New Post at ChemEd X-Change

I just published a new post at the ChemEd X-Change reflecting on a guest speaker I had visit my chemistry class recently. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience – and one I hope to replicate in future years.

 

Check it out: http://www.jce.divched.org/blog/reflections-virtual-guest-speaker-visit-my-chemistry-class

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Filed under Blogging, ChemEd X-Change, Chemistry

Student Blogging: The endless search for comments

My grade 10 introductory chemistry class has been blogging this spring. It’s been a GREAT experience (introduced briefly here), and I’ll probably share more later on the experience.

One part of blogging that I didn’t realize would be so onerous was finding an audience for the student blogs. There are quite a few people in the educational world that highlight the authenticity of blogs, as students write for an audience beyond the walls of the classroom. And while I agree with this, what is difficult is finding that audience. I have struggled to find people that will consistently engage with my students and their writing. There have been a few individuals that have done so, and I’ve tried to thank them through Twitter. But we’re all busy, so finding time to comment is difficult.

I’ve used #comments4kids to publicize the student writing, and that has generated some comments. I’ve RTed student tweets looking for comments. I’ve sent tweets to specific individuals, generating a small uptick in activity, only to be followed by a lull. I’ve had students tweet repeatedly asking for feedback, only to get none (one student in particular comes to mind, as she’s written some great posts worthy of a larger audience). Any time my students have received comments, they’ve been thrilled.

And this brings me to the purpose of this post: To ask for help!

First, if you have time, please read and comment on the blogs (linked here for a list of each student blog, and here for posts about an inquiry lab, and here for their final assessed blog post).

Second, if you have any practical suggestions (beyond what I’ve mentioned above) for increasing the readership of the student blogs, let me know!

Third, if you have some student blogs you’d like others to read, let me know. I’m happy to spend a bit of time giving back to other blogs in an effort to ‘pay it forward’ so to speak.

 

 

Thanks.

Lowell

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Filed under Blogging, Literacy in Science

New post at ChemEd X-Change: Using Educreations to Interact with Students

I’ve just put up a new blog post at ChemEd X-Change about my use of an iPad app called Educreations. I’ve discovered that I can use this to quite easily answer student questions that come through email.

Here’s the link for you:  http://www.jce.divched.org/blog/using-educreations-app-ipad-interact-students

 

Thanks.

Lowell

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Filed under #EdTech

The Twitter Experiment, Benefit 4

If you’ve been following along here, you know that I’m working on using Twitter in my grade 10 chemistry class as a learning tool. Another benefit I’ve found – although I’ll admit I’m not sure how large the benefit truly is here – is having the students share their work through Twitter. This week we worked in groups to create posters about the book we’re reading together, The Case of the Frozen Addicts. I took pictures of the posters with my iPad and put all of them into a shared folder on the SkyDrive. Then I asked each student to Tweet one of the pictures. (Note: I took a picture of just the poster – see them here - and with the students.) They could decide whether to include themselves in the picture or or just include the poster alone. When the students were tweeting their pictures, we used the class hashtag #MT4P and our book hashtag #Frozen Addicts. Some of the students asked, “If one person in my group tweets the picture, do I have to also?” My response: “YES! Hopefully there will come a time when you are followed by people outside of our classroom.”

While the educational benefit of this may not be evident yet, I’m hopeful that my students develop a habit of posting their work and ideas into the Twitterverse. I want them to engage in the world around them!

Below are some examples.

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CEESA 2014, and my presentation

I’m attending the regional CEESA Conference in Vienna this weekend. The first day keynote was Dylan Wiliams. He was quite thought-provoking, showing statistics and engaging us with information about job statistics and the changing nature of our world and the world our students will be entering – and leading.

I attended three sessions, all focusing on technology. Two were related to using the iPad as a creation tool, and the third was on Google Presentation as a collaborative tool. I’m hoping to post more on that later.

I’m giving a presentation on Saturday about my work with Learning Catalytics and Whiteboarding as a means of engaging students in their learning and gathering formative assessment. I’ve created a simple Google Site as a resource for my presentation: http://sites.google.com/site/peerinstruction2014/.

Time for some sleep!

 

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Using Google Forms for Fomative Assessment Within My Flipped DP Chemistry Classroom

This year I’ve worked really hard at increasing my formative assessment so I can modify my teaching and utilize the class time more effectively. This has (until recently) mostly taken the form of exit polls that students complete. These exit polls (a.k.a. closure activies) have been invaluable. See a discussion here about my use of this data and how I have modified my teaching based on this data.

But I wanted to go further than exit polls, and create something along the lines of an entrance poll. Given that I utilize a flipped model, I decided to embed the formative assessment within my videos. I now include what I’ve called Checkpoint Questions. These currently take three forms: multiple choice, free response and calculation. I create notes handouts for students that act as graphic organizers. These notes handouts include the Checkpoint Questions, so students complete them as they go through my videos. Then when they are finished, they take a survey (through Google Forms, linked here) where they provide their answers, optional feedback on my video, and any questions they still have about the content.

In the morning before I set up for the day, I check the results. If quite a few students either don’t answer, or miss the answers to my questions I then start the lesson with the Checkpoint Questions in order to review. Then I create a slide in my daily PowerPoint where I simply copy-and-paste their questions from the video. I address them as needed. This has certainly proven beneficial to the daily routine of my classes.

It’s a bit early in the process for anything definitive in the way of results, but I’m collecting feedback on the method and will keep you updated as things develop.

Until next time.

Lowell

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Filed under Flipped Classroom, Pedagogy

An experiment with blogging in a grade 10 chemistry class (Part 1)

I just realized that I should discuss (although only briefly today, as I’ve got tests to mark and videos to make!) something new I’m trying this year with one of my chemistry classes: The class blog.

Find our chemistry class blog here: http://aisbchemblog.wordpress.com.

I am the author of the posts, but I have a link to “Student Blogs” that will take you to the list of student blogs from the class. For now, I’ve only had them complete one formal blog post (but a few students have posted on their own). This first post relates to our reading of The Case of the Frozen Addicts (discussed here on ChemEdX) and is simply a summary of the first few chapters, questions inspired by the text and a response to the reading. I didn’t do any proof-reading, but overall I was very pleased with the outcome.

The second blog post is in the draft stages. For this one, I gave the students a bit more leeway to decide on their own topic. It’s expected to be about Frozen Addicts, but the format is more open. On my class blog I gave them an exemplar blog post just to give them some idea of what it could look like. In retrospect, before I started blogging with the students, I think I could have taken some time to have students look at other blogs out there to get some ideas on formatting and content. (To that end, two teachers that have inspired me to delve into blogging are part of my Twitter PLN. I’d like to give them a hat-tip here: @OChemPrep and @VirtualGardner. They’re good for a #FF recommendation and some great ideas.)

I will keep you posted as blog posts develop from the students. Thus far, it’s been a great experience that I only expect to get better.

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Filed under Blogging, Chemistry, Social Media