at it simply because I don’t want to be focusing on a LMS platform that my school division will not support, right Lindy?

So I decided to explore Edmodo, I really liked how easy the platform looked and it allowed for quizzes and polls. I also really liked that you could attach directly from Google Drive right into Edmodo!  This is something that I went back to canvas to search for and did not see it right away, but once I added on the app, voila, there is was!  In the process, I also found a lot of other LTI apps to add to Canvas!  screen-shot-2017-01-29-at-7-46-07-pm

In the end, I found that Canvas was going to be more functional for me than Edmodo, and although I would love to try out Google Classroom, I just don’t want to dip my toe into something I know that I will not be allowed to implement into my own teaching practice right away.

While reading Audrey Watter’s post, I, like Katherine, did some sole searching about the way I am using technology in my educational pedagogy.

“We in education can reclaim the Web and more broadly ed-tech for teaching and learning. But we must reclaim control of the data, content, and knowledge we create.”

It had me thinking about the closing date that I have put on my APES modules; do I really want the course to close on June 30?  Or, should I keep it open forever?  If I keep it open forever, will I lose control of the data, content and knowledge that I have created???  I know that I can make my courses by invite only, but I can also share them on commons.  Do I want to do that, should I?

Does anyone else feel this way too?

I then did some more research on LMS and VLE‘s.  I wanted to know more about these systems and stumbled upon this video from Stephen Downes where he discussed the difference between an LMS and a PLE.

 

I really liked the way he described the LMS as being personalized, while the PLE is depersonalized.  Also, his smiley face drawings were fun!  minionsMaybe what I have been wanting to create all along for my students are PLE’s and I just haven’t figured it out yet. I am hoping that canvas will allow for this with their collaboration tool.

Maybe this will become an add on to my hypothesis?

 

The Start of Something New

blended learning Photo Credit: giulia.forsythe Flickr via Compfight cc

After some deep thinking about this project, and communication with my ACE team at PVSD, I have decided to work on this project individually.  The reason for this is simply because I hope to design an action-research project for my thesis based on hosting a synchronous science 10 blended curriculum (with another school in my division) and I am beginning the process of putting together a proposal for approval.  synchronous learning

 

Photo Credit: giulia.forsythe Flickr via Compfight cc

I hope to have this ready to go for semester 2 of the 2017-18 school year.  Working on this throughout this course will really give me a good opportunity to develop the program while learning and getting feedback from everyone in #eci834 at the same time. I have decided to focus on the Chemistry unit of the Science 10 curriculum.

This week I have begun by first looking at a LMS platform to use.  Originally I would have loved to use Google Classrooms, however, just like Kara (as we belong to the same school division), this is out of the question!  Therefore, I continued to look and have decided to give Canvas a try, it “feels” very user friendly, and the price was right (free if you are willing to be the administrator of your own course, otherwise there is a cost if you want to use a pre-built course).  Has anyone tried Canvas before?  What are the pros and cons if you have tried it?  I am looking for tips before I begin building my module.

As I started to think about how I wanted this module to look and feel, I referred back to Tony Bates chapter 9.3 and focused on the four questions that are suggested we each ask ourselves when deciding what type of mode of delivery to implement:

