Posts Tagged ‘technology’

My First Prezi

There have been many things going on lately, most of which I’m halfway through blogging about – I promise they’re coming soon!

Anyways, I’m so excited to announce I just finished my first Prezi. Check it out here: http://prezi.com/ejc0vugrqdc_/heat-transfer-basics-pos/

It was so incredibly easy – even faster than Power Point! And much more engaging…I’m interested to see how my 9th graders react!

Why I Blog

I was talking with a teacher-friend today about why I started this blog and why I’ve stuck with it. It all started as a way to catalog all the great resources I was receiving in graduate school in a way that I could easily search and access them once I was in my own classroom. Once my student teaching began, the blog became the ideal place to process my experience and seek help from veteran teachers. Now that I am teaching, I am utilizing my grad school resources and finding it just as important to process my days in writing.

I blog because it gives me a connection to other teachers, it provides an outlet for my thoughts, and it records my experiences so I can read back through them in the future. If you have found any of my posts useful, I’m glad; if you have given me advice and suggestions, thank you(!!); and if you just read to be entertained by my antics, I hope you enjoy them – I am so thankful for technology that allows all of this to happen in one place!

I sometimes wonder why other teachers blog – feel free to share your thoughts…

Donors Choose

I just submitted my first Donors Choose project! I am requesting one caddy of scientific calculators since my kids do not have their own. We’ll see what happens – I’m hoping for a class set eventually!

Check out my Donors Choose page here: http://www.donorschoose.org/mccoy1007

Wiki-Teacher

Wiki-Teacher is a fabulous resource for all teachers, regardless of content area. It was actually started by my district, but has more users from outside of Nevada than not!

One of the great things about Wiki-Teacher is that it has lesson plans and ideas as well as videos to give you some ideas of how to implement certain strategies.

There’s not much else I can say since even just a little time exploring will get you hooked!

Websites for Science Teachers

I am loving Making Teachers Nerdy’s post on the Top 20 Websites No Teacher Should Start the 2010-2011 Year Without! Below I’ve written a little bit about which websites I’m excited to make use of in the coming weeks.

Picnik – I have no idea what role this might play in my classroom, but it’s so fun that I’m sure it will weasel its way in somehow!

Delicious – I had started using this awhile ago, but have neglected it lately since I was teaching with my personal laptop last year. Since I’ll be using one computer at home and a different one at school, this is going to be super handy.

Dropbox – For the same reasons as above, this is going to be a lifesaver! I can access lesson plans at home and school without worrying about them getting lost in email!

Edmodo – This is a new one for me…I’m exploring all my options for how to have a class blog or website that students can be super involved in as a classroom social media type thing. As an experiment, I started a group “Just Call Me Ms Frizzle” (pass key 9219vq) – feel free to stop by and leave a note, upload a favorite article or lesson plan, or give me feedback on what social media has worked in your classroom. If your school does not have any type of online assignment giving and grading, Edmodo has everything you’ll need – and it doesn’t require students to sign up with an email address, so it’s super easy for them!

Google For Educators – A great resource as to how to use the different Google Applications (calendar, docs, etc) to maximize technology and organization in your classroom.

Live Binders – Live Binders caught my attention when I saw you could make digital binders of websites, videos, files, etc. in order to have students do digital scavenger hunts. So cool!

Webspiration – Online tool for creating mind maps, graphic organizers, etc. Another great website that is very similar is XMind.

Prezi – I LOVE this! At the Channel 13 Celebration of Teaching & Learning, I saw a presentation given with Prezi. It’s Power Point on steroids; I am not a huge Power Point in the classroom fan since it is so predictable and not interactive, so I think this will be exactly what I use to give notes and lectures through my projector.

Troovi – This is another one that gets me really excited! Since I want to incorporate pictures all over the classroom of sciencey things my students and I experience, this would be a great way for them to send me pictures without having to pay to have them printed!

VoiceThread – This is a great option for teachers who want to have online conversations with students or an option for keeping home-bound students in the loop. The website has many different options for membership (free and paid) as well as an entire article based on how to maximize VoiceThread use in the classroom.

I hope these suggestions might inspire some new way to include technology in your classroom this year. For more great teaching websites, see the full article at Making Teachers Nerdy.

Online Engineering Resources for Kids

My dad – a Civil Engineer by trade – was participating in a middle school career fair the other day and wanted some input on his presentation. He did a great job of giving kids exposure to all the different types of engineering.

I was particularly impressed by the American Civil Engineers Society page for kids, parents, and teachers! There are fabulous resources and games for all ages about the opportunities associated with becoming an engineer.

Check it out!

Virtual Labs in Science Class

from a lecture given by Amanda Gunning.

Why a virtual lab?

  • Online or downloaded – I recommend the downloaded version if possible since you won’t have to worry about faulty internet.
  • “Hands On” – student should still be manipulating variables, making observations, and drawing conclusions.
  • Fulfills lab requirements.
  • Provides variety to curriculum.
  • Easy way to incorporate technology and use school resources.
  • Explores complex and difficult to observe concepts in a simpler way.
  • Great way to give students lab activities when they are home-bound due to illness or are chronically absent.

Challenges to using virtual labs:

  • Availability of computers and internet access.
  • Battery-life of laptops.
  • Management issues – to get all the computers set up and ready for use cuts into class time.  If you have an IT person who doesn’t come from an education background, get to know them and learn as much as you can so that you don’t rely on them in case of a technology issue in class when they aren’t available to help. Be sensitive that they don’t always understand the time constraints and pressures related with teaching.
  • If students are sharing a computer, are they both involved or is one student taking control and the other off task?
  • Students might want to listen to music while working on the computer – this is a policy that needs to be determined by the teacher if the administration hasn’t already written a policy on that.

Preparing for a Virtual Lab

  • Plan for it! A virtual lab isn’t a free period: are you using the lab to introduce a topic, demonstrate a concept, or assess student understanding?
  • Scaffold the virtual lab! Introduce using the virtual lab as another way to experiment, explain and model the features students will manipulate, and have an associated assignment or handout.
  • Plan for discussion to make meaningful conclusions.

Great Virtual Lab Sites