Canvas – My Scientific 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.