Mary Williams Daily

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Final Thoughts

    I have thoroughly enjoyed this course. As a matter of fact I will miss checking in every day on what people are saying and doing. However, I have become more accustom to checking my google reader and  to glean information and ideas from my PLN, so in that way the course goes on.  I am excited to start using edmodo this year with my students, and although I know there will most likely be some glitches, I have the attitude “ you do what you can”- keeping in mind the end goal- does it help the students?
    By taking the time to explore during this course, I really feel I am ready, to adapt my teaching style to the 21st C learner- I want the students to be more responsible for their learning. I have learned about whiteboarding.  I have learned about value of inquiry learning, and flipping a classroom, and having students develop questions. I have learned the value of discussions and processing the information to which the students have been exposed. All these things engage the students; forces the responsibility of learning on the students.
  I also wanted to bring the world into the classroom- and I really hope to do this by using edmodo. I can also do this by bringing in databases from all sorts of world-wide organizations into my classroom. Wetoku is another tool which easily allows students to interview scientists, via the web. I have already sent out an invite for other physics teachers to connect via edmodo, and hope to make some connections  with scientists soon.
   I wanted to continue to monitor student progress, and presently use clickers to do this. I can now also add edmodo, whiteboarding, and blogs to add to my list of tools. Edmodo, I see as helping me redirect when students are having trouble understanding concepts. I anticipate asking them for feedback through this tool. In addition through my PLN I have read found some great ideas getting feedback from students.
     Another of my goals was to provide ways for students to get help on homework when they need it- and again edmodo can help here. I will also continue to have a wiki where I will post class information, notes, instructional videos etc. I am also going to force students to discuss topics via blogs/edmodo (most likely), and the wiki. I will work on encouraging students to help each by using these tools.
   All good workshops and courses should re-energize teachers, and I can confidently say this one has done so. I have a better understanding of what I always felt was the power of the web. It can enhance student learning- there are tools which can further the students understanding and intellectual development.  These tools are not just gimmicky- they have real value and purpose in our system if used appropriately.  Many of the tools do have a “wow” factor to them, but the bottom line is they can very effectively add to a students learning.
   I was impressed with this course also because the style of instruction was well modeled- the burden of learning was placed on us-we were given guidelines, but the development and extent to which we developed our learning was put on us; furthermore we applied what we learned to our particular circumstances. The instructor set up the playing field- and then the students took over. I would like to take this same approach in my teaching- although I suspect I will still need to be a little more directive and hands on than our teacher was- simply because I will be dealing with high school students and parents who do expect regular grades, tests etc. However, there are many applications that were modeled and can be transferred. Teaching is fun because it is interactive. It is fun because it is challenging. It is also creative, and this class has added to my bag of tricks to engage students in the learning process. It has also given me a new goal- I would like to become paperless in the classroom!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Project- Me and Ed
  I want to incorporate edmodo as a communication tool in my class this year. The more I looked into it the more I liked it. As I went back and reviewed the guidelines I set up for myself,  I realized edmodo could help me with all but one of these. My project then shows how I will use edmodo to meet my guidelines, and, I hope switch from a traditional "talking" teacher to one who guides students in their, hopefully, never-ending quest for knowledge!
 I have summarized my work in a prezi, which can be accessed here. Please let me know if the prezi isn't working correctly


    In our discussion group it seemed that the participants got alot out of the course. They seemed to appreciate being made to take the time to explore these new teaching tools, and some expressed their initial trepedation and subsequent excitement over the new tools discovered. Another common theme of our discussion was the value of blogging. Some of us had  tried it before, and we all seem to have a better appreciation of this tool, and how valuable it can be in a class.
    Personally, I was reminded that differentiation can, and realized it should  be done, for the brighter students as well as students who learn more slowly. This helps me with rethinking my approach to engaging those bright students who don't like to do homework. In this discussion of ours, I once again realized how our professor is modeling an approach to learning that is very effective and meaningful. He has done this by forcing us to express ourselves and ponder each others ideas and comments. We are teaching ourselves, by our discussions and by digging out the content that best suits our styles of teaching. We are constantly processing what we learn and evaluate the pros and cons of different tools, and, as in our discussion, we get helpful tips from each other. I got the sense from our discussion, that this course will have a lasting affect on all of our teaching, not only in using different web tools, but also in how we approach learning.

Monday, July 25, 2011

QR. edmodo, piazza

This week I started looking into Edmodo as a communication system for my classes, and so far so, good. To me it almost seems like a private twitter account- I think I will still use the wiki, and you can send files and such over Edmodo, but I like the visuals of a wiki- can post videos, animations photos, etc. I will use edmodo to alert students of what they should check out on the wiki, and they can also send me homework via Edmodo, and not have everyone see it ( I think). Also Edmodo can be accessed by their smart phones- and last year I was amazed at the number of students who said they really check their email that often anymore. Then I found you could also send QR codes over edmodo- and so that has me thinking. The other thing I would like to incorporate in all this is to encourage my brighter students to help other students- Piazza - is a tools which encourages this, and I need to evaluate if I will use this, with a link to the wiki, or just the wiki in having students answer each others questions ( on problems etc.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Playing around

One of the things I have been investigating a little is gaming  in the classroom- I attended a webinar today and got a couple websites I thought I might share with you all. The presenter was the creator of  an educational game company- filament-click on the project link to see their games.  One of the participants also suggested we watch the TED video "John Hunter on the World Peace Game". It is a good one, so I thought I would share it.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Final Project Idea

I would like to do something to encourage students to interact online. I would like for them to think about what we are learning, process it in their own minds, and then comment on it somehow. I believe the online tools are excellent for this because of the many reasons addressed in the blog article. I haven't quite decided how I am going to do this-maybe through Edmodo, or maybe through the wiki, or we might have a class blog ( linked to the wiki). I doubt if I will use Twitter- I myself like the info from Twitter, but am not good at tweeting. I also have to ponder the logistics, but this is my idea.

Friday, July 15, 2011

QR coded Periodic Table

 If any of you are chemistry teachers, you may be familiar with the Periodic Table of Videos made by those good people at the University of Nottingham. Well- from my PLN, I got a photo of the table in QR code. If you have a smart phone you can take a photo of  the code for any element and it will link you to the video for that element- how cool is that!