Sunday, July 31, 2011

Final Thoughts

While I have been exposed to a lot of possibilities, I think I'm still going to stick with the original five points I posted.

1. The technology has to be low threshold, high ceiling.
2. It has to provide a way to do new things in new ways.
3. It should support best practice & pedagogical strategy.
4. It should help teach the 21st-century skills outlined in "A New Challenge." I think it's a solid list.
5. It would be nice if helped support student participation and interest.

Between this class and ChemEd, I just cam back Thursday, I learned the following--we(teachers) are all in the same boat. A small fragile boat adrift in a raging sea of technological possibilities. But we are in a boat, which is a start. It seems that everyone I talk to is dealing with the same issues and trepidations.

I think the only thing we can do, myself included, is to select one or two possibilities and run them. See what happens, learn and adapt.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Project intent: What I would like to do to create pieces for various labs that use technology to “flip” the lab experience. What I’ve been doing to having students follow along on the written lab instructions as I hold up and demonstrate various techniques and lab equipment. 

I decided to start with using PowerPoint for my first attempt. We’ll see. I’ll upload it into my class Moodle. My school runs its own Moodle servers so I don’t think file size will be an issue but I’ll have to check with my tech people. Our chem students get the handouts for each unit at the start so they would have them. The assignment would be to read the lab and go through the PowerPoint and watch the videos and follow any links. Hopefully, they would enter ready to start the lab.

I think the assignment function in Moodle would let me track/grade who did and did not do the assignment. I thought about embedding some Easter eggs as a way to see how was doing the assignment. I have also considered using WebAssign as a delivery/assessment tool but I would prefer to keep it on Moodle.

I went through our measurement lab and selected pieces that I thought would work. For this first attempt I used the best technology piece I could use from the web. I do not want to continue this process. First, the video are never quit what I wanted, more of best available. I want to make my own videos but my school is closed for summer construction. I also wanted to see how my students’ respond to this process before I invest time in making my own videos. I need to know what works and what doesn’t. What I think I want is to use students to make the videos. I’d rather have students watch other students rather than watching me.

I posted the PowerPoint here
The size is going to be an issue. I'm still learning.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I've looked at a few last things.
I checked out Visuword. It looks cool but I'm not sure how useful it would be in high school chem. Is probably a good resouce for research projects.

Create a Graph
I've used this rogram in the past but thought I'd take a asecond look. I used to let my chem students use this program but now they have to sit to excel. I use the logger pro stuff sometimes but not as much as the physics classess.

I found Exploratree very interesting. I thought it might be a good way to have students review and put everything together.

Live Binders.
Loved Liveniders. We use moodle at my school. It can be a little clunky and you have start over again every year. I think that livebinders is something I could really use.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blogs and wikis

I've looked at some of the blog and wikis. I'm not there yet. Not there isn't value, I'm just trying to prioritize. My school uses moodle as an official platform and I haven't fully used all its aspects yet. There are other technology pieces I want to incorporate before I think about adding any more to my plate. Three teachers teaching regular chem with me did class blogs last year and it didn't work out for them. I need to digest some of this other tech stuff first.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Flipped Classroom

Eric put me on to this. I love it. It is exactly what I've been thinking about. My idea for more digital labs is a perfect start.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Some additional digital resources

Some of this I've used in other formats and some I just found.

Old School: You can't go wrong with Don Schowalter. World of Chemistry. I still have the VHS tapes. Timeless. Here is the link you can stream and a link for worksheets that I found.

Here are some sims from Iowa State. I've never used these but I tried and couple and they look good.

Chemistry Experiment Simulations and Conceptual Computer Animations

I have the disc for Chemistry Comes Alive! It's a good series of video and stills from ACS. You can download it for free from itunes. I don't if it's the entire series or pieces.

Online simulations that I currently use.

I've made good use of a number of online simulations. These are in no particular order and I use all of the regularly.

A former teacher at my school made these simulations in a program called ChemThink. They are mostly tutorials that students work through and then answer questions. I think you'll like it.

I also use PhET. There are simulations for all disciplines. The gas simulation is very good. I found an excellent activity this year that has students use the sim to generate their own data and use the data to develop the gas laws relationships. It is a word doc and I have idea how to post it in this blog. A colleague of mine found it on the web it need to tweaked a little still.

I also use the dynamic periodic table. I really works well because of the various ways you can display different data.