  • who are  – or could be – my students?
    • I am focusing on science 10 students, in reality I could have students in grade 9 that are taking science 10 in their second semester after having successfully completed science 9 in the first semester.  I could also have students in grade 11 who are either have not taken science 10 yet, or are needing to re-take the course.
  • what is my preferred teaching approach?
    • Synchronous alongside another teacher (more on this later) with a “home school” teacher.
  • what are the content and skills that I need to teach?
    • Science 10 Chemistry unit content as well as lab skills via the scientific method – how to do this????  This is where the home school teacher comes into play.  I hope to teach the course with one or two other teachers at the same time, each of us being a specialist in one of the units within the course – the physics specialist will teach the physics content of the course, I will teach the chemistry content as I am the chemistry specialist, etc…  The classes need to be scheduled at the same time.  The idea is to have the class operate very much like our class does and use Zoom to have the specialist teach all students from all participating schools – they will be there to lecture, ask questions, etc… All labs and demos will be done in all schools at the same time – allowing any questions that students may have can asked to the specialist teacher – but the home school teacher will be there to help the students directly with questions as well.  Each teacher will mark their own students work, this should not be a “make work” project.  BUT it will require a lot of collaboration and planing for a first run through with all teachers involved.  Which is why Canvas may work out well as teachers can import Google Docs into the course.  This idea may even work with students whom are on home based programs – they could log in and still be part of the class virtually when not physically able.  Do you see any roadblocks  to this?  I am looking for input as I am working on a proposal and would love the feedback!
  • what resources will I have to support my decision?
    • Technology!  Zoom, Google Docs, time to work with the other teachers and of course ETHICS and support from divisions, schools and the U of R.

This week we were asked to begin thinking out loud about our plans, I think I may have more questions now than I had when I began composing this blog – but then again, that may have been the idea, right?

 

Here We Go Again….

 

Yay!  I am so exited for this class!  This may be the most excited I have been for a class yet because I feel that this class will really set the tone for my future educational goals.  This is my last class before I begin my thesis (which will have a concentration on blended learning – thus the excitement for this class).  It is so nice to see so many familiar faces in this class.  This is the third class that I have taken from Alec & Katia.

Bill Nye #celebrate GIPHY

 

 

 

 

Bill Nye #celebrate GIPHY

Just like Logan, Robin and Andrew, I am a high school science teacher (Biology, Health Science, Environmental Science AP, Science 10) and I work at Lumsden High School in the Prairie Valley School Division.  I have also had a lot to do with the new science curriculum for Saskatchewan: I wrote the Health Science 20 curriculum, have helped with both the Health Science 21 and Environmental Science 21 curriculums, and am on the secondary science implementation support team (check out Blackboard for new resources).  I am also very involved with science in Saskatchewan and Canada, I am a board member on the SSTS , a chair for the Canada Wide Science Fair 2017 (in Regina this year) and STEAM 2017 (taking place during CWSF).  Needless to say, I am a true science NERD – and very proud to be one!  1811990309

This school year has brought about big changes in my life – I transferred out of administration and back into the science classroom full time (and to a new school) AND both of my sons have moved out of the house and are away at post-secondary schooling – my husband and I are empty nesting! Rhys, our oldest son, is currently finishing the REL program in Prince Albert and hopes to work as a Conservation Officer.  Dayne, our youngest son is in his first year of electrical engineering at U of S.  Although I do miss them, I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t quieter at homeimg_0464_1024

I am a dog lover and currently have three dogs at home – two Border Collies and one mini Dachshund.  Tess will eventually go to live with Rhys full-time once he is done school in April.  Meek and I are currently training to compete in the agility ring!

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The goals that I have for myself in this class are:

  1. Continue to practice creating engaging blogs (both for this class and my school blog).
  2. Work on a science 10 module which will aid in my thesis action research project which is focused on opening up science education to all students taught by “masters” in their fields.
  3. Participate in more Twitter chats to connect with other educators with similar teaching pedagogies.

Is My Major Project Really Over???

We are yet again at the end of a semester of #edtech.  And although this is technically “the end” of EC&I 831, I really do not feel a sense of closure (and I don’t feel that Alec and Katia would want us to either), but instead a continuation of EC&I 832 and a personal pedagogical change for the better.  As was last semester, my major project was a journey – a web of sorts – rather than a chain.  It was not a one way flow of energy rather a branching in different paths while maintaining the same ancestral point of entrance – divergent evolution!

  1.  Since I focused on having my students create blogs last semester, I felt that it was time for me to focus on myself and how I can advance my own educational pedagogy.  I chose to concentrate my major project on MOOCs, specifically to introduce myself to a new way of learning and possibly a new way of facilitating a course.  The idea of a MOOC first piqued my interest during the last week on November 30th when we explored the Dave Cormier’s concept of Rhizomatic Learning, learning without a middle or an end.  I will admit, as a science teacher, the term “rhizomatic” made a lot of sense to me, I fundamentally understood this concept before I researched it.  Yet, as a learner I was a bit confused about how nodules related to learning and I wanted to put energy into this topic, especially after attending #etmooc in January. EVERYTHING CLICKED after that hour!  I was hooked and left wanting to be part of a MOOC community. I explored the internet in Here A MOOC, There A MOOC, Everywhere A MOOC, MOOC.  I enrolled in a MOOC called “Reading to Learn in Science” as I felt that if I was to put energy into this than not only would I ensure that I would learn, so would my students!
  2. Just In Time!  Yes, I had enrolled in the “Reading to Learn in Science” class just in time, and was only a few weeks behind, but with the amount of time allowed for each section I was able to easily catch up. I was really enjoying the flexibility a MOOC allowed for participants.  I began to look for places in Canada that used MOOCs and was pleasantly surprised that BC has been exploring these as OER platforms. This week, I was introduces to the concept of a COOL course, this is something that I will look into further as they are intriguing.
  3. Due to the amount of time between sessions in the MOOC I was participating in, I was only able to post about the content of the course about once per month.  Already I was beginning to feel that this MOOC was not a connectivist MOOC (cMOOC) but rather an xMOOC – and I quickly began to discover that this was not what I was hoping to become involved in. In Science – the Mother Subject, I concentrated on literacy supports that can be utilized within the science classroom rather than conversations with other science teachers about what can be gained from one another.
  4. More than One MOOC!?!  Alec encouraged me to look into MOOCs as there were many of them, I knew about CMOOCs and xMOOCs, but these?   transferMOOCs, madeMOOCs, synchMOOCs, asynchMOOCs, adaptiveMOOCs, groupMOOCs and miniMOOCSs.  It was really through my research of MOOCs that I learned that I truly relate more to the connectivists (developed by George Seimens and Stephen Downes) rather than behaviorist learning theories.  I began researching for a cMOOC to join.  I did this by reaching out via twitter and Google+ communities (yay for search tools other than Google – Let me google that for you, right?).
  5. I found my type of  learning community!!!! cMOOCs – Welcome Home was truly the epiphany of my learning project, and the beginning of the end of my xMOOC journey (for right now at this point anyway, and I am just fine with that). I found a cMOOC that was beginning very soon!  The communication between myself and the other participants was somewhat similar to what I experienced as an onlooker into the #etMOOC environment!
  6. I feel that I was beginning my learning project all over again, but not really, as I felt that I did learn what I set out to for my major learning project.  And Another New Beginning was born – this time to with a clear focus on only one type of MOOC – but also with a connection to EC&I 831 as I chose a MOOC which I was already interested in MOSOMELT (mobile online social media learning technology).  I felt that I had come full circle, as the beginning week of mosomelt was very similar to that of this class.
  7. A new type of social media learning tool – we were asked to introduce ourselves using the MSQRD app – so I gave it a whirl and became a tank driver!  I do have some reservations about this app though, it is fun, but I feel that it has the capability to aid in online identity scams as you can choose to have your entire face “hidden” by a mask.
  8. My Get Out of Jail Free Card – an official goodby to the xMOOC!  I am currently solely concentrating on mosomelt!  Since joining this MOOC, I have continued to explore social learning within schools and the advantages our students can have with using BYOD in the classroom in combination with OER.

This is clearly not the end of my learning journey into MOOCs, just the opposite!  I have learned a lot from this project – and have narrowed my focus for the future of my masters degree as well as being able to expand my students learning experiences through knowledge that I have gained this semester.  Win-Win!

 

 

Celebration of Learning

Wow!  Has this semester ever flown by!  I really can’t believe that we are at the end of this chapter in our learning.  I wanted to try something new for my celebration of learning, so I decided to try an emaze presentation. Not only do I want to keep on learning new things, I want to try and “up the ante” so to speak with our school newsletter, therefore taking amaze for a test drive only seemed natural